Your résumé is not only an important component of your MBA application, it’s also a great place to start when crafting your overall positioning strategy. This document forces one to distill a candidacy into a concise summary, focusing on key aspects and themes. With that in mind, here are a few simple tips to get you started:
First things first
Because you’re applying to graduate school, it makes sense to lead this document with a section detailing your academic history. This is also the format that many business schools’ career offices instruct students to use when applying for internships or full-time jobs post-graduation.
Keep it simple
While you’ll certainly want to describe your professional responsibilities and achievements in some detail, remember that this document needs to fit on a single page, with very few exceptions. Rather than overwhelming the reader with information, try to identify three or four discrete projects or accomplishments to complement a few concise statements about your day to day responsibilities in each position. Remember that it’s also important to be as specific as possible about the impact you’ve had on your organization by quantifying the results of your efforts. You should also use active verbs to describe your impact.
It is important to remove any industry jargon that a typical corporate resume would contain. Remember, the adcom readers of your file may not have worked in your industry.
Round it out
Don’t discount the importance of your interests and outside activities. Schools like applicants who are well rounded and demonstrate a track record of involvement outside of work and the classroom, so formal extracurricular activities are a logical category to include. At the same time, information about your less structured interests and hobbies is also relevant, as these details can lend some more color to your candidacy and help the adcom get to know you better. Remember to be as specific as possible; many business school applicants are interested in “travel” or “film,” so specifying a region you especially enjoy visiting or your favorite movie genre will be the key to setting yourself apart.
We hope that these general guidelines serve as a good starting point for Class of 2021 applicants in translating their experiences and achievements into this brief but important document. For more guidance, you can also read the Clear Admit Résumé Guide for a complete step-by-step “instruction manual” for crafting your résumé.