The battle for a spot in a top business school is fierce. One of the most important weapons in your arsenal are the bullet points on your MBA application resume.
To create resume bullet points that score you need to keep three important things in mind:
Cutting and pasting your job description is not going to be sufficient to impress MBA admissions committees and there are no points awarded for perfect attendance. When admissions officers read your MBA resume, they are a lot like sports fans: they want to know how you won, what you won, and by how much.
The TV highlights of sports competitions rarely feature a player loitering on the field. The highlights are all about action. Your resume is the “highlight reel” of your career, so make sure there is plenty of action. Each resume bullet point should begin with an action verb. Whenever possible that action verb should feature you in action as a leader. Flat verb phrases like “responsible for” don’t work because they don’t describe what you did, whereas verbs like led, ran, spearheaded, managed, and directed are powerful, active leadership verbs. Bullet points that show you in action are the ones that score with the admissions committees.
Effective resume bullet points tell your reader about the results you and your team achieved. How do you feel when someone tell you a story that doesn’t have an ending? A bullet point without a result isn’t much better. Admissions officers want to know how things turned out and what you accomplished in each situation. The results you share in your resume bullet points are evidence that you moved the needle in each position. Leaders get things done and make a tangible difference for their team. Therefore, you need to include results on your resume to make it clear that you did more than just suit up for the game — you scored and helped the team to win.
Speaking of the scoreboard, if the achievements on your resume can’t be measured, can you really claim there was an achievement? Sports stories tell you not only who won but also by how much. Many MBA applicants have a hard time quantifying results on their resume. The key is to think back to the measures of success on each assignment. If you “built strategic alliances,” how many partners did you sign up and how much revenue was generated from these new alliance relationships? If you “presented a customer segmentation strategy,” was the strategy approved and implemented? How much incremental profit did the new strategy generate? If you “designed an online customer satisfaction survey,” how much did the resulting recommendations improve customer satisfaction? Specific results that have been quantified are the key to a high scoring resume.
In your first couple of resume drafts, the object of the game is to inventory the various achievements you might feature. Once you complete this inventory, you can begin crafting “high-scoring” bullet points with the three scoring criteria described in this article in mind. An MBA application resume that features you in action and quantifies the results you delivered for your organization and your teammates will hit the mark with admissions officers.
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