Have A Gap In Your MBA Resume? Here’s How To Address It
The MBA resume offers admissions officers an overview of your experiences.
One of the biggest red flags for admissions officers is an employment gap in the MBA resume. But experts say there’s a correct way to address an employment gap and a wrong way.
Jessica Chung, an expert coach at Fortuna Admissions and former Associate Director of Admissions at UCLA Anderson, recently offered a few tips to addressing a gap in the MBA resume.
DON’T LEAVE ROOM FOR SPECULATION
Chung says the best way to address a gap in your resume is to be sincere and straightforward about it.
The worst thing one can do is leave room for speculation.
“Don’t leave it to the admissions committee to draw their own conclusions nor prompt them to question your motives,” Chung writes. “You also don’t want to give the impression you drifted around aimlessly during that time.”
Rather, Chung says, applicants should offer a straightforward explanation behind the gap in their resume.
“Do this by giving the admissions committee an appropriate context as to why the pause between jobs and what you were doing during that time,” Chung writes. “You want them to assess your candidacy from a place of understanding as they review your entire application. Express honesty and reflection, with an awareness that your reasoning may alleviate any concerns.”
SHOW WHAT YOU LEARNED
Admissions officers seek out applicants who have overcame challenges and adapted.
An employment gap can offer a unique opportunity to convey what you learned and how you grew.
“For example, if you were laid off, perhaps the unexpected break gave you an opportunity for valuable introspection instead of rushing into another job that may or may not be a good fit,” Chung writes. “If you took the time to reassess your career evolution, next steps, and the kind of impact you wanted your next position to have on your career, it can suggest both clarity of purpose and maturity.”
Chung suggests applicants to use the optional essay to address gaps in their resume.
“Since most schools have limited space for the optional essay, keep it concise and straightforward rather than going into exhaustive detail,” she writes.
At the end of the day, an employment gap isn’t the worst thing that can happen. And, if anything, the resume is just one part of your application.
“Keep in mind that the admissions committee will take a holistic view of your profile and narrative, as well as your evolution over time,” Chung writes. “How you choose to frame your challenges and upsets as opportunities and learning lessons can make all the difference.”