MBA Resume Tip: Four Resume Mistakes to Avoid

To conclude our series on revamping your resume for the MBA admissions process, we wanted to round out our list of DOs with some important DON’Ts.

Grammar, Spelling, or Punctuation Errors

These are entirely preventable! Mistakes of this sort telegraph carelessness to the reader of your resume, and can be a serious strike against you if you come up against a persnickety interviewer, hiring manager, or admissions officer. It can be difficult to edit one’s own writing—our brains have a very cool, very proofreading-thwarting ability[AK1]  to see and process what should be on the page rather than what is—so ask a trusted friend, ideally someone who’s a strong writer, to give your document a careful once-over for grammar and spelling. Then set it aside for a day or two and come back to it yourself for one last double check.


Leaning on Modifiers

It’s natural to want one’s work to sound impressive on one’s resume, and descriptive modifiers may seem like an easy fix. But superlative adjectives like “amazing” or “extraordinary” sound inflated and aren’t informative, and words like “effectively” or “expertly” make subjective claims about the manner in which you did something that would be better illustrated with the plain facts of your actions and their results. Show the reader what you’ve done and accomplished through straightforward language and quantifiable details rather than telling her that something was wonderfully done and hoping she’ll take your word for it.



Seriously, just don’t. It’s one thing to make an educated guess at the number of people who attended an event you organized or the percentage by which your tracking system increased efficiency in distributing work; as long as your estimate is grounded in fact, this is fine (and often necessary). But fabricating whole projects or jobs is unacceptable, and very likely to be discovered if your recommenders have no knowledge of something you claim to have done on your resume, or if you apply to a program that conducts background checks on admitted students.


The Dreaded Objective Section

You’ll find conflicting advice on this topic out in the wilds of the Internet. Our position is that including an objective section at the top of your resume is a waste of space. The mere fact that you have applied for a position (whether this be a job or a seat in the incoming MBA class at your target school) implies that your objective is to obtain it. You’ll be better off including one more professional accomplishment or describing a volunteer involvement in greater detail, especially in the context of applying to business school.

We’ve given you a number of tools over the past weeks and think that you’re poised to put together a successful resume, though we’ve also stressed that input from others is invaluable in the application process.  So now would be a good time to start buttering up the detail-oriented humanities majors in your lives, especially since we’ll have recommendation and personal statement advice coming up next.

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