If you have never written a resume, the blank page you are facing can be very intimidating. Listing your responsibilities and achievements in a resume can be a surprisingly difficult task. It is much more difficult and important than your verbal description to colleagues and friends when it affects your chances of admission to business school.
Tailor your resume to each business school
While most academic programs you are applying to will be similar, you must consider what type of applicant they are seeking and most likely to admit. When searching for a job you customize your resume’s objective statement, summary, and current and past experiences to communicate that you are the best candidate. Do the same for your business school resume, though the degree of customization for each program is not as significant as for job applications.
When applying for a job, it is important to include only the relevant information and exclude other details. For an MBA application, it is less critical to exclude things. Indeed there is no page limit for resumes in your MBA application so it can be beneficial to include additional details that perhaps you would exclude for specific jobs. In other words, don’t be afraid to submit a two page resume for admission when you would only submit a one page resume in a job application. Do list your responsibilities in descending order of relevance to the MBA program’s values. If the program places significant emphasis on teamwork, focus on past leadership, development and participation in group projects instead of focusing on individual activities.
Responsibilities and achievements
When listing your professional experience, highlight responsibilities, projects, and achievements that indicate you are qualified for and can contribute to the program you are applying to. It is important to use active verbs to describe your achievements and skills. Instead of beginning your job descriptions with “Responsible for” or “responsibilities include” to use active verbs such as:
These active verbs will make a better impression than passive language. Choose active words carefully and don’t say that you managed a project if you contributed only a small part. Be accurate with your descriptions, but focus on the outcome and results. Your resume will be part of your admissions interview so be ready to explain everything that is on it.
Typically early to mid career professionals use reverse chronological order to list positions. Typically, the first job listed on your resume is the one you currently hold. Don’t forget to describe this position in present tense instead of past tense as you will for other positions.
List responsibilities in bullet points, starting with active verbs. This format is preferred to paragraphs because it is easier to review. If the resume looks overwhelming with a lot of copy and poor formatting, your personal positioning may be less effective. Lastly, it is very important that your resume doesn’t contain any errors: no typos and grammatical errors.