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The path to a successful MBA resume

When applying to business school, many people focus on the essay and preparing for the interview. A skilled resume can make the difference though and there is a method that will make your CV stand out from the crowd. Consultant Stacy Blackman highlighted her tips and tricks for a successful resume in a recent USNews article. Here’s the gist for you:


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• Limit your resume to one page: The MBA admissions committee should be able to get a clear picture of a candidate's qualifications in under 30 seconds. If you have been working for several years, don’t mention high school work experiences any more for example.  

• When applying to business school, illustrate career progression, highlight a promotion or show how a new job led to additional skills. Basically treat an MBA resume as a marketing and branding tool – make it shine while keeping it simple. For example, highlight all new job titles during a job at the same company, with separate dates of employment and separate descriptions. The descriptions should reflect the increasing levels of responsibility.

• Focus heavily on MBA skills such as leadership, teamwork and international work experience. For example add that you led a cross-functional team to develop a new version of your product rather than the fact that you coded in three computer languages to develop the new version, Blackman recommends.

• Whilst describing roles and achievements try to be as results-oriented as possible. Every bullet point should quantify results in dollar amounts or percentages whenever possible. 

• The necessities for a good MBA resume can easily be remembered in the so called STAR method, which stands for situation, task, action and result. For each employment position listed describe a project, initiative or transaction where you were involved. Whilst describing the situation and your own task in the project also add the specific actions that you undertook and the results.

• Leave a few lines at the end of the MBA resume to highlight your interests and skills such as computer proficiency, second languages or a love of travel. Add some personal touch that might be the icebreaker during an interview.

Finally, Blackman recommends to not address any gaps in an employment history in the resume but rather in the essay when possible. Rather keep the resume short and sweet!

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