With everything on your to-do list when applying to business school, it may be tempting to save time by simply reusing your professional resume for your MBA applications. However, this strategy may hurt your chances of being accepted into your target school. Take the time to rewrite your resume so that you can impress the admissions committee. As you do, remember these tips:
Focus on leadership and transferable skills. Your MBA resume should highlight the skills that will allow you to thrive in business school. How have you demonstrated leadership in past positions? Or perhaps you have led key extra-curricular projects? If you have not had the opportunity to lead a team or project, in what ways have you shown initiative? Perhaps you made a suggestion that turned the project in a new direction or you found an original, unprompted way to answer a client’s needs. Remember that leadership comes in many forms.
Focus on results. We have all seen resumes with a laundry list of “responsibilities.” Although that is a good way to explain the details of your job, for an MBA resume you should focus instead on your accomplishments. Highlight the areas that you excelled in. Did your project or idea drive higher sales, increased performance, or new business? If so, include the numbers. Be specific and use measurable results.
Explain your passions. On your career resume, you might include a brief list of your hobbies at the very bottom of the document as a way to show that you are well-rounded. On your business school resume, take the time to demonstrate how you have shown leadership in activities outside of work. Again, avoid a long list and dive deep into the impact you have made with the organizations with which you are involved.
Avoid jargon. Always remember your audience. It is possible that the people on the admissions committee are not familiar with the buzzwords of your particular industry. Including them will not impress them and may confuse or alienate the committee. Use general terms that are familiar and remember, you are being evaluated for your results, not necessarily your industry specific expertise.
Remember, it is important to put time and effort into each part of your business school application. Do not let the convenience of using your current resume hurt your chances of getting into your target school.
Scott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and the Founder of Personal MBA Coach. As a boutique MBA admissions consulting and tutoring firm, we have been helping clients for over 10 years with a 96% success rate. Last year we helped applicants receive over $4.5M in fellowships. If you would like individual and personal support with any aspect of the MBA application process, find out more about Personal MBA Coach and our 5-star rating.