How to Craft Your Resume - a Guide by Stacy Blackman Consulting
Most of you will be required to submit a resume at some point during the MBA application process. We have below an overview of the resume portion of your application. If you are looking for more in-depth information, you can visit the Stacy Blackman Consulting Resume Guide, and we can also answer questions in this thread.
In general, the purpose of the resume is to provide someone with a quick snapshot of who you are, professionally. A well designed resume should be easy to scan, and should tell a chronological story of an individual’s professional and academic development.
When you are completing your resume, it is important to keep in mind your audience. The reader of your MBA resume will be different than the person hiring you for an investment banking job or an engineering position, as the MBA reader will be looking for things that are important to an MBA program.
MBA programs are looking for individuals who will be successful as leaders and in highly collaborative work environments. They are seeking skills that are transferable to success in any industry. In addition to telling the chronological story of your academic and professional career, much of your information should be focused on supporting these things:
1. Showcasing leadership
2. Showcasing other “MBA relevant” skills such as teamwork, collaboration, innovation
3. Demonstrating growth and progression
We fervently believe that in almost every case, the resume should be one page only.
One inch margins are ideal, but margins are one area where you can play around with spacing.
Typical fonts for a resume are Times New Roman, Verdana, Cambria and Arial, with Times New Roman being the most common. The business resume is not the place to experiment with fancy fonts.
The professional section of your resume summarizes and chronologically illustrates your career. In most (not all, but most) cases, the career progress is also most important to MBA admissions representatives and that is what they will want to focus on and discuss.
There are several key questions to ask when you are considering what to include in the professional section:
1. Is the work meaningful? Can you leverage this position to illustrate a specific skill set that you acquired or an accomplishment that is important?
2. Does it support your career path? Does it support your future goals?
3. How long were you at the job?
4. How recent was it?
With each of your positions, each point should lead with a strong and interesting action verb. Another rule to keep in mind is to quantify results as much as possible. While it is nice to know that you created a new marketing program, it is also important to know that, as an example, the new marketing program increased awareness by 40%
When completing this section, remember the qualities that MBA admissions committees are looking for. Below are five of these qualities:
- Intellectual Horsepower
- Emotional Intelligence
In addition to the above, it is always great to show that you are progressing in your career. You need to make it clear that over the course of your career, you have picked up new skills, assumed new responsibilities, developed as an individual and that all of this growth has been recognized by others.
The Education section should include very basic information about your educational background. It should show a chronology of schools attended, areas of study and significant activities and accomplishments. As with the rest of the resume, it should be easy to scan, so that someone who is becoming acquainted with your background can very easily identify names of schools and dates and start to piece together your background.
Additional Information Section
The Additional Information section is a brief, informal section which encompasses everything that you want to include on your resume that does not fit into the other sections. This should be very brief, not more than five to six lines at the bottom of your resume, with two to three lines being more appropriate.
If you do not have essential information that you are anxious to include, you can use this section to outline activities and interests. It is not uncommon to see two sentences at the bottom, such as this:
Interests include skiing, surfing, drawing and world travel. Speak Mandarin and Spanish fluently.
Always keep in mind that this is the “extras” section, and as such it should be kept very brief. While this may seem obvious to some readers, we have reviewed resumes that boast of titles such as “Beer Drinking Champion”. This type of content is not desirable for your resume. The following are 3 examples of what not to include:
- Controversial Political Affiliations
- Long List of Anything
- Too Many Hobbies or Interests
Above is an overview on the resume you will be submitting for your business school application. If you are looking for more in-depth information, you can visit the Stacy Blackman Consulting Resume Guide, and we can also answer questions in this thread.
Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact
Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap
I am an international applicant, an older candidate and a re-applicant. Though I had a decent academic profile and GMAT score, I was unable to secure admission in my initial attempts. I was desperate and had decided that this was going to be my last attempt at Full time programs.
I decided to look for a consultant, and decipher what it was I was doing wrong. After contacting a few firms, I liked SB for their prompt and detailed response. I also had a talk with Margaret, who was my primary consultant, and felt happy to work with her. She is encouraging and straight-forward. I also liked the fact that SB and Margaret have been working in this field for a number of years, so there was some history there. I had a clear idea of the schools that I wanted to apply to, in light of my interests and age and we started from there.
I had some basic ideas for the essays which we used, but our discussions really helped emphasize the human side of my stories. We also worked on my resume, and I think we went up to 8 or 9 drafts, before it got b-school ready. All of this was really helpful, because I was able to portray a complete picture of myself.
Working with her also ensured that I was completing everything way before the deadlines. This gave me sufficient time for school research and filling out the actual electronic application, things I had neglected previously. Overall, I was very happy with the quality of my applications, and was also quite prepared for my school visits and interviews.
Of the 4 schools I applied to, I got into 2, including my top choice. I will be joining an M7 program this year, and am very happy with the outcome.
Ultimately, a consultant cannot help you gain experience. You have to do it yourself, and depending upon your candidate profile, be realistic about where you should apply. But if you have done that properly, Margaret and SB can definitely ensure that your candidacy is highlighted in the best possible manner and make sure that all parts of your application package are perfectly developed so that your application is in the best shape it can be. My only regret, I should have worked with them earlier.
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