One of the most important elements of an MBA application is your resume. A strong MBA resume can help you rightly communicate and highlight your suitability for the program.
Your resume serves as your introduction to the admission committee of the university or college; you wish to study at. A poorly written resume shows a lack of interest and disregard for sharing details on the applicant’s part. On the other hand, a well-crafted resume shows a genuine interest and seriousness in pursuing the applied program.
The resume is a representation of an individual’s skillsets and experience, which requires thorough planning. However, that doesn’t mean you put what everyone else is putting on their MBA application resume. To the reader, it will be an easy giveaway as they go through a lot of applications every day.
There are several factors that count in making a good MBA resume, here we are listing down the ones that matter the most:
The goal of writing a good MBA resume is to communicate well– that you are a committed individual with strong education and work credentials, who is looking to further expand her/his knowledge base for future success by doing an MBA program. Keeping this goal in mind while drafting your resume will keep you from deviating from your objective. It will help you filter unnecessary details to focus on contextual and relevant ones.
To key to establish trust is to be authentic. Plenty of sources are available today on the web to search and copy. It is acceptable to follow a template for better presentation however, to copy-paste word-by-word from other people’s resumes or from the matter given by your consultant can do more harm than good.
A good starting point can be to self-reflect. Ask yourself relevant questions that lead you to answer questions about yourself like:
Talking to others for seeking advice is a good practice. However, playing it safe with established norms and practices and not thinking out of the box, while drafting your resume, can harm your chances of making a good impression on the admission committee.
You do not have to come across as a nonconformist but writing general statements like – “I want to study in your college because it has No.1 ranking in the world”, is a non-engaging way of putting your point across. After all who doesn’t want to study in the best college?
A well-drafted resume will require some in-depth research. Try to reach out to the alumni if possible, study the past performance, get to know the faculty through your research, read in detail about any special programs the college may have related to your area of interest.
After doing thorough research, then write down your points that relate your personal interest with the program and college you are applying to. Putting in this kind of effort will show the admission committee, that you are clear about your vision and you are well aware of how you will benefit from the program in the future.
Avoid using the narrative style of writing for resumes. Keep it simple and devoid of complexities. Every form of writing has a preferred style, for resumes it has to be crisp and to the point. Avoid using flowery languages. As resumes are meant to highlight personal and professional qualities, applicants often load their resumes with adjectives. They hope to differentiate their resume from others, but substandard use of language often leads to undesirable results.
Keep the language simple and be specific in giving out the details supported with examples or quantified in numbers, percentages, or whatever is applicable.
The intent of an MBA resume is for the admission officer or committee to know your character as an individual- what are your qualities, strengths and weaknesses.
To highlight that well, you will have to be descriptive about your achievements and other related experiences. For example, when stating you worked on a project during your undergraduate studies, providing a one-line description will not be enough.
You should be descriptive, yet very specific in giving relevant details on the project that give the reader an understanding of:
MBA programs train students on management skills and help them hone their leadership skills. All good MBA colleges look at leadership quality in applicants.
One may argue that at a young age or at a certain point in my career, I have not yet got any opportunities to demonstrate my leadership skills, so how do I present that in my MBA resume. A point to understand here is that the admission committee wants to assess your inherent leadership qualities that can be further enhanced during the course of the program.
There are certain pointers of leadership qualities which can be emphasised while drafting your MBA resume, they are namely-
Do not disregard your achievements related to extra-curricular activities. They are an important consideration for the admission committee as it is a reflection of your personality that helps them understand your areas of interest beyond studies and your level of involvement for the cause of your organization or the community at large. Your participation and experience in such activities help them understand you as an individual and assess what value add will you make to your future college as a community member.
Often soft skills are ignored while drafting a resume as applicants fail to understand their importance. However the fact soft skills are one of the most important aspects that help applicants differentiate themselves from others.
Soft skills relate to interpersonal, problem solving, leadership skills along with the ability to demonstrate qualities of being a good listener, team worker and someone with a positive attitude, strong work ethics and more.
A resume that demonstrates clarity of an applicant’s career goals, which is what they want to achieve after completing the MBA program has a higher chance of making it through the selection process. As the admission committee or the officers have an in-depth understanding of the kind of skill sets required for the different job market, a resume that aligns one’s personal qualities, educational and professional experiences with future career goals will stand out.
Needless to say, the language has to be grammatically correct. Avoid using big words that don’t fit the narrative. Do not use jargons, until absolutely necessary. If you have to use them, do not assume the reader will be aware of the usage. Explain the jargon used for the reader to help connect with it.
Be aware of the difference between UK and US English especially with the usage of words and spellings. Be short yet clear on the points you want to elaborate on as the reader will only have a limited amount of time to go through your resume and application for review.
Drafting a resume may seem like a daunting task at first, but if carefully done you will understand the importance of it as a branding tool for yourself. It is your first level of introduction to the people assessing your match with the MBA program you wish to study. Your MBA resume acts as a marketing tool for you that helps you put your best foot forward. Now that you know your resume has to create a lasting impression on the admission committee of the college you desire to study at, following the tips suggested above will help you draft and design a strong MBA resume to increase your chances of making it through the selection process.
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