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Writing your resume for business school: Tips and strategies

April 19, 2021

It’s a general truth about resumes that they should always strive to speak to a specific opportunity. While the resume you use for professional opportunities may be fairly consistent if you are applying to multiple jobs in the same industry, your resume for business school poses a bit of a different challenge.

When you are applying to an MBA program or a business- or management-focused master’s degree program such as a Master in Management, you will want to craft a resume that portrays you positively in both professional and academic contexts. Follow these resume tips to craft a clear, concise, and compelling document that highlights your accomplishments and leaves no doubt of your qualifications for your business program of choice.

1. Pay attention to formatting.

The first impression your business school resume will make on your audience will be a visual one. The best way to ensure your resume stands out amid a sea of similar documents is through consistent, creative formatting and strong attention to detail.

Use clean, modern fonts and consistent spacing to clearly delineate between sections and draw your reader’s attention to the important information. Don’t crowd your document with unnecessary details and be sure to also leave sufficient white space to keep your document easy on the eyes. The work you put into your document’s formatting will not only help your business school admissions committee digest its content, it will also help them form an impression of you as a capable, detail-oriented professional.

2. Know your audience.

Your business school admissions committee differs slightly, but significantly, from a hiring committee. The admissions committee is likely to place more importance on your academic achievements than would a professional committee. So, you may want to include a bit more detail in your academic background section to account for this, such as including any academic honors you have earned that are relevant to your continued education.

Further, don’t omit details like an impressive GPA. Some business schools may offer perks like a GMAT/GRE waiver on this basis, so you’ll want to be sure your readers notice. You want to present a resume that leaves no doubt that you are equipped with the drive and aptitude to succeed in the classroom.

3. Keep it up to date.

Your application will be evaluated on the basis of the candidate you are today. It only makes sense, then, to put your best foot forward by ensuring that all of your latest experience and accomplishments are detailed on your business school resume. Be sure to regularly update your resume with your most recent responsibilities at work to demonstrate impressive growth and positive momentum.

Don’t worry if your career is just getting underway, though! Many business schools, like the Graduate School of Management at Marquette University, do not require professional work experience for admission to their MBA or master’s degree programs. If this is the case for you, be sure to highlight accomplishments or subjects of study in your most recent academic experience that emphasize your professional ambition.

4. Don’t hide gaps, but be ready to speak about them.

It’s totally acceptable, and not at all uncommon, for there to be gaps in your resume. Life happens, and your admissions committee will certainly be cognizant of this fact. However, you should be open to addressing any such gaps in your other application materials. Your personal statement is the likeliest place where this would occur; it’s your opportunity to craft your own personal narrative and confidently explain how the challenges you have overcome have made you into the person you are today, who is prepared to undertake graduate school.

5. Highlight your skills and interests.

To help your admissions committee form the most positive impression of you possible, you will want to give themselves a holistic picture of you as an individual. Include a section on your business school resume that briefly highlights any volunteering or community service that may be relevant to your educational and professional future. Emphasizing your character will not only give your committee a preview of your future positive contributions in the business world, but it will help you stand out as a potential asset to your future classmates.

6. Keep the length appropriate.

This rule is simple: Your business school resume should be no less than one page in length, and no more than two. Within these parameters, you should be able to go into the appropriate level of depth about your accomplishments without getting bogged down in unnecessary details. To adhere to this length guideline, be clear, honest, and matter-of-fact in your prose.

7. Proofread twice (alone and with a friend).

While two heads may be better than one, in this case, four eyes are better than two. You should proofread your work diligently for any typos or grammatical errors, and when you’re done, have a trusted friend or colleague do the same. It can be very difficult to evaluate your own writing, and fresh eyes should help you catch any errors that could cause your admissions committee to question your attention to detail. Your reader may also be able to provide helpful feedback about places you could fine tune by adding more detail or trimming down a bit.

With your resume ready, apply to business school at Marquette.

With your accomplishments clearly highlighted and your experience undeniable, you’re ready to apply to the online MBA or online Master in Management program at Marquette University’s Graduate School of Management. Read more about the benefits that each of these degrees can provide for your professional development, and find out about the unmatched career support Marquette offers to all students and graduates.