“Aligning Your Resume With Your Application Essays” is the latest post in our series, Navigate the MBA Maze.
MBA and other graduate school applicants frequently submit a resume with their applications. Many schools require it, and some schools, such as Columbia Business School, even specify a given format. The resume not only will present a valuable context for your other materials, but it also will give the adcom readers an easy point of reference as they read your essays.
To use the resume strategically in the application, you must align it with your essays. First, follow the basic rules of good resume writing for your MBA application resume. Beyond that, there are several points to consider in preparing your resume for your graduate school applications:
• The resume can free up space in your essays. By summarizing your experience, responsibilities, and achievements in the resume, you don’t have to worry about cramming every noteworthy item into your essays or sketching out your career path. Rather, you can be very selective and detailed in the experiences you do elaborate on in the essays. These two components, the essays and the resume, should complement each other rather than being redundant. When they harmonize, they sharpen your message and give both depth and breadth to your application.
• Be consistent in your resume and essays: refer to companies, job titles, departments, technologies, and other items in the same way in both pieces. Not only does this practice prevent confusion, it also heightens the unity and coherence of the overall application.
• Review your essays and determine whether there are particular skills, abilities, talents, or experiences that you should reinforce. Then use your resume to do so. For example, if your verbal score was low, presumably you demonstrated your verbal skills in your essays. Use the resume to further strengthen the impression of strong verbal skills.
• Your goals anchor your application essays and statements of purpose; everything you write should directly or indirectly relate to them. So should the resume. In selecting the experiences and accomplishments to highlight, give the resume a slant that reflects your goals.