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Update Your Resume Business School Style

Oh, the resume. It’s amazing how so much work can go into one little piece of paper. I spent hours tweaking my resume for my B-school applications. Come to find out, once you get in, you do an entire upheaval of the resume AGAIN!

Here are a few tips we’re using now that could get you a head start on a perfect page:

Word Choice Matters: We all want strong and active verbs within our bullet points. Yet, somehow it is tempting to just pick the first word the thesaurus gives as another way to say “worked.” Word choice is imperative in giving the reader a glimpse into your actual contribution to a project. Get more specific if a lot of your words sound like “assisted,” “contributed,” or “supported.” Ask yourself what YOU actually did on the project. Did you CREATE anything? IMPLEMENT anything? IMPROVE anything? Those make a stronger case for individual contribution.

Looking Forward: Shift your thinking of the resume from a document detailing what you did in the past to a highlight reel of why you’d be great for the job you want in the future. Think about what characteristics and attributes are needed for success in the field in which you want to work. Then, construct your resume in a way that shows your strengths and experiences in those areas.

Explain Results: Anytime you can give insight of the result of your action, do it! How much did you increase sales? Was your proposal implemented throughout the company? In certain industries, results are less tangible. Ask yourself, “What happened due to my actions on this project? Why did this matter?” And don’t be afraid to get creative in ways to explain the impact of your projects.

It’s true that a resume can’t truly encapsulate everything about you as a person, but hopefully these tips will help you project the best possible image of yourself and your work experience!

Good Luck!

Tricia Felice, Forté Fellow
MBA 2014, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

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