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 field.
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.
- Know your customers
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 product?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- How can you communicate your features as benefits to employers?
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 equivalent
- 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 and initiative)
- Academic honors
- 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 stand out.
- 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 requested.
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:
- Misuse of verb tense
- 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 type.
- -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.
- Misuse of punctuation
- -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.
- Spelling errors
- -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.