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Eden June Michael
Director of APPLY ME
With Round 1 business school deadlines right around the corner, you should be almost finished compiling your supplementary application materials. You should have already:
- taken the GMAT and gotten your best score
- requested your transcripts from undergraduate and graduate universities
- notified your references
Now it's time to refine your resume' to ensure it complements the rest of your profile. This post is the first part of a series to help you refine this key, but often overlooked, portion of your b-school application. If you need lots of resume' help, you definitely should check out the other posts in this series:
Here are the 10 characteristics of an awesome business school resume'.
1. One page. You may be tempted to do a more international CV-style resume'. B-schools want one page, period.
2. Chronological style. Applicants with diverse career experiences (also know as job jumpers) may think that a functional style resume' highlights their skills and masks their spotty job history. Admissions officers see right through this "clever" format and could put your application in the rejection pile if your resume' isn't clear.
3. Clear divisions. Let's face it, sitting on the board of directors of a local non-governmental organization is noble but can't really be listed under professional or wok experience. After your actual jobs, add another section with a creative title like "Community Leadership," "Personal Interests," or "Service to the Community."
4. Starts from undergraduate work. You may have been the captain of the football team, valedictorian, and student council president in high school but b-schools only really care about your more recent accomplishments.
5. At least 10 font size with reasonable margins. No one wants to read your resume' with a magnifying glass and margins smaller than 0.5 inches just look weird.
6. One two or three font styles or types. Less is more with type settings. Choose arial or times new roman as your base font. Use bold, underline, or italic versions for emphasis or formatting interest. Above all, be consistent.
7. Spelling and grammar checked. Although this tip seems obvious, you would be surprised how many error filled resumes we've seen. Keep in mind that Microsoft Word isn't always right. Double check yourself with resources such as the Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation or the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
8. Bullet-points written in an action-result style. Most professional experience sections read like a laundry list of responsibilities, often copied from job postings for similar positions. If you want to wow admissions staff, focus on what you did and why it was amazing. Read each bullet-point and provide the outcome. Here's an example:
Ok: Managed production staff of 10 employees.
Awesome: Coached team through 15-month design-to-production cycle of first product; ultimately captured 5% of $130 million market.
WATCH OUT: Many people love to name and/or title drop on resumes. Reported directly to the CEO? Great. If he loved your work, the result, for example, is that he approved your study, project, etc. immediately. If not, don't mention it or the CEO.
9. Tailored to the specialization in which you are interested. You should not submit a generic resume' or the one from your latest job applications. Offer information relevant to your chosen b-school specialization to demonstrate you're a good candidate. For example, if you're applying for the entrepreneurship specialization, you should include a section called "Entrepreneurial Ventures" on your resume' that gives an overview of your experimentation with your own business. This resume' should be different, of course, for each specialization.
10. The truth. Many student try to explain the virtues of adding keywords (also known as lying), modifying job dates (also known as lying), and over-emphasizing responsibilities (also known as lying). Most admissions staff see through the lies. Even if you do get an interview, you risk being exposed when the interviewer asks you a question you're not ready for. It's not worth it...don't lie on your resume'.
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Here's another question we are asked frequently:
I'm applying to graduate school in the USA. I have three recommendation letters but one does not have a company stamp, just a signature. Is this a problem?
Universities in the States don't really care about the stamps. They just want a letter written about you and the up-to-date contact information of the person who wrote the letter, in case they want to contact him. Be sure to always confirm the specific requirements for recommendations with each university to which you are applying.
Need help applying to university? If you're a high school student, check out our Comprehensive Packages. If you're applying to graduate or business school, read more about our Hourly Services and Essay Editing. Be sure to schedule a FREE consultation to find out more about how APPLY ME can help you.