5 Tips to Improve Your Resume for Your MBA Application
Your resume is one of the most powerful tools you have when applying for an MBA program. Schools want to know what you have done in the past so that they have an idea of what you will bring to the table in the future. If you haven’t updated your resume in a few years—or even a few months—it’s time to sit down, seriously take a look at your work experience, and create a resume that best reflects who you are and what you offer.
If your resume seems a little weak, and you’re struggling to fill the page or expand on your skills, take a deep breath and follow the tips below. Writing a resume may not be easy or quick, but it’s possible to write a resume that will knock the MBA admissions’ committee out of the park if you know what to do.
Tips to Improve Your Resume
Consider All Your Experience
Did you decide to skip talking about your job from five years ago because it doesn’t seem to fit your current work experience? Well, it’s time to reassess and add it back in if necessary. Even short-term or off-topic jobs can be a blessing in disguise. For example, assume that you took a sales job to help make the rent. Well, if you think about it, that sales job provided you with relevant and transferable skills. How many sales did you make? What did you learn? How did it help you improve your current work situation? Even if the sales position only taught you how to be incredibly organized, pitch an idea quickly, and be persistent, those are excellent traits.
Focus on Results
Every MBA admissions’ committee is looking for applicants who will make a difference—in the classroom and out in the world. Your résumé should demonstrate the measurable impact you have already had in each of your positions and beyond. To focus on results, instead of listing bullet point descriptions of what you did, write powerful statements of what you achieved. For example, for the sales job above, don’t write, “Made 50 calls a day,” write, “Established 10 new clients daily through cold-calling and previously generated leads.” Language such as created, directed, developed, spearheaded, and implemented can make a world of difference. The key to providing results, for each job is to ask yourself, “what was the end goal of my work and how did I contribute to reaching it?”
Add Volunteer Work
David D. Schein, the Director of Graduate Programs for the Cameron School of Business at the University of St. Thomas, recommends adding volunteer work. However, not all volunteer work is equal. For example, if you just want to volunteer at the SPCA so you can play with puppies all day, that’s not going to help your resume or your application. Instead, find “responsible positions that deliver a lot of bang for the time commitment,” Schein says. Find a position that will allow you to spend time organizing a major fund-raising activity or event. It should be something that has a demonstrative impact on the organization and illustrates your leadership potential.