Our founder, Kaneisha, recently had a 90-minute Application Intervention® with an international client who found us while preparing her application for the Harvard Kennedy School’s MPA/ID program. With an impressive long-term goal of becoming a high-level government official in her home country, the client is passionate about helping her home country be equitable for all.
The client had already prepared her resume and drafted her essays when she came to us, but wanted to take her materials to the next level. The client was especially concerned with how to make her application stand out from people applying from her country with similar professional backgrounds.
She signed up for a 90-minute Application Intervention®, an excellent choice for applicants looking for highly targeted feedback on near-final materials.
Focusing on impact rather than on tasks in the resume:
During the 90-minute working session, Kaneisha met with the client on Zoom to answer her questions, live edit her materials, and offer a list of actionable advice. In particular, the client wanted Kaneisha to edit and provide feedback on her resume and essays. To the client’s surprise, she and Kaneisha spent about half the session (40 minutes) editing her resume to make it as strong as possible. Kaneisha shared notes on how to make the resume more impactful, easier to understand, and how to improve the formatting for readability and information flow. Now, the client’s resume will focus on the impact and larger implications of the work she’s done instead of simply listing out a series of impressive tasks.
Live editing of essays:
After working through the client’s resume, Kaneisha live-edited three of her HKS MPA/ID essays. The live editing covered everything from clarity, flow, and directness to leaving probing questions as comments to make sure each essay addressed the prompts as clearly and effectively as possible. Kaneisha talked through some options for how the client could reduce the word count of certain parts of her essays so that she had room to elaborate in other areas. Kaneisha also provided advice on how to best tell a holistic, authentic, and compelling story.
Addressing low grades in an optional essay:
Grades were another trouble area for the client. To help assuage the client’s worries that her grades would hold her back, Kaneisha walked the client through a former client’s anonymized optional essay submitted in a previous year in a successful application to the HKS MPA/ID program. Optional essays present an opportunity to explain anything the admissions committee may be worried about in terms of your candidacy for the program and preparedness for the rigors of graduate school. The example optional essay Kaneisha shared was from a client who had similar goals and concerns. Kaneisha walked the client through a simple formula for effective optional essays that the client can now easily adopt.
This Application Intervention® client was a strong applicant in her own right with excellent work experience and a few possibly problematic grades. During a fast-paced 90-minute Application Intervention®, Kaneisha helped her drastically improve the effectiveness of her resume, polished her essays from good to great, and helped her more clearly articulate her compelling personal and professional story and ambitious goals. While Kaneisha and the client spent more time than anticipated editing her resume, it was for the best. Now the client’s resume will be a strong contributor to her overall application rather than a simple box to be checked off during the application process.