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MBA applicants often spend so much time perfecting their essays, securing letters of recommendation, and filling out all the boxes of the actual application that they neglect their resume. That oversight is a serious admissions no-no. Frequently, the resume is the first application element an adcom member will review. It can determine whether the reader continues to read your application out of interest or obligation. Make sure your resume generates interest. 

Here are 13 tips that will help you write a great MBA admissions resume:

  1. Unless you have worked more than 10 years, keep your MBA resume to 1 page.

    Most top-tier business schools look for a 1-page resume. Follow this rule unless you have worked more than 10 years, or have a major accomplishment than needs more space.
  2. Put your qualifications summary at the top of your MBA resume.

    This is the first thing the adcoms will see. Use this section to highlight your most significant experiences and accomplishments. Make your summary readable by using bullet points or bold text.

    Be sure to include:

     - A short personal and/or professional record. For example, having more promotions than is the norm for a given period of time.

    - Highlights of your achievements. For example, a project that you introduced and subsequently successfully led.

    - Anything that will set you apart from others applying to the same program. For example, a volunteer position that is in sync with the philosophy of the program.
  3. Emphasize your achievements, not your responsibilities.

    Your resume will be more impressive and memorable when you talk about what you achieved in your job. Adcoms already know that consultants consult and analysts analyze!
  4. Be specific and quantify the effect you’ve had in the organization you worked for on your MBA resume.

    Include evidence of how much, or by how many, you have improved things. How much did your sales go up? What is the size of the team you supervise? Don’t sell yourself short. Saying you led a 10-member team that increased sales by 30% in 3 months will get the adcom’s attention faster than just saying you led a team.
  5. Accentuate your most recent experience.

    Give your current position the most area. Keeping the 1-page MBA resume rule in mind, devote no more than 4 bullet points to your most impressive achievements. If you haven’t held your current position for a long time, stress your achievements from your previous job. It is best not to go back more than one year to do this. 
  6. For older employment, list the name of the business and dates of employment.

    If you received promotions or had special achievements during your time at a specific job, list those as bullet points under the business name. This will give these promotions or achievements the attention they deserve.
  7. Stress your leadership wherever possible.

    Don’t think of leadership as just being in charge of a project. Leadership qualities are shown when you are able to convince others to join in on a project that’s important to you. Consider the varied ways you displayed leadership in the different positions you have held. Be sure to show how your leadership benefited the business you worked for.
  8. Don’t go back to high school.

    Remember, your MBA resume should be no more than a single page. Don’t take up valuable space with activities from high school. The exception to this rule is if you received an important award or had an exceptional achievement. Then use no more than 1 bullet point to highlight it.
  9. Put work experience before educational information.

    If you have more than 2 years of work experience, this should go before your education. Don’t include your academic stats, GPA, and test scores, as the adcom will see them on your application. However, be sure to include any awards you received or special academic achievements.
  10. Use a verb to start each bullet point.

    Verbs instill the idea of action and doing things. Utilize verbs like assist, support, provide, or contribute whenever possible.
  11. Be sure your resume is easy to read.

    Keep it simple and classic. Your resume is not the place to express your individuality or personality. The admissions committee will appreciate your use of a traditional font, with a font size of 10-point or larger.
  12. Don’t forget the things that will make you stand out.

    Be sure that your awards, publications, professional licenses and organizations, and positions in volunteer groups are included in your resume. Keeping your space limitation in mind, list just the most impressive ones. 
  13. Be sure to edit and proofread your resume.

    As with your essays, you want to be sure to avoid misspellings and grammatical errors in your resume. Once you have proofed your resume, ask a friend, colleague, or professional proofreader to go over it. A fresh set of eyes will often catch mistakes that you missed.

The resources listed below will help you construct a winning business school resume presenting your essential facts and figures in a clear, concise, and compelling fashion.

MBA Resume Resources

Gathering our finest MBA resume resources...

Don't push off your resume until the last minute; it's your primary tool for making a first impression, so you'll need to make sure you truly put forth your best work!

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