How To Write An MBA Resume That Will Leave a Great First Impression

Business school applicants often make a single mistake – they don’t take their resume seriously. They only pay superficial attention to them, ending up with a mediocre result that doesn’t do anything.

Even though admission officers pay only a few seconds of attention to each resume, this doesn’t mean that you can do a poor job – based on this single document you’ll either get an interview or not.

The reason it takes them only a few seconds is that they know what they want and if they don’t find it, your resume will get thrown out.

However, if you manage to stand out from hundreds of similar resumes, they will be impressed.

You need to provide them with a quick snapshot of your career, achievements, and skills that will show why you are the best candidate.

Here is how to achieve that.

1. Write About Your Results

There are many misconceptions about writing a resume. However, one of the most damaging mistakes is that you have to list the responsibilities on your previous jobs.

This may sound like the right thing to do – after all, it flawlessly highlights what you did. But it’s not.

Chances are, the admissions officer already knows what you did – each position comes with a specific set of duties, and they are all familiar in the business world.

So, rather than listing what they already know and boring them with that, include some genuinely meaty information like your achievements and results.

2. Focus On Details

When describing your experience, it’s best to write about your results and achievements – as we already mentioned. However, just listing them isn’t the point.

Using details like numbers and percentages to show your impact on an organization is pivotal if you want to impress your admission officers truly.

For instance, state by what percentage you reduced expenses, how many people were on the team you lead, primarily if it was international.

Using these specific numbers and possibly even names to demonstrate how good you are at what you do tells them a lot more than just stating ‘team player’ or ‘leader.’

3. Use a Reverse Chronological Format

How you position various sections of your resume may seem like a less urgent matter, but it’s crucial to how they perceive you.

As mentioned, admissions officers give you a few seconds of their attention at best, and they shouldn’t have to work too hard to find what they need. You are not telling them a fairy tale, so you don’t need exposition.

The reverse chronological order allows you to place your most recent achievements and experience first. That way, when the admissions officer looks at your resume, the first thing they’ll see is what’s most impressive. Your first jobs were probably less exciting and your education – while still important – isn’t as relevant as your experience. So you need to highlight the positions you held previously, name the job, company and the period of work.

4. Add an ‘Extras’ Section

Ever since childhood, we were always told not to brag. However, your resume is the one place you really should make sure they notice you.

Including information on awards you received, volunteering assignments you had, your published articles or anything similar is going to help you stand out.

If you have a patent or a hobby, but you don’t know where to place it, adding this section is an excellent way to do it.

Just make sure that everything you mentioned is relevant and not completely random and unrelated to what you are applying.

5. Mind the Design

The design is another element of your resume which seems less important, but it isn’t. Humans respond incredibly well to visual cues.

If your resume seems like it time traveled from the eighties, they will hardly glance over it. However, if you employ modern design techniques and make it work for you instead of against you, this will be another vital factor. Check online resume templates to choose the ones you like and build your resume around it.

It also shows how good you are at eliminating unnecessary detail and leaving only what’s essential.

Imagine it as an elevator pitch – you need to present yourself in a quick and compelling way

6. Be Honest

Another common error is trying to tell a few white lies on your resume to seem more appealing. However, this never works as you think it would.

People often stretch their employment dates to hide the fact that they had a bit of a gap in their work career, for instance, or include skills they don’t have. Some even overstate what their levels of responsibility were in previous employment.

But the truth always comes out. There is usually an extensive background check where they’ll uncover any lies you made and the fact that you don’t possess specific skills will be evident once you start working – which is even worse.

7. Avoid Buzzwords

People nowadays often use the same words in their resumes, making it hard for one candidate to stand out. These are known as buzzwords – words that seem powerful and appealing but show and do nothing.

For example ‘goal-oriented,’ ‘team player,’ ‘self-starter,’ ‘dynamic’ and so on. Rather than just using these words because you saw them somewhere, take the opportunity to show exactly how you embody those words. Did you achieve many goals? Did you lead a vast, multinational team with success? How exactly are you a dynamic person? Show the statistics, data, and numbers.

8. Always Proofread and Edit

Finally – and this is something you should never skip – proofread and edit relentlessly until you are confident that no spelling or grammar mistakes remain.

Those ruin your chances, look it up on career blogs where they have seen plenty of those cases.

Impress Them With a Winning Resume

Use the opportunity you have to spark their interest. Don’t beat around the bush or stall too much. Be direct, confident and show them everything you’ve got. Hopefully, these tips will make that more comfortable for you.

Written By
Betty Johnson is a career advisor and blogger at Origin Writings. She helps companies achieve better recruiting results, and contributes articles to online career magazines and blogs.