An MBA resume is a lot like the document you've prepared for every job you’ve sought in your career, but that doesn't mean it's all right to submit a boilerplate document as part of your business school application. Each resume you submit should be crafted and pitched toward a specific opportunity, and MBA program admissions committees will want to see you represent yourself well in both professional and educational contexts.
Writing a resume is a unique challenge, whether it's for an MBA application or any other purpose. While it can be tricky to promote your accomplishments without sounding boastful, it's important to give yourself the credit you deserve in a concise, compact, professional format. Read our seven-step guide to creating a winning MBA resume, and consider how the right layout and content might improve your chances for admission to your target MBA program.
1. Start your layout from scratch.
Resume templates typically are a one-size-fits-all solution to developing a resume, but your document will only have impact if it stands out from the crowd. Make your first impression on your evaluators a powerful one with attention to visual detail.
A sloppy, overly busy, or bland design can be initially off-putting to your reader. A strong resume will be organized clearly with visually delineated sections; legible, modern fonts; consistent alignment; and a healthy balance between text and white space.
2. Speak to your audience.
While your experience and accomplishments may not change, the way you frame them should be different for each resume you create. Try to strike a balance between academic and professional achievements on your MBA resume. Your admissions committee will want to see that you not only have the drive to advance at work and in your career, but the aptitude and focus to succeed in the classroom. Be sure to include any academic honors you think may be most relevant in this context.
3. Keep it current.
MBA admissions committees are interested in who you are today, and how all your experiences and skills have helped you develop into a perfect candidate. Emphasize your current role and go into the greatest depth when discussing your current responsibilities, as well as any achievements and advancement you may have enjoyed in your present job.
Some MBA programs, such as the Online MBA program at California State University, Chico, do not require professional experience to apply. If this is the case for you—if you're applying as you complete your undergraduate studies or shortly thereafter—be sure to highlight elements of your academic achievement and course of study that indicate your drive to succeed professionally.
4. Be aware of any gaps.
Your resume reader will likely understand that sometimes life intervenes and creates some bumps in an otherwise smooth employment narrative. If this is the case, there's no need to belabor it on your resume itself, but you should be ready to discuss any gaps in your experience clearly and confidently in another context. The most likely places in which this would occur during the MBA application process would be an admissions interview or in your personal statement.
5. Emphasize applicable outside interests.
Not every notable achievement occurs in the classroom or the workplace. For example, if you take part in an activity like volunteering or community service that you believe is pertinent to your goals and emblematic of your character, don't hesitate to include it. It might be just the detail your readers need to understand who you really are.
6. Choose an appropriate length.
The standard length for a resume has long been one full page, and that generally is a good guide. However, if you have accrued enough relevant experience over the course of your academic and professional career, you can expand to two pages to paint a fuller picture on your MBA resume. Be honest, however, and don’t pad the content to expand your document’s length; your readers will see right through that.
7. Proofread carefully (and ask for assistance).
Appropriate grammar and error-free content go a long way toward framing you as a detail-oriented professional and prospective student. When you think your document is complete, read it over once again to catch any lingering issues and to ensure it is easy to read and follow. And because fresh eyes can never hurt, ask a trusted friend or colleague to give it a final proofread as well. They may provide extremely helpful feedback that you would not have thought of on your own.
Put Your Resume to Use at Chico State
By following this guide, you should be well on your way to crafting a document that will wow the readers in the College of Business at CSU, Chico when you apply to the Online MBA program. Your tailored, unique resume will be a true asset, particularly if you intend to pursue a specialization in Enterprise Information Systems or Project Management.
Explore all of the admissions requirements for the Chico State Online MBA program, and read our blog post on requesting letters of recommendation for more insight into the application process.