Tailoring Your Resume for Business School

One of the most common requirements to accompany any higher-education application is a resume. In addition to submitting test scores, recommendations and transcripts proving your readiness for graduate education, admissions committees want to see a record of your work and educational experience and achievements in a resume format.
However, when you write your resume for business school, it’s different than writing a resume for landing a job; it’s also of paramount importance. Some admissions representatives admit that an applicant’s resume is the first thing they look at when evaluating their application, as the resume presents an overview of the whole package. For that reason, it’s important that you avoid treating the resume as an afterthought, but instead spend as much time ensuring that it is as cohesive and well-thought-out as the rest of your application packet.

What to Include and What to Leave Out

When reviewing B-school applicant resumes, admissions committees are looking for one major point: a career progression. They want to see that you have steadily increased your responsibilities throughout your career. That means that you don’t need to include ultra-detailed job descriptions or exhaustive lists of your duties. Instead, focus on your achievements in each position. For example, if you began your tenure at the company as a junior account executive and moved up to a leadership role, highlight your progression and the reasons why you moved up.

Resume for Business School
When you’re describing your achievements, use action words and quantify them using real numbers, if possible. Don’t simply say you managed customer accounts; specify how much those accounts were worth, or how many clients you worked with. “Managed a $500,000 print-and-electronic-advertising campaign” sounds more impressive than “Helped clients place ads on television.”

If you are applying to get an mba degree online as a means to change careers, explain your previous positions as clearly as possible. Using technical language might be expected when you’re looking for a job in engineering or computer science, for example, but when you’re applying to business school the admissions committee may not know the meaning of those terms.

In addition to your work experience, your resume should highlight your other major achievements. If you have won awards, participated in research or earned additional credentials, highlight those; however, avoid including information about your high school achievements and test scores. If your program requires that you submit scores, they’ll get that information from the official score report.

And finally, don’t bother to include an objective. The admissions committee knows that your goal at this point is to get into the program, so unless you have an unusual or ultra-specific career goal in mind, there’s no need to take up space with an objective.

Format: It Matters

Nearly every college has a career services website that presents a suggested format for a resume. When you’re writing your application essay, take the time to find the school’s preferred format and follow it for your document. This might mean creating multiple documents if you’re applying to more than one program, but it will show your commitment to the program and their standards.

If you can’t find a suggested format on your school’s website, keep one word in mind: simplicity. Use a simple, standard font and avoid overusing special features like bold print, italics or underlining. Bullet points are an effective way to present information.

The Bottom Line

Although you might have a resume prepared for a job search, make sure that you send an updated, properly formatted version with your business school application. If you use an older version, you run the risk of the information on the resume not matching that on your application — which raises red flags — so double check to ensure all of the information matches in addition to proofreading and spell checking.

Depending on the program you’re applying to, the admissions committee may have hundreds of applications to read and evaluate. Do not make yours stand out for the wrong reasons by using an outdated or inappropriate resume. Spend some time perfecting this document, and you’ll reap the rewards of a coveted letter of acceptance to your first-choice program.

Denny Jones

Hey there, I'm Denny Jones, a seasoned financial writer with over a decade of experience. I'm passionate about simplifying finance and empowering readers to achieve financial freedom. My articles offer practical advice and insights to help you navigate investing, budgeting, and personal finance with confidence. Let's unlock your financial potential together!

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