A few months back I interviewed several summer intern candidates at work. While reviewing these candidates’ resumes I saw a lot mistakes that you should never make on a resume, whether you are applying for a summer internship or a top ten MBA program. They did not do very well in the interviews and I was not surprised. Here are three easy steps you can take to quickly improve your resume before you apply for business school or your next job.
Do Not Use Too Much Jargon in your Resume
These candidates dropped terms such as electroencephalographic signal and fast Fourier transformation in the resume. Using complex jargon at best won’t help you and at worst will confuse the person reading your resume. If they can’t understand what you are saying then they won’t be impressed. You are an expert in your field, but not everyone is as knowledgeable about the topic. Try to make your resume as approachable as possible so you don’t alienate your interviewer. If your interviewer is not familiar with a term, it may make them feel stupid, and that isn’t going to help your chances of getting an offer.
Do Not Focus on the Process, Focus on the Result
Often when candidates describe their work experience, they focus on what they did, not the “so what?”. Business schools and hiring managers don’t care about the process you went through or the computer language you programmed in. Instead they want to find out what the impact of your project was. What would a hiring manager or business school rather see on a resume?
- Expert VBA programmer
- Automated data collection process using VBA, which reduced team workload by 100 hours per month
The second description not only shows that you know VBA, but it also demonstrates that you know how to use that skill to drive real value for your company. Whenever possible, try to quantify how much of an impact your project had for your company. Mention how many more customers your company will attract or how much you were able to increase profits or revenues.
Highlight your Ability to Work in a Team
Employers and business schools want to see that you can work in a team environment and interact well with others. Don’t just state that you are a team player, demonstrate that you know how to collaborate while discussing your accomplishments. Discuss a project where you collaborated with other departments and succeeded in accomplishing a goal. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you don’t have the people skills required to interact in a work environment.
Check out my MBA Interview Preparation Guide to learn how to get ready for MBA interviews.