By Linda Abraham, founder and president of Accepted.com
Your MBA application resume is often the first document that the b-school adcom readers will review when they receive your application. They look at it as a sort of snapshot – a quick take that highlights your qualifications for their program. If they like what they see during their one-minute once-over, then they'll likely view the rest of your application with more interest. Of course, if they aren't impressed, then they may read the rest of your application merely out of obligation.
When attempting to make a positive first impression – and this applies to both in-person and on-paper situations – it's important that you present yourself as a neat, organized, and thoughtful person. These qualities MUST be present in your resume or you'll produce the opposite effect: You'll convince the adcoms that you are sloppy, careless, and disorganized. Not quite the type of person top MBA programs are seeking!
The following four tips will guide you in creating an application resume that convinces the adcom readers that you are an applicant they'd be proud to accept into their next top b-school class.
1. Create a Strong Qualifications Summary
This is a short paragraph that highlights important aspects of your personality and career history. You may want to include a brief description of your skills and core competencies, achievement highlights, or anything else notable in your past that may be relevant to the program you are applying to.
2. Use More Bullets for More Recent and Impactful Positions
Positions you held more than X years ago need only one or two bullet points underneath them; more recent positions deserve more space. In all cases, try not to use more than four bullet points for each position, and no more than two lines each per bullet.
3. Keep You Document Readable
Use 10-12 point font sizes and slightly increase the space between resume sections and job descriptions. Vary your text by bolding headers and using bullet points (given the limitations discussed in #2 above). Your resume's margins should be set to about 1".
4. Edit Your Final Copy
Nothing spells "sloppy" more than an unedited document riddled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Run your word processor's spell check and grammar check to start, and then print it out and read it aloud to see if you can hear mistakes that your eyes don’t catch. Finally, give your resume to a friend, family member, or an Accepted.com editor to make sure that it is 100% free of typos and errors.
Want more tips on how to rock your resume? Check out Accepted.com's MBA Resume 101 page for advice on how to create a resume that top adcom readers will love!
Accepted.com, the premier admissions consultancy and essay editing company, has helped applicants around the world gain admissions to over 450+ top schools since 1994.