Unlike your application essays, which will receive a good amount of attention, your resume will probably get less than a minute of the adcom’s time. So why bother spending valuable time working to perfect it?
Ever hear of the importance of a first impression?
The adcom members reviewing your file may just spend several seconds reviewing your resume, but it’s in those few instants that they are likely to develop that crucial first impression of you as a person, an employee, and, most importantly, a potential business school student at their school.
Now, less than 60 seconds is not a lot of time to make a lasting, positive impression, which is why it is in fact crucial that you bother spending precious time perfecting your MBA application resume.
Your goal should be to create a powerful, dynamic resume that will enable you to sail through an adcom member’s initial quickie screening process and earn your outstanding qualifications the closer look they deserve. Furthermore, your resume should complement the other components in your application to help show that you are a sought-after, capable, and compelling candidate.
Here are a few tips to help you create a resume that will get the adcoms thinking, “Hey, I’d like to learn more about this one!”
- Include your strongest material at the top of your resume. Think of the first couple of inches of your resume as your “primetime” space and put your most impressive qualifications and achievements here.
- Use vivid details when describing your impact on the organizations you’ve worked for. Don’t just say where you worked or list responsibilities. Provide details of accomplishments and contributions. Illustrate your impact with concrete numbers.
- Try and stick to a one-page resume. Remember, the adcom members don’t have time to sift through more than a single page when they’ve got a whole application ahead of them.
- Be as thorough, but as concise as possible. You have a lot of information to convey, yet don’t want to take up too much space for each position you held or accomplishment you achieved. Steer clear of long-winded paragraphs and stick to short bullets. Reduce space spent on old jobs and activities.
- Don’t make things up. Not only is it unethical, but you’ll likely get caught and dinged for it.
- Don’t include personal data. Frankly, the adcom doesn’t care if you are married or 6’3.
- Edit, edit, and then edit some more. This is your first impression—don’t present something sloppy.
For more advice on perfecting your MBA application resume, please see MBA Resume 101.
By Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of Accepted.com, the leading MBA admissions consultancy, and co-author of the new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.
Our Series on the Essentials of an Awesome MBA Application