Your MBA resume is a key element of any business school application. You may be thinking “I already have a resume!” And you do—but not an MBA resume. There is a difference.
While a professional resume shows potential employers that you possess specific skill sets and experience, an MBA resume provides evidence that you have been successful and have demonstrated leadership.
In other words, a professional resume sells your ability to do a particular job, whereas an MBA resume sells your future potential.
After years of adding industry-specific terminology and jargon to your regular resume, you may be wondering how to even begin crafting your MBA resume.
Luckily, resume review is part of Personal MBA Coach’s comprehensive support. To help guide you, we share our top four tips, based on the mistakes that we most commonly see.
Focus on the highlights
When building your MBA resume, you will want to avoid outlining your job description. Too often, Personal MBA Coach reads resume bullets that simply list tasks and responsibilities. While this approach is effective in proving that you can do a specific job, it provides little benefit in the realm of MBA admissions. The admissions committee is not interested in learning about every detail of your job, and listing them will not help to differentiate you from others in the applicant pool.
Instead, focus on the highlights—your professional resume’s “greatest hits.” It is perfectly okay to omit certain tasks and projects, particularly if they are routine or not impressive to those who do not work in your company or industry.
Think about initiatives you led and projects you succeeded in. How did you surpass the expectations of your role? How have you excelled in relation to your peers? Showcasing these kinds of key accomplishments will be far more important than listing a general job description.
Call attention to leadership and transferable skills
While being an SQL expert may be essential in your current role, it will be far less interesting to the admissions committee. Rather than detailing the technical, industry-specific skills you have acquired, think about the transferable skills that you have developed.
For instance, how have you emerged as a leader? Leadership can be found in many forms so even if you have not officially managed a team or project, there are many ways to highlight this skill. Of course, if you have management experience, you will want to note it in your MBA resume. Communication and teamwork are additional valuable skills to include.
As you think about which professional strengths you should share, pick those that are relevant to many industries. For example, show how you have used strategic thinking abilities, analytical skills, or research experience. Prioritizing these transferable skills will help demonstrate that you are prepared to excel in business school and beyond.
Include specific and measurable results
Specific learnings, results, and takeaways are the most important elements to include in your MBA resume. These can – and should – encompass the impact you have made on your business’s performance and/or your personal growth over time.
These results are most effective in your MBA resume when they are as distinct and quantifiable as possible. For example, think of information such as “drove $2M in new business by doing x, y, and z” or “increased performance 25% over previous year.”
Share multiple aspects of your profile
Successful MBA applicants are involved outside of their workplaces via community activities, organizations, athletics, etc. They win awards or earn certifications and have hobbies or specific language skills. They are active at work or on campus outside of the scope of their job description.
These extracurriculars are key in showing the admissions committee another side of your candidacy beyond your professional role.
That said, remember that quality is more important than quantity. Having a long list of activities or mentioning an organization you volunteered with only once will not help. In fact, including items like these may even hurt your credibility.
Need help developing your extracurricular strategy? Learn more about enhancing your extracurricular profile here.
Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 14 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2 by leading sources including Poets&Quants.
We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes former M7 admissions directors and former M7 admissions interviewers.
Last year, our clients earned more than $6.5M in scholarships!