It has been a matter of argument which aspect of your MBA Admission is most important & requires undivided attention. Though some experts argue that essays and GMAT preparation are crucial areas, the resume is still the game changer in your entire application. It deserves equal attention in listing your achievements and career trajectory, as your college essays.
A resume is the one place where the admission committee has a clear breakthrough of your profile and understands you holistically; it is the best summary of your academic, professional & personal history, and accomplishments. Yes, resume samples, depending on the college, are helpful, but they are only there to give an idea of how to begin. Let’s discuss some common mistakes or things often forgotten by MBA applicants:
- Format: As an applicant, one must always adhere to the format provided by the university, or a set pattern to follow. There are certain aspects to be included among which some are often neglected – Education, Work Experience, Co-Curricular Activities, Awards & Recognitions, Projects & Initiatives. This helps in tuning your information and streamlining the parts you want to include in the resume.
- Language & Lack of Detail: Vagueness is another aspect that people tend to ignore. E.g. under ‘work experience’ applicants list down their responsibilities and general work role. The objective here is to show a challenge or struggle which you overcame by providing an effective solution. This then leads to a certain accomplishment or result. Follow CAR (challenge/issue, action/solution, result/achievement) format to make sure that every point you mention is projected towards your achievement(s). Language plays a fair role too – with the right amount of words and precision you can convince the reader to consider your application. Grammatical mistakes are strongly frowned upon.
- Specifications: Students generally provide broad information about their career and background which is not very welcome in a resume. These important features need to be toned down to specifics, like highlighting a project you supervised or sharing unique ideas and 7 suggestions in a challenging time. Focus on your role and what you did (the action), extra information only confuses the reader and lowers your credibility.
- Ignoring your Goals: While working on sharing their work experience, academics and extracurriculars, students fail to mention their future goals and what they aim their career to be like. The stated information should point towards a change in your professional life in an impressive manner. The activities; community work, online courses or other interests are the pathway to highlight what you aim for.
- Detailing & Jargon: Avoid excessive use of jargon, or rather stay limited to your industry. Technical aspects are welcome concerning your prior work experience. The same goes for over-explanation of statements; be crisp and to the point. Detailing can be done in LORs but your resume is supposed to focus on what you have achieved, or transitions you showed with specific results.
- No Activities/Interests: Management schools want to see how well you can balance work and personal life. To prove this, you need to share a good contrast between your professional experience and other activities that you engage yourself with. Current hobbies, volunteer work, foreign language(s) if you have learnt, interest like sports or art etc. Show a good relevance of these in your life and how they help you achieve better in your career.
The above-listed mistakes aren’t the only ones out there, but these are the ones that can be seen with the majority of applicants. The struggle is how to exactly portray a significant trait or activity, or how you can heroically state your actions. Be accurate when you state a figure, say a certain percentage or score, this will be looked at critically. Your resume is the most powerful tool in convincing the admission committee – it is a reflection of your potential and personality – something worth investing in.