Your resume is the MBA equivalent of a thesis. There’s no paucity of tactical advice – shifting the MBA to the bottom of your resume, proofreading by reading backwards. But, it was the following strategic advice that improved my post-MBA resume (and after days upon days of “Resumania” at Wharton, I couldn’t believe I had capacity for even more feedback!).
Highlight Your Wins…And Challenges You’ve Overcome
As you join the ranks of management, it’s critical to show how your past successes weren’t borne out of luck; you need to show how you’ve faced and triumphed over challenges.
Experienced leaders have confronted revenue crunches, complete turnover in teams and major industry shocks. If your successes are contextualized by only rainbows and unicorns, your skills will appear shallow. It’s no longer enough that you increased profitability, but what percentage of your costs were fixed? How much discretion did you have to raise prices? What constraints existed?
Once you’ve landed your first post-MBA job, it’s time to think about your career summary. It’s your branding statement, which articulates your unique skills and career path.
An effective career summary:
- Summarizes your achievements and highlights relevant skills
- Differentiates you from other candidates
- Shares why you do you work
Make sure to use industry keywords, but avoid jargon. Aim for 3-4 brief sentences written in paragraph form.
Show Don’t Tell
The best way to convince employers how you will add value is to show them you’ve done it before. Let your accomplishments show your skills.
Use your insights about your desired position, department, organization and industry to curate your successes. It is a mature brand that needs to show relevance? It is a start-up that needs multiple digital marketing strategies? Has it suffered low profitability in the audience segment you’re taking over? Each situation necessities different skills and you only want to emphasize the skills this position needs.
Highlight how you’ve handled analogous challenges. If your target position is a significant leap in responsibility, show how you’ve handled all the pieces individually. And, then use your cover letter to demonstrate how you’ll combine all these elements.
Whether you’re pivoting to a new career, launching your own venture or accelerating past your pre-MBA peers, your resume is a critical component to your unique brand.
Kerith Dilley is a senior associate with Admitadvantage.com and one of the experts on Admit.me. She is a graduate of UCLA and The Wharton School where she received her MBA.