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Resume best practices for application

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Resume best practices for application [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2007, 23:03
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Hi,

I would like to hear from people's experiences in amending their current resume to one that can be submitted as a part of their b-school applications. My own current resume runs well into 2 pages and contains lots of technical jargon (which I guess is common for most IT based resumes).

Is there a best practices document for creating effective resumes for the application ?
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2007, 23:48
HOW TO WRITE A RESUME FOR BUSINESS SCHOOL: The resume you use to get a job is different from the resume you should submit to your schools. The two serve different purposes and should be written in different formats. For instance, a job resume often begins with "career objectives." That's inappropriate for business school. You'll cover that issue in your application essays, so leave it out your resume.
The business schools want you to use a certain format when writing your resume. Don't write a "narrative" resume. That is, don't try to explain your background in the form of a story. Instead, use "bullet items" to explain your accomplishments.

I actually like the narrative format better when it's done well. It gives applicants a chance to tell their story in a conversational manner. The problem is that the narrative resume is rarely done well (because most people aren't particularly good writers). So it's best to play the game and use the bullet format that business schools are looking for.

The Order in Which You Want to Address Your Personal History
Don't start your resume with your educational information. Doing so makes you look like a recent college grad who lacks significant work experience. The schools want worker bees, not college students.

Start your resume with work, then included community involvement and activities, and finally address your education. You also want to make it easy for the admissions people to find the information they're looking for. That includes the firms you've worked for, the amount of time you spent in each of your jobs, and your accomplishments in each position.

Try structuring your resume in the following order.

(1) Your Name and Address

What can I tell you? Write your name and address at the top of the page. It's becoming increasingly common for schools to notify accepted applicants by e-mail, though, so be sure to include an e-mail address and a telephone number at which the school can reach you.

(2) Your Work History

Start each job history with the name of the company on the left side of the page. Under that company name write your job title, and on the right side of that same line write your dates of employment (just month and year). It might look something like the following.

The Boeing Company
Senior Software Engineer May 1998 - Present

Under these headings write a short paragraph that describes your company and the nature of your work. At the end of that paragraph write the following: Key Accomplishments: Then list your key accomplishments in bullet item format.

Supervised six software engineers in developing new software models
Led product development team on six-month project in India
Oversaw the installation of a new department-wide computer system
Wrote department technical development curriculum
Then write the name of the company you worked for prior to your current employer, and repeat the above process. If you worked for the same company but in a different position, repeat the process anyway using your previous job title.

This format allows the reader to determine your industry, your position and the amount of time you spent in each job. It also make it easy to determine what you accomplished in each of your positions.

(3) Your Community Involvement and Activities

You don't need a lot of community involvement to get into B-school. (In truth, you don't need any.) But if you have community service experience it's good to include it in your resume just after your work experience but before your educational information. You might list it in the same manner you listed your work experience.

You might also list your personal interests. That includes sports, hobbies and pastimes. I like using the heading "Activities" for this section and including the community service work.

(4) Your Education

Start with graduate level experience if you have any, and then work your way back through undergraduate work and even extension school studies. Use the same format you used above for work experience. List the school first, then list the degree awarded and the year it was received on the following line. And remember to list any academic awards or distinctions you received and even your GPA if it's good. It might look something like the following.

UCLA
Bachelor of Science, Computer Science 1995
GPA: 3.7
Deans List - Nine of Twelve Quarters

Also list organizations you belonged to and activities in which you were active.

Source: http://www.mbaapplicant.com/resumes.htm
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2007, 06:03
Thanks GMATCram. This is extremely useful. I follow the above format, since I have work experience with several companies, the resume will easily run over 1 page as is required.

Any suggestions?
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2007, 08:57
bsd_lover wrote:
Thanks GMATCram. This is extremely useful. I follow the above format, since I have work experience with several companies, the resume will easily run over 1 page as is required.

Any suggestions?


i had the same issue. It's not easy, but you've just got to find a way to shorten it up. (BTW - some schools do allow 2 pages, and I don't care what anyone says -- If they accepted a 2-pager, I sent it to them.)

As far as ways to shorten it, it really depends on what you've got. First, take a giant step back and try to objectively look at your history. What really matters? I found that while I had several bullets under each job, many of them truly weren't vital. Or I could combine two points into one, etc.

I hope this helps.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2007, 09:22
I'm in the same boat. First thing I did was junk all of the technical skills stuff on my resume related to being a network engineer. Adcoms certainly dont care that I can use sniffers to analyze tcp conversations to find application problems or that I can configure BGP (heck, most people here dont either). So that freed up some space. I then removed almost everything except the job title info for my last two positions. I also took out the "technical" bullet points from my recent positions, and replaced them with leadership actions and work that has a measurable financial impact (which is tough at times in IT).

Still, my resume is just over a page, and it doesnt have any EC or community stuff on it yet. I think I will have to rework the entire format in order to conserve space while avoiding making it look cluttered. I've been interviewing alot of people over the last two years, and I have certainly learned to see the difference between a good resume and an ugly one.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2007, 16:04
They provide a separate section in the application where you can list out extra curricular activities and community work (or at least the columbia application does), hence putting it on the resume seems like a terribly redundant exercise to me. Especially since I am running into space issues.

I HAVE chopped out all the technical lingo. I am *still* running into space issues. Ah well ... might have to learn to be more succinct.


bherronp wrote:
I'm in the same boat. First thing I did was junk all of the technical skills stuff on my resume related to being a network engineer. Adcoms certainly dont care that I can use sniffers to analyze tcp conversations to find application problems or that I can configure BGP (heck, most people here dont either). So that freed up some space. I then removed almost everything except the job title info for my last two positions. I also took out the "technical" bullet points from my recent positions, and replaced them with leadership actions and work that has a measurable financial impact (which is tough at times in IT).

Still, my resume is just over a page, and it doesnt have any EC or community stuff on it yet. I think I will have to rework the entire format in order to conserve space while avoiding making it look cluttered. I've been interviewing alot of people over the last two years, and I have certainly learned to see the difference between a good resume and an ugly one.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 07:02
Since the school I'm applying to has a huge emphasis on leadership experience, I also decided to include a section in my resume that specifically points out leadership experiences I've had both in jobs and ECs.

Luckily, the school I'm applying to doesn't have length limit, but I was wondering if schools generally want to see every single job you've ever had. I mean, will they care that I worked in the gift shops at Sea World for a summer? I've taken jobs like this off of my regular resume, but I could swear that I read/heard somewhere that for a Bschool application resume you should list every job you've ever had. Any suggestions?
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 07:34
ishcabibble wrote:
Since the school I'm applying to has a huge emphasis on leadership experience, I also decided to include a section in my resume that specifically points out leadership experiences I've had both in jobs and ECs.

Luckily, the school I'm applying to doesn't have length limit, but I was wondering if schools generally want to see every single job you've ever had. I mean, will they care that I worked in the gift shops at Sea World for a summer? I've taken jobs like this off of my regular resume, but I could swear that I read/heard somewhere that for a Bschool application resume you should list every job you've ever had. Any suggestions?


Think about the space you have to use - do you want to use those inches for your stint as a gift shop lackey or do you want to use it to show your leadership acumen? I've never heard any rule about listing everything you've ever done - remember, resume comes from the French word for summarize.

The run-of-the-mill summer job doesn't belong on your resume, unless it somehow helps you to tell your story. Many of the applications have data sections that ask you for your work history, and some of them specifically want those short-term jobs. If that's the case, include it. If not, you probably don't want to.

As you put info in your application, think, "Does this further my cause? Is it part of my positioning strategy?" and finally, "Am I ethically obligated to include this?" (This last one comes up less often, but if they ask you if you've got a conviction, don't lie.)

That's my take.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 09:06
IMO, the technical side when you're job hunting helps. On the B-School resume, you need to write it for them.

C++, Flash, Mcirosoft-whathaveyou (can you tell I'm not in tech!) will mean very little. Focus on leadership, accomplishments, promotions and other weird stuff. Did you get shipped to the UK to oversee a big client and supervise a team? I would spend words on that over a jargon filled sentence on what you're knowledge base is.

I’m not saying that those things are no important, but just not what I would be looking for in a B-School resume.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 09:47
bsd_lover wrote:
Thanks GMATCram. This is extremely useful. I follow the above format, since I have work experience with several companies, the resume will easily run over 1 page as is required.

Any suggestions?


Only 1 suggestion: don't go over 1 page unless you are 50+ years old. Specially if you are under 30, 1 page ought to do it just fine, while 2 would sound either arrogant or boring.

L.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 10:32
Also remember, for those of you who might leave your extracurricular stuff off the resume, that some interviews are blind to your application, so all they know about you and all their questions are from your resume. Keep that in mind when you work your resume for the different schools.

I know Haas interviewers are blind to your app.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 10:35
But isn't it absolutely impossible to fit in the work-experience and extracurriculars in 1 page?
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 10:44
My resume is still one page, and I have all the RELEVANT work experinece on there with quite a bit of detail. I usually just list my extracurriculars, unless I'm the founder or president of those activities.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 11:00
Well, I take it back. I was using new-lines too often in the resume. By getting rid of new-lines and using other modes of separation, I am very close to fitting the resume in one page. Various sections are still clearly differentiated and the resume is still readable. Now I just need to simplify the wording and chuck / merge some pieces .. and I can see the resume fitting in one page.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 11:15
mNeo wrote:
Well, I take it back. I was using new-lines too often in the resume. By getting rid of new-lines and using other modes of separation, I am very close to fitting the resume in one page. Various sections are still clearly differentiated and the resume is still readable. Now I just need to simplify the wording and chuck / merge some pieces .. and I can see the resume fitting in one page.


1 page is a good idea for jobs, but I don't think you need to stick to it so dearly for MBA applications (unless you are told to do so). Understand that no school is going to deny you because you handed in a 2 page resume. By the same token, no school is going to admit you because you squeezed it into 1 page. That said, if you can get it down to 1, I would. If however getting it down to 1 means butchering it to the point of meaningless drivel, don't.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 11:16
zakk wrote:
C++, Flash, Mcirosoft-whathaveyou (can you tell I'm not in tech!) will mean very little.


Good point, 08ers take heed. Reading about "java code obfuscation" makes for really boring or worse - confusing - reading.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2007, 06:11
I understand what most people are saying about leaving out the technical jargon and that since I am under 30 I should be able to fit everything in one page. But consider this, since I was working in consulting, I was involved in several projects and post that, I have been self employed doing surprise, surprise, more consulting. Which means I have some roles that are as short as six months.

Over 7 years of work experience means, these roles have accumulated and fill up the resume. Even with ZERO technical jargon, and no extra curriculars, space seems to run out. Now Adcoms specifically look for gaps in the resume for holes so its not like I can omit certain roles and only include "relevant" work experience. If I omit then I would require to explain these gaps in the "optional" essay.

Its tough work getting it ALL in. At the moment I am experimenting with a landscape layout with two columns...
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2007, 06:24
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Ok, I think I can help.

You've been a self-employed consultant. This is really ONE JOB. This ain't pretty, but imagine it like this:

Self-Employed Consultant
2002-Present
Key Projects:
* Acted as Steve Jobs' muse for I-Phone creation
* Led strategy for Martha Stewarts' comeback

They'll get the idea of what you've done, and they'll know that you can't describe every project you worked on.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2007, 06:42
Excellent suggestion !!!!!

Why didn't I think of that *scratches his head* ..


aaudetat wrote:
Ok, I think I can help.

You've been a self-employed consultant. This is really ONE JOB. This ain't pretty, but imagine it like this:

Self-Employed Consultant
2002-Present
Key Projects:
* Acted as Steve Jobs' muse for I-Phone creation
* Led strategy for Martha Stewarts' comeback

They'll get the idea of what you've done, and they'll know that you can't describe every project you worked on.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2007, 09:59
[quote="bsd_lover"]Excellent suggestion !!!!!

Why didn't I think of that *scratches his head* ..

[quote/]

You didn't think of it because you're entering the application zone - and this ain't a good place to be. In the application zone, you lose your ability to rationally think about your profile. You can't analyze, you can't be objective. You second guess everything. It's not fun. But the good news is that the folks on this board, who have also lost their ability to think objectively about their applications, can still help you with yours. It's a group effort.
  [#permalink] 31 Jul 2007, 09:59
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