Alongside the personal statement and interview, one of the most important components of your MBA application is your resume! This article will help you craft the kind of resume that will both compliment your MBA application in its entirety while also helping you stand out from the crowd. Without further ado, here’s how to write a remarkable, strong resume for your MBA application!
Format and Key Components
Let’s start with the basics: the typical MBA application resume should be one page long with standard margins and font sizes (e.g., margins around 1 inch on each side, and a legible font between 10. and 12. pt size). If you aren’t sure where to start when designing your resume, try looking up sample resume templates online. The school you’re applying to may even have a sample template available on their library website, which you can use as a starting point and then customize accordingly.
Ultimately, schools use your resume to capture an overarching summary of your major work and educational experiences. As such, there are a few main components that all schools will expect. Additionally, there may be school-specific pieces of information you should include, such as a photo or test scores. Check the school’s application materials to confirm any specific details they require for your resume.
What to Include
These are the main sections you should include in your MBA application resume:
Education: Start by providing your undergraduate institution, degree type and focus, and date of degree earned. You can also include any top honors received while at school or other relevant experiences (such as a concentration in one subject or time spent studying abroad). If you have a Masters degree, include the school name, degree, and dates for that degree as well.
Job Experience: Besides your educational background, detailing your job experience is the most important component of your resume. Plan to use the majority of the page to address this section. Starting with your current or most recent work experience, write out your employer, role, dates worked, and a few key bullets describing your job responsibilities and outcomes. These bullets should each start with a different action verb (such as Managed, Led, Created, Oversaw, Designed etc.) and describe the situation, action you took, and impact of that action. Based on the number of bullets you use per role, you’ll likely be able to address 3-4 of your most recent positions.
Skills: For the final section of your resume, reserve a few lines to document major skills you’ve developed. These skills can include formal certifications you’ve completed, additional job training classes, and any languages you speak.
Personality: Finally, don’t forget to inject some of your personality into your resume as well. While the standard format and structure don’t leave too much room for customization, consider ending your resume with a bullet discussing hobbies and personal interests. These details can often give the reader a connection point to understand who you are beyond the job bullets.
What to Avoid
Especially with only one page of space available, there are a few items to avoid on your resume as well:
Old Information: Especially if you’ve been in the workforce for a long time, you’ll have more work experience than can fit on one page. Focus on highlighting your most recent work experience and avoid including roles that happened a long time ago unless they’re particularly unique and noteworthy or relevant. Resume readers will consider your most recent work as most relevant to your current capabilities, so information from jobs completed 10+ years in the past won’t be as useful to them.
High School: Similarly, don’t include your high school information on your resume. Even if you’re applying for an MBA having only recently graduated from your undergraduate degree, focus on your work, internships, and undergraduate experience instead of going back to accomplishments from before you started your undergraduate degree.
Irrelevant Details: Just as you’d tailor your resume to different job applications, focus your application resume only on the information you want to convey as part of your application. Resume readers will understand that there’s no way to document every component of your work in just a few bullets; however, they’ll expect the bullets you do include to be the ones you’ve specifically identified for your application, so be strategic in what you include and avoid irrelevant information.
Refining Your Resume
Now that you have a starting draft of your resume, it’s time to refine your document. To finalize your resume, you’ll want to review both the content and the overall format and design.
Refine Content: After completing a first draft of your resume, read what you have written with the following in mind: Are these details consistent with the rest of my application? If you have written about a favorite internship on your personal statement, be sure this job is listed in Job Experience. If you did not get the chance to describe your passion for data science in your interview, include it in your Skills section. Remember that your application will be read in its entirety, painting a whole picture of who you are as a person and student.
Finalize Format: After completing the resume content, review your resume format. Especially if you start with a template, your draft resume may already be in good shape. However, some final details to look out for are proper information alignment on the page (e.g., all bullets have the same spacing, job dates start at the same point on the page, etc.) and absolutely no typos. Once you have a near-final version, take 20 minutes away from the screen and then come back to do one final read-through to catch any errors.
Save and Submit! With content and format ready to go, your last step is to download your resume in preparation for submission. If possible, always download and submit your resume as a PDF to preserve the formatting. Be sure to confirm if there are any required naming conventions for the file as well - if the school doesn’t specify, it’s generally best practice to include your name and ‘resume’ in the file title.
If you’d like any further help crafting your resume or any other piece of your MBA application, reach out to a Crimson Education consultant today!