7 Fatal Flaws that Will Doom Your MBA Resume
Your MBA resume is an often overlooked component of the b-school application – that is, overlooked from the perspective of the applicant, not the adcom. The adcom readers actually read it, and read it carefully, to whet their appetites for what’s to come in the rest of the application package. If it’s a good resume, then they assume that a strong, impressive application will follow. A bad resume will do the opposite: turn them off. They will keep reading through your application, but they may not be thrilled to do so.
You want to make a good impression by producing an A-grade resume. The following 7 items are things you SHOULDN’T do because they will cause you and your resume to flunk the first-impression test.
- DON’T make your resume your last priority. Often your resume is the first thing the admissions committee reader will read. Standing in as your first impression, you should put adequate time and energy into making sure that it’s solid.
- DON’T rely on basic job descriptions. Adcoms aren’t looking for the basic to-do’s of your last couple jobs; they’re scanning your resumes to glean career progression. A list of impressive jobs is nice, but if they don’t indicate that you’ve achieved goals, had an impact on your surroundings, or been promoted, then it won’t be enough to sway your reader.
- DON’T submit a job resume. Job resumes are reserved for applying to jobs; they are read by people in your target industry who are familiar with industry jargon. Your MBA resume should not include overly technical terms.
- DON’T be too creative in your resume formatting. Standard formatting trumps creativity when it comes to creating an impressive MBA resume. Your target schools most likely have their own resume standards (check with their career service departments). If they don’t bold headings, then you shouldn’t bold headings. If their margins are one inch, then yours should be too. Don’t use crazy fonts or intricate borders, don’t use colored paper, and for heaven’s sake, don’t spritz your resume with perfume.
- DON’T forget to edit your resume. Needless to say, your dazzling first impression may start to deteriorate if your reader finds spelling, grammar, and style errors in your resume. Proofread for consistency and accuracy. This includes double checking that your actual facts are correct as well.
- DON’T go into information overload. This is grad school, not college. You don’t need to include your SAT scores or where you went to high school. Also to be excluded: your height, weight, and date of birth. (Maybe that’s obvious to you, but it’s not to everyone!)
- DON’T go over the one-page limit. Resumes that are longer than one page may indicate that you think you’re more important that you are or that you have no self restraint or can’t be bothered to trim your resume down to the more traditional single page. If you simply have way too much to include, think about using the optional essay in include this additional data.