The MBA resume is a whole other animal from the standard curriculum vitae designed to land you a job. The resume you tailor specifically for business schools should offer a quick snapshot of your significant work experiences and accomplishments in three areas that showcase your MBA-relevant skills.
• Leadership: Business schools want to see applicants who already have strong leadership skills. You’ll further groom your management abilities during your MBA program, but the admissions committee wants to know that the foundation is already there.
Give evidence of when you united people behind a common goal, made use of other’s talents and skills, instilled a vision, challenged the status quo, identified a new problem or prioritized the needs of the organization above personal needs.
If you formally manage one or more people, don’t leave that information out. Even if you supervise and mentor someone informally, that should go on the resume as well. If you have played a role in training peers, subordinates or even those senior to you (perhaps on a new type of software), include that on your resume. Anything that shows how you identified an opportunity and took initiative is a great thing to include.
My client, George, was concerned because he did not have a title change throughout his four years at a defense contracting company. Because he worked in an engineering function, increase in responsibility was marked by a raise instead of a new title. My colleagues and I took a look at what George did outside of work to see where he could highlight a leadership role.
George had participated in an annual charity bike ride for the past five years, and we suggested that he volunteer to coordinate the next ride. The event became this bullet point on his resume: “Led annual bike ride to raise money in support of autistic children. Recruited volunteers, coordinated vendors and managed finances. Resulted in 14% increase in revenue over prior year.”
The brief yet compelling example showed the admissions committee not only his leadership abilities, but also his emotional intelligence and service to the community – a winning trifecta every time.