While a resumé alone won't get you a job, it is an important tool in your
job search process. Every resumé should tell a story that illustrates how
your education and experience will enable you to succeed in your chosen
Purposes of a Resumé
- To help you recognize your own value.
- To communicate your value to potential employers by
presenting your selling points.
- To sell yourself by describing your experiences and
achievements in an organized way.
- To serve as a "calling card" or reminder to prospective
employers after you have met with them.
Preparation for Writing a Resumé
What you need to think about before you begin:
Quality Control (Know Yourself) - See yourself objectively in
regard to your:
- skills and abilities
- reward needs
Market Research - It's indispensable.
Product Knowledge - Know what you are offering, which is you.
- What business are you in?
- What are the most important features of your product?
- Who is the customer that is most likely to need your
- What is your competitive advantage?
- How can you communicate your features as benefits to
Image and Packaging - Employers will notice.
- Is the resumé content relevant and marketable?
- Is it easy to read?
- Does it demonstrate a high quality product?
Resumé Format and Content
There are any number of resumé formats: chronological, functional,
Web-based, etc. The visual impact of your resumé is critical. The first
impression determines whether someone will read it. An employer typically
spends no more than 30 seconds to a minute on each resumé so a concise,
visually appealing resumé is better received than a dense, text-laden one.
- Contact information Be sure to include your name,
address, telephone numbers, email address, and web site (if you have one)
at the top center of the resumé.
- If you are an international student who has adopted an American
nickname, it is recommended that you include both your given name, as well
as your nickname on your resume. In addition, if you have a name that
might be difficult to pronounce, you might want to consider including the
phonetic spelling, as well.
- Education List each college or university attended
(in bold font) back to your undergraduate institution, in
reverse chronological order.
- List a major or an area of concentration or focus. General Management
and Design majors are vague to a recruiter and will limit your
opportunities. Additionally, it is recommended that you not list a double
major of marketing and finance, as some recruiters may perceive that as
you being unfocused.
- Under each institution, you can include:
- Academic honors
- GPA (if 3.7 or above) - For international students,
include your GPA only if you have converted it to the American
- GMAT (if 700 or above)
- Dean's List recognition (including number of times)
- Honor Societies
- Fellowships and/or scholarships
Activities (Highlight activities that demonstrate leadership
- Experience List each position in reverse
chronological order. Include the name of the organization (in bold
font), the city and state (in regular font), and the dates
employed (in regular font and right justified) on the same line. On the
next line, list your position title (in italics). If you've been
with one firm for an extended time, put all-inclusive dates of employment
on the same line as the organization name and individual dates of
employment beside each position title for each position held.
- If you are an international student, you might consider including a
brief description (a one sentence statement) of the company just beneath
the company name, if the organization does not have strong name
recognition in the U.S.
- In the body of your resumé, present your experience by highlighting
your transferable skills and your accomplishments and successes in a
results-oriented manner. Each bullet statement should begin with an
action verb and be structured so that you describe your action first,
followed by the result.
- Generated loans up to $300,000 exceeding company
average by 50%.
- Implemented resumé scanning and candidate contact
databases, reducing customer response time by 25%.
- Increased territory volume 31% in two years;
successfully introduced five new products.
- Avoid the common trap of 'developing a job description'. Don't just
list your daily duties and responsibilities, rather place the emphasis on
your achievements and results. For example, when describing your job, do
not use phrases like "responsibilities included" or "exposure to". Neither
phrase communicates your skills or accomplishments to the reader.
- Your goal is to demonstrate how you added value to previous employers
and how you can add value to future employers.
- Additional This section is used as a catch-all
category for information that helps market you to potential employers, but
which doesn't fit into any other category, i.e. languages, certificates,
community involvement, awards, interests, publications, etc.
- List items about you that are unique, interesting, or that demonstrate
risk taking/adventure. Employers are inundated with resumés from qualified
individuals and what you include in this section can help make your resumé
- Avoid irrelevant information such as age, marital status, height,
weight, and number of children.
- It is not necessary to include "References available upon request" but
you should be ready to provide a list of references to the employer, if
The 10 Most Common Errors in
MBA Resumés - We list them,
so you can avoid them.
- 10. Failure to follow directions Always follow
directions in terms of layout and content. If you want to stand out, do it
with your accomplishments, not your font.
- 9. Procrastination: Waiting until the last minute
Give yourself and your resumé the time you both deserve. Leave plenty of
time for proofreading and multiple revisions.
- 8. Conceit/Too pompous Avoid use of the word "I";
avoid improper use of boldface or italics to emphasize yourself or an
accomplishment; avoid use of excessive superlatives such as first and best
when describing yourself.
- 7. No "Additional" section/Too modest Give companies
some specifics about your personality. Give them something to set you
apart from other applicants, that shows you are a risk taker and have a
sense of adventure, or demonstrates that you are an interesting person.
- 6. Failure to proofread Have several people proofread
your resumé, including someone outside of your field.
- 5. Poor content/Lack of results Make sure you have a
career coach or someone from GCS look at your resumé to make sure you have
enough results listed.
- 4. Disjunctive language (doesn't flow) Check your
grammar for parallel structure and check your punctuation usage. Use
semicolons instead of periods to separate thoughts. A bullet point can
help the fluidity.
- 3. Inconsistency/Lack of parallel structure Make sure
that whatever you do, you use a consistent format. If you use periods at
the end of bullet statements in your experience section, make sure that
you include bullets at the end of each statement.
- 2. Lack of active verb usage Begin your task
descriptions with strong, active verbs. Never begin bullet points with
statements such as "Responsibilities included . . ."
- And the most common error in MBA resumés is:
- 1. Grammatical errors The most common include:
- Make sure all verbs are in the past tense; e.g.: Led
team of nine employees.
- Misuse of bold, italics, and capitalization
- -Boldface: Only your name, each main heading (Education, Experience,
and Additional), and names of schools and employers should be in bold
- -Italics: Only job titles, foreign words (magna/summa cum laude),
and titles of publications should be italicized.
- -Capitalization: Proper nouns, trade and brand names, names of
university departments and degrees should be capitalized.
- -Commas: Use to separate elements in a series of items or to
separate a nonessential clause; that is, a fragment whose removal does
not affect the grammatical structure or meaning of the sentence.
- -Semicolons: Use to separate elements in a series which already
contains commas, e.g.: Negotiated with national agencies and recommended
vendor programs, approved by management, resulting in an increase of
100,000 impressions without increase in cost; completed special research
project; developed and gained approval of.
- -Periods: Use only at the end of complete sentences.
- -Always spell-check AND proofread!
- Don't give employers an easy reason to give you a ding letter.
Spelling and grammar errors are a sure way to get your resume included in
the "no" pile.