If you’re applying to MBA, JD, or policy school graduate programs, you will be asked to submit a professional resume. Though it may be tempting to just submit your resume as it currently is so that you can focus on other areas of your application, it’s vital that you spend quality time updating and editing your resume to ensure that it highlights your skills and strengths for the admissions committee.
Your resume should not be overlooked for a few reasons. It is often the first thing that the admissions committee reviews, and it is also the document that they will constantly refer to throughout the process. Not only does your resume offer important insight into your background and experience, but it may also dictate the types of questions that the committee asks during your interviews.
That being said, creating an effective resume for professional grad school programs is no easy task. That’s why we put together a quick guide to help you create the ideal grad school resume. Here are just a few things to keep in mind as you revise your resume for grad school applications:
1. Provide specific examples of your achievements.
When it comes to demonstrating your skills and abilities, you want to show, not tell. This means providing specific examples of your accomplishments in each position. Instead of using vague phrasing to explain what you did in each position, give a specific achievement that can be verified.
For example, “built strong relationships” is a phrase we often see on applicants’ resumes. Though people skills are important and relationship building can lead to greater trust between customers and the company as well as better results for clients, this phrasing is vague and could mean just about anything. Instead, show how you built relationships and give details on the results of this relationship building.
2. Show the results of your work.
In addition to providing examples of your accomplishments, you’ll also want to highlight the results of your hard work. How did the company benefit from your contribution? Showing this in detail helps admissions committees wrap their heads around your capabilities and the value that you provided your employer.
Admissions committees like to see results-oriented language that shows your impact on the end result. When describing your contributions, be sure to use concrete language and action verbs. It is essential that you quantify the results of your efforts when possible. Did you increase lead generation by a certain percentage? Save the company X amount of dollars? Include these details on your resume.
3. Focus on accomplishments for extracurriculars.
If you are going to include extracurricular activities or volunteer experience on your resume, you need to make sure that you are focusing on what you have contributed to these organizations. Rather than just providing a long list of activities, highlight the meaningful impact that you made on the organization.
For instance, if you took on a leadership position at an organization, describe how your work in this position helped further the organization’s goals. Similarly, if you volunteered within your community, you need to provide some details on how you contributed to the organization in a way that’s tangible.
4. Keep it to one page if it’s for business school.
Ideally, your MBA resume should fit on a single page. If you have been in the workforce for several years and have more experience, then it may be longer but should not exceed two pages. You want the admissions committee to be able to scan your resume and learn the most important things about your background and experience. Give just enough information for them to understand how you contributed to each position.
5. Be honest.
Above all else, you need to make sure that the information you put on your resume is an honest reflection of your experience. Part of the admission committee members’ job is to judge an applicant’s credibility. They will ask you questions about the information on your resume during the interview process, so you are not doing yourself any favors by lying about your accomplishments or experience.
Instead of inflating your achievements, work to describe them in the best light. Take time to think about not only what you did in each position but how you contributed to the company’s overall goals. Consider the aspects of each position that will help you highlight your leadership skills and capabilities.
Need help with your business, law, or policy graduate school resume? One of the first things we we work on with our clients is whipping their resumes into shape.
To learn more about what we do and how we can help you, schedule your free 90-minute Breakthrough Call today.