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1. Anatomy of an MBA Resume The Resume Checkup
2. What is a Resume? It is a document used to “highlight” your experiences as they relate to the job you are seeking.
It is NOT a history document listing everything you have done in your career.
It is a way to introduce you as a potential candidate within an organization in your absence.
It is NOT a trophy case for you to display your awards and achievements.
It is a marketing tool that describes your individual potential value to an organization.
It is not a demonstration of your previous team’s accomplishments and assignments.
It is a venue for you to distinguish yourself from other candidates.
It is not a job description listing tasks that you have performed in previous jobs.
It is a demonstration of your work quality and a sample of your written communications skills.
3. Formatting Your Resume Avoid oversized, fancy, or multiple fonts.
Your resume should be professional and free of gimmicks. Let your content create a positive, lasting impression.
Using large or fancy type can give the impression that there is no substance behind your presentation.
Know your industry.
Creative resumes are more acceptable for jobs requiring skills in artistic design.
Industries such as banking and consulting will require a more subtle, conservative resume format.
Use the same font and format throughout your document.
List the same information in the same order under similar bullets.
4. One Page Works Best If at all possible, keep your resume to a single page.
Many recruiters don’t have the time or inclination to read more than one page, so make sure relevant information is in the top 1/3 of your document.
List only experiences and skills that are relevant to the position you are seeking – target wisely.
Stretch margins and reduce fonts to make the most of your space, but make sure it is easily readable. Don’t use anything less than a .5 margin or a 10 pt font.
5. 1 ˝ - 2 Pages for “Seasoned Pros” More than one page may be required for those with 15+ years of experience.
Ensure the information you include is relevant – don’t list every job you’ve ever had.
Avoid redundancy – use functional format to list similar skills and experiences from multiple jobs.
Avoid listing outdated software, equipment, processes, etc.
List positions held no more than 10 years ago, unless work prior to that is completely relative to the position you are now seeking.
Consider highlighting professional milestones in a summary statement at the beginning of your resume, only when seeking top executive positions.
6. Your Name Your name should be in bold letters, proportionately larger than the rest of your text, and preferably centered.
If the name you go by differs from your legal first name, type it in quotes.
Charles “Chuck” Smith or Anastasia “Annie” Davis
You may want to avoid long, pretentious legal names in favor of shorter versions, depending on how you wish to be addressed.
Rob Thomas vs. Dr. Robert VanHorn Williams-Thomas, III
7. Contact Information Address, phone and email information should be current and accurate.
If your current address is different from your permanent address, list the permanent address only. Temporary addresses may be explained in a cover letter.
List a phone number through which you are most likely to be contacted, and ensure the voice mail message for the number is professional and courteous.
Avoid using email addresses containing silly or self-characterizing monikers such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
List only personal contact information. Do not use your current work phone number or email address.
8. Objective Statements Objective statements can be a help or a hindrance, depending on your situation.
Use an objective statement to describe what type of position you are seeking only if someone agrees to circulate your resume through a company. Otherwise, your objective should be to get the job for which you are applying, and a statement saying so is not necessary.
Use an objective statement to describe your transition from one field to another if it is not apparent on your resume. For instance: “Seeking graduate-level internship for practical experience in order to aid in the transition from engineering to managerial corporate finance.”
A narrow, naďve, or un-focused objective statement can actually sabotage further review and consideration of your resume, so be cautious in using one.
9. Education Undergraduate and advanced degrees are minimum qualifications and/or discriminators.
College degrees indicate your level of formal training in a particular field or function. They do not indicate your skill level or ability to perform on the job, so minimize their presence in favor of maximizing your work experience.
When engaging in formal college recruiting activities, it makes more sense to list your education at the top of your resume. Otherwise, your professional experience should take top priority.
List your GPA under each of your college degrees. Recruiters want to see it.
List only the items under your education you believe will set you apart from other candidates.
10. Professional Experience What you have done in the past is a good indicator of what you can do for a prospective employer.
Whenever possible, use the job description of the targeted position to identify and highlight skills and characteristics in your resume that are important to the prospective employer.
If transitioning to a new field with limited relevant experience, focus on transferable skills that will make you successful in your targeted position (i.e. effective communications, analytical skills, problem solving, initiative, relationship-building, etc.)
Avoid focusing on “team” activities and successes. Instead, describe your individual role in each work assignment and your contributions.
If you led or managed a team, describe your management skills and results (i.e. reduced turnover, increased productivity) rather than the team’s accomplishments.
11. Professional Experience (cont.) Show positive progression in work assignments and levels of responsibility.
Include projects that failed, as long as you can positively articulate your role in their recovery or any cost savings based on your strategic decision making.
Do not list perfunctory work such as generating reports, managing files, corresponding with clients, etc. These are tasks required in everyone’s job. Use the space to show the value you added to your company instead.
When deciding on what to include in your work experience, put the item through the “Who cares?” test. If you were reviewing the resume for a hiring decision, would your text make sense or generate interest relative to the position?
12. Crafting an Effective Bullet Business is all about making money or saving money. An effective bullet description will demonstrate your value by doing either of those things.
Job Descriptions list tasks only. Resumes describe your value to the organization by adding the “how” and “why.”
In each bullet, describe WHAT you did (task), HOW you did it (skills or method used), and the RESULTS of your efforts (value added to the bottom line of the company).
Quantify your results whenever possible by using actual or estimated numbers.
If numbers are not comparative, use percentage values to quantify your results.
13. Work History A Work History section enables you to list jobs you have held in the past without adding a description.
Include jobs in your work history that are not relevant in any way to the job you are seeking.
Include jobs in your work history that explain gaps between professional, relevant work experience.
Avoid listing jobs you held prior to the past 10 years.
In the work history section, include the name of your company, your position title, and the dates of your employment.
Do not include jobs already listed under your relative professional experience.
14. Memberships, Skills & Interests Memberships, skills, and interests demonstrate multitasking, civic duty, affiliations, and human interests.
List only a couple of items here that you believe would set you apart from other candidates.
Do not list proficiency in software programs that are commonly used by everyone (i.e. MS Word, Excel, Access).
Do not list religious, political, or other controversial affiliations, as this may negatively impact your consideration.
Always list language proficiencies and professional certifications if they are relevant.
List a few hobbies or interests, as this shows you have a balanced life outside of work and it gives the interviewer points of discussion to build rapport with you and ease you into the interview discussion.
15. Errors are NOT an Option! Perfectionism is a virtue in resume writing!
Even the tiniest of errors in spelling, grammar, formatting, or printing are enough to put your resume on the rejection pile.
Recruiters often see resume errors as a reason not to have to continue reviewing the document for further consideration.
Resumes represent your quality of work and attention to detail as much as they convey your work experience and skills.
Why would you risk losing the opportunity of a lifetime because you failed to make sure your resume was perfect?
Check your resume for errors 101 times+1, and then have a friend do the same. You never get a second chance to make a first impression!