9 Mistakes Most Applicants Make in Their MBA Resume

9 Mistakes Most Applicants Make in Their MBA Resume

Are you working on your MBA resume and wondering whether you have crafted the best possible version of it? Just like application essays and recommendations, the resume is an important part of the admissions process so make sure it reflects your authentic strengths.

To guarantee that the MBA resume works in your favor, check if you have made any of these common mistakes. It is not too late to smooth them out.

#1. The resume is too long.

It can be difficult to cram many years of business and leadership experience into just one or two pages, but this is the resume length recommended by experts. Ultimately, it has to be simple and easy to understand because MBA admissions committees look through numerous applications every day. Anything longer than one or two pages is an instant red flag because it shows you find it difficult to filter and compress important information.

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#2. It is not specific enough.

The MBA resume is a window to your professional experience and to your personality. If you fail to include specific examples and accomplishments, you will not stand out in the pool of MBA applicants. “Admissions committees like to see results-oriented phrases in resumes, so for every bullet point, try to quantify results in dollar amounts or percentages whenever possible,advises MBA admissions consultant Stacy Blackman.

Don’t be afraid to point out obstacles you have overcome in the past. This will distinguish you from the crowd, while showing that you know how to deal with challenges.

#3. It is not tailored to the MBA program’s values.

Applicants often forget that the MBA resume is not like a regular job application. Instead, it should reflect the goals and values endorsed by the program you want to study in. For example, if you are applying to a business school that places great importance on sustainable management or social entrepreneurship, your resume should demonstrate how your background is connected to these values.

#4. The language is inappropriate or uses jargon.

Admissions committees may not understand any technical or industry-specific terms you use in your resume. You need to turn complex terminology into simple language. While this is a common application mistake, it is usually easy to fix. Ask a family member or friend to read your resume – they should be able to point out any jargon that is difficult to understand.

In addition, be mindful of the language and style of your text. Humor, subjective remarks, and criticism do not have a place in this format.

#5. The role descriptions are not relevant.

With many years of experience and diverse job positions, it can be tempting to list all kinds of details. However, your resume should tell a story. Some of your past responsibilities may not be relevant to your current career objectives. Instead, show how you have advanced as a professional and demonstrate your steady growth as a leader.

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#6. It overemphasizes high school education.

The time spent in high school is extremely valuable for your personal growth as it prepares you for the first steps in your career. However, as an MBA applicant, high school is probably not relevant for your resume anymore. Experts say that you should include details from that time only if you have had very significant achievements as a high school student. As an experienced professional, your university background and professional roles will be sufficient in showing the admissions committee why you are the right fit for their program.

#7. It neglects extracurricular activities.

Professional accomplishments are important but extracurricular activities and volunteer experience can be just as impressive. Admissions committees want to get a glimpse of what motivates you in life, beyond your career. Chioma Isiadinso, co-founder of EXPARTUS and former Harvard Business School admissions officer, agrees that extracurricular interests can add color to your MBA resume and help the admissions committee get a feel of your unique character.

Make this section specific. If you like sports, give examples of competitions you have participated in or sports organizations you are part of.

#8. The visual formatting is ill-fitted.

Nobody will expect to see a masterfully designed resume template. On the contrary, including too many colors or visual elements will overwhelm readers. However, this does not mean that the MBA resume should not look aesthetically pleasing. You might want to stick to the practice “simple is best” and work on a clear structure and consistent formatting.

#9. The resume contains typos or other inaccuracies.

So you have crafted an impressive MBA resume that contains all important information about you and your career. However, if you forget to edit and proofread it at least once after it is finished, you might end up submitting a document with grammatical or other errors. You are probably impatient to be done with it, especially if you have worked hard to make it look good. Yet, admissions committees will easily notice any typos and inconsistencies which will reflect badly on your commitment and preparation.

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Creating a perfectly balanced MBA resume is not easy. However, going through these guidelines before submitting the final document will greatly improve its quality. Get ready to impress the admissions committee!


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