An outstanding resume is an essential weapon in the armoury of applicants seeking admission to MBA programs in top B-schools. It is a vital document that introduces the candidate to the admission committee detailing the academic and other qualifications and seeks to bring out the leadership and other qualities required.
Thus, the first question that pops up in the mind of an MBA applicant is what all should be included in the resume? Business Because quotes Crystal Grant, Admissions Director at London’s Imperial Business School, to say that the thousands of resumes received by admission committees are similar in nature as far as basic qualifications and skills are concerned.
- Update your resume with all the care and seriousness that you will take while applying for your dream job
- Project your personal brand with a one-page pitch that conveys your strengths, achievements and personality
- Make judicious use of the correct fonts and layout. Information could be presented using bullet points than blocks of text along with leaving enough white space on the page to make for easier reading
- Summarise and remove all non-essentials if you have long lists of scientific or academic publications, patents, skills or participation in conferences. Instead, you could always include your LinkedIn profile or personal website for more information
She suggests that the first thing an applicant should do is to update his/her resume. This is not be undertaken in a causal manner. You should approach the task with all the seriousness required as if you are applying for your dream job.
Analyse what qualities and skills the school expects from MBA candidates. Some of the schools stress on leadership, others on innovative and disruptive thinking. Creativity or communal engagement may be the USP of some others.
Thus, you should ensure that the resume for each school is prepared keeping in view the respective values and culture espoused by the institutes.
The second aspect is about projecting your personal brand, or what makes you stand out among the crowd of applicants with similar qualifications in academics or in the workplace. The trick lies in creating a one-page pitch that conveys your strengths, achievements and personality.
It should present a narrative of your career and professional development, leading to how the MBA would fit into your longer-term career goals.
This brings us to the third aspect, that of presentation. It deals with judicious use of the correct fonts and layout. Information could be presented using bullet points than blocks of text along with leaving enough white space on the page to make for easier reading.
However, avoid the temptation to spruce up the resume with an overdose of colour, graphics, icons or photos. Remember to limit the resume to just one page and in case you have substantial work experience it could go up to two pages.
You may also have to summarise and remove all non-essentials if you have long lists of scientific or academic publications, patents, skills or participation in conferences. Instead, you could always include your LinkedIn profile or personal website for more information.
With regard to language and content, since the resume is to be reviewed by admission officers and not industrial specialists, use of jargon and highly technical terms should be avoided. At the same time, you could provide some details about your employer, such as the size of the company, turnover and domain.
The work experience should be listed in a chronological manner, starting with the latest position and using bullet points that highlight clear, quantifiable achievements that demonstrate the impact you have made on your company.
List your experience chronologically, working backwards from now – and for each role, give several bullet points that highlight clear, quantifiable achievements that demonstrate the impact you’ve made on your company. If there are gaps or overlaps in your experience, some details and context could be provided.
While highlighting your achievements, start by using strong action words like led, created, launched, developed, directed and rank them in order of importance. You could leave out all such information from your job description that does not convey anything about your personal impact and accomplishments.
Unlike in a professional resume, pay more attention and space to your hobbies and interests. These could sports, travel, language skills, volunteering or professional membership. It will provide the admission officers insights into your personality and values.
Lastly, take care to proof-read the resume thoroughly to ensure accurate spelling, dates and details. You could also ask a colleague or friend to read it over to make that all your best achievements are highlighted.