When you apply for an MBA degree program, one of the requirements to meet is submitting a resume. Your business school resume isn’t quite like an employment resume, although there are a few similarities in terms of how it’s set up. MBA resumes focus more on achievements and skills that can help you excel in an MBA program, such as leadership, rather than on specific work-related experience and skills. While an MBA resume is usually just one page long, it helps admissions officers form an impression of you and your abilities. This impression can then help determine whether or not your application is accepted. Keep the following tips in mind on how to write a powerful resume for MBA application.
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1. Put Qualifications Summary at the Top
The qualifications summary on your MBA resume is the first part that admissions officers will be reading, so it’s important to make a solid impression with this section. Make sure you put this summary at the top of your resume and format it so that it’s easy to read. Your summary should be short and to the point since admissions officers might decide to skip it if it’s overly wordy.
There aren’t any specific rules on what to include in your qualifications summary. Depending on your experience, you might focus on your skills and core competencies or the highlights of your achievements. Your summary might also include a brief sentence or two about your career history if you’ve been employed, or you might include a relevant project that you’ve worked on.
2. Highlight Your Strengths
Your business school resume should focus on your strengths in order to help you stand out among your fellow MBA applicants. Admissions officers will be reading through this section while looking for skills and qualities that show why you should be accepted. Ideally, your strengths should include qualities, such as leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. You might also want to include other relevant strengths and skills, such as time management skills.
When you highlight your strengths, you should include them as a list of bullets. Each of these bullets should start with an action verb and offer a brief overall. Listing your strengths in this format makes it easier for admissions officers to glance through and form an impression of what you have to offer.
3. Quantify Your Achievements
Providing a list of your career achievements might seem impressive, but it won’t have the right impact unless you quantify them. This means including numbers whenever possible to show you’ve achieved measurable results. For example, you might have reduced company expenses or supervised a team at work. When you list these achievements on your MBA resume, include numbers to quantify these, such as the number of employees you supervised or the percentage you reduced expenses by. Including numbers gives a more accurate impression of how successful or valuable your achievements were.
The achievements on your resume should demonstrate you were able to take on new work responsibilities. They should also highlight any new skills you learned on the job. For example, you might have taken on a new responsibility that allowed you to demonstrate leadership skills or become more of a team player.
4. Show Progression
One of the purposes of a business school resume is to show how you have progressed in your career. Admissions officers want to see that you have learned on the job and experienced professional growth. Instead of listing the job responsibilities you’ve had, focus on highlighting the progress you’ve made. List accomplishments in consecutive order, so that they clearly demonstrate that you have successfully grown in terms of your career. For example, you might show progression in the roles or positions you’ve had at work if you’ve been promoted or moved up in the company. If you’ve had the same position, you can show progression in terms of projects you’ve managed or achievements you’ve made over the years.
5. Stress Leadership
As you list your achievements and show progression on your resume, focus on leadership. Having solid leadership skills is among the top qualities that admissions officers will be looking for when they read through your resume. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have a management position in order to highlight your abilities to act as a leader. You might have been able to step up at work by going above and beyond your normal role. You can emphasize leadership skills and qualities in different ways, such as by mentioning a project you managed or a conflict you were able to successfully resolve. If you were a leader in an organization or group you belong to outside of work, you can note this as well on your resume.
6. Highlight Your Contributions
When admissions officers look through your resume, they’ll want to see how you have contributed to your company. You should focus on contributions you’ve made that have helped improve business for your employer. For example, you might have been part of a group project that led to increased sales or an expanded customer base. In this case, you would emphasize what you did to contribute to this project. Highlighting your contributions shows that you’re a team player who has the skills and knowledge to help your company succeed. When you’re providing details about your contributions, you should focus on the most recent ones first.
7. List Companies and Dates of Employment
When you fill out the work experience section of your resume, list companies you’ve worked for in relevant fields or industries, along with your dates of employment. You can leave off work experience from jobs that aren’t related to your education or career goals. For example, you don’t need to list a part-time job you had at a department store as an undergrad if your career goals don’t include retail. When you list each company, you should also put the position you held and provide a few short details about your job duties. Use action verbs when describing these responsibilities.
8. List Work Experience, then Education Background
After you’ve listed your work experience, you can focus on your education background. In this section, you should list any higher education institutions you’ve attended. You should also list the degree you earned along with the concentration, if applicable. If you are still in college, you can list pending degrees. You don’t need to include any education information prior to college, such as your high school. Focus on your degrees and achievements in higher education instead. Admissions officers want to see that you have put in the time and effort to study a particular field or industry. This shows that you have the discipline and commitment needed for an MBA degree program.
9. Be Concise and Clear
Admissions officers receive many resumes from MBA applicants, so they don’t have a lot of time to spend on each one. To avoid being lost in the pile or having your resume disregarded right away, avoid making it wordy. Stick to short and simple phrases or sentences that are easy to read. Make sure the information and details you provide on your resume and clear, so there’s no confusion about it. Keep in mind that your resume should only be one page long. All of the information you need to include on it should fit, so trim lengthy sentences or eliminate unnecessary details.
After spending time writing your resume, you don’t want your hard work to go to waste due to spelling errors or other mistakes. You should proofread your resume a few times to make sure there are no grammatical errors or misspellings. Since you might accidentally overlook an error, even after reading your resume multiple times, have another set of eyes look at it. Ask a family member or friend to proofread your resume and point out any errors that need to be corrected. Making sure your resume is error-free can help you make a good impression on admissions officers.
11. Use a Simple Format
Your resume might have all kinds of information that makes a great impression on admissions officers, but it’s important to make sure they read it. When you format your resume, keep it simple overall. Those who are reading your resume should be able to easily scan and understand each section. Avoid long paragraphs or paragraphs with no lines or breaks between them, since this makes your resume harder to read. Use simple formatting, such as putting headers in bold to help them stand out more. Don’t include graphics, such as images or charts, on your resume. You should also avoid using fancy fonts or different font colors. Instead of making your resume more visually appealing, this kind of formatting is visual noise and could cause admissions officers to skip over your resume instead of taking the time to read it.
12. Avoid MBA Resume Pitfalls
Your business school resume can make the difference between getting an interview or having your application tossed, so it’s important to avoid a few common mistakes. One of the biggest to avoid is exaggerating your experience. When you mention it on your resume, provide straightforward and truthful information. For example, don’t list a position that’s slightly higher than your current one if you’ve never actually had the title.
When writing your resume, you should also avoid using jargon from the business or field you work in. For example, don’t include highly technical jargon that people outside your business or field aren’t likely to understand. If the average person isn’t familiar with these terms, there’s a good chance that the admissions officers won’t know them either. Including jargon could make your resume too difficult to understand.
You should also avoid including sensitive or confidential information about the company you work for, as well as personal details about yourself. Admissions officers mainly want to see what you’ve accomplished in your career and where you’ve worked. Including information that doesn’t belong on your resume could make it look unprofessional, giving the school a negative impression of you as an applicant.
If you’re planning to earn your MBA for a business career, contact Post University about our degree programs. We offer MBA programs with a core curriculum and several concentrations to choose from, including Finance, Marketing, and Corporate Innovation.
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