CV stands for Curriculum Vitae. This is a Latin expression which means 'course of life'. The expression was introduced in modern language in the early 20th century. So, a CV is a description of the ‘the story of your life’. It contains information about your education and training, work experience, interests and hobbies, awards and accomplishments, community and volunteer service. The CV also includes a list of your skills even if you do not have a supporting document for them, such as computer skills, language fluency, social skills, intercultural awareness, team roles, etc. The CV may also include a list of publications and membership in professional organizations.
The MBA Resume is a shorter version (up to one page and half) of the CV which is focused only on the facts relevant to post-graduate management studies. It may contain additional details not listed on the CV, but important for MBA application, especially related to your job responsibilities, achievements and progression. Such details should illustrate your management responsibilities, achievements, contribution to business development and management improvement, etc. Intercultural awareness is another important aspect that you should highlight in your resume. Social interaction, interpersonal skills, typical team roles and examples of leadership activities must also be included. Some of these skills may be illustrated better in your out-of-office activities. So hobbies, interests, community service are important for an MBA resume, although they may not be quite so obvious.
How to prepare your MBA resume?
Start by updating your CV. You should always have available a really detailed version of your CV. So get into the habit of always adding any new experiences, training, achievements and skills in a full version of your CV.
Understand what is important in your profile for the business schools of your choice. Read carefully the schools’ websites, especially those sections that outline admissions requirements, the student and class profile, employment statistics, school videos and interviews with current students or alumni. You can even contact experts or b-school’s admissions officers for an initial profile evaluation.
Make a selection of the facts and skills on your CV which are relevant to what each business school is looking for. Focus on the elements which really differentiate you from the majority of the applicants. Try to put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer and look at your resume from this perspective.
Work on the short description of your profile and goal which comes right at the beginning of the resume. It should be up to three lines and provide a snapshot of who you are and why you want to study in the MBA programme of your choice. Try to convey your uniqueness and how an MBA will help you to reach your career goals.
Ask a friend or a close colleague to read the resume. Ask for feedback on whether it really reflects your personality, achievements and goals. Discuss whether some of what you have included are generalisations or facts that may be true for many other people and so not really relevant.
If after all of the above you are unhappy with your MBA resume or if you feel that it does not manage to differentiate you well enough, consider working with an admissions consultant/coach on developing a new version. The brainstorming around what to put in the MBA resume and the outside perspective of an expert provides the real added value.
Make sure the resume is one page long and legible. Carefully check spelling and grammar. Make sure the resume is in the format required by each business school to which you will apply.