When you write your MBA essays, you spend hours or even weeks, being aware that these documents will be valid for a single application only. On the contrary, applicants tend to pay less attention to their resumes, whereas a CV, if designed and structured well, will be your asset for years, requiring updates only when reaching another career milestone.
The purpose of a resume, in general, is to give a brief overview of your achievements and guide a decision-maker, be it a business school admissions officer or an HR-Director from a Fortune 500 company, through your professional development. The key word here is brief: the gold standard for MBA resumes is one page. It may seem tough to follow such a strict limit, so here are some tips from MBA Strategy, divided into two major blocks.
I Mind your Content
- Do not turn your CV into an autobiography: it is absolutely not necessary to include achievements from your high school, if only it were not an all-country contest, for instance.
- Give your recent experience the most attention: description of the latest position may include up to 5 bullet points. When it comes to earlier employments, include the highlights only.
- Make your bullets no more than two lines long. Even a significant achievement may be described briefly (by the way, it is a good exercise before trying to fit into the word limits for essays!)
- Remove “empty” statements. Use details and numbers instead: it is much better to state that you increased profits by 35% than just writing “significantly”.
- Eliminate your duties, if only they are not necessary to explain the nature of your job. “Working with documents”, “preparing presentations”, clicking, double-clicking… Forget about it, please.
II Improve your formatting
- 10-12 pt font size is the best, but remember that 11+ is slightly more comfortable for reading. Avoid fancy fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Cambria, or Garamond are safe choices.
- Narrow margins: do not be too crazy though.
- 1-1.15 line spacing is totally fine, however, do not forget about spaces between various jobs and CV sections.
- Use tables and columns: you have much horizontal space as well, so if you want to make a list of your skills, for example, you may divide it into 3 or 4 columns.
- Keep photos off your CV, if not specified by the requirements of your school.
These were just the essentials about making your CV short and sweet. For more tips and personalized advice, schedule a free consultation with us.
By Polina Artemenko, MBA Strategy Application Consultant