Helpful for: MBA Applicants Read Time: 9 minutes Quick Facts:
- Respect the notion that less is more, and if you’re able to say something in a different way, choose the shorter way.
- “CV Speak” allows you to drop some conjunctions such as “of,” “for” and “which” in order to keep sentences shorter, even though it might be grammatically incorrect. However, in most cases the word “the” is kept since it emphasizes the noun it precedes. Aringo gives us a couple of examples: “Received the Distinguished Soldier Award”, “Presented the company’s annual plan to the CEO.”
- Instead of using “and” to break a long and complex sentence, split it into two sentences.
- Avoid using first person, “I,” “my,” “our.”
- You should start with a verb when writing about your work experience and achievements. Also, make an effort to use facts instead of subjective language.
- Unless numbers illustrate outstanding results, don’t provide any. On the other hand, if you’d like to exaggerate the success of sales, percentages are a better bet. Writing that sales went up 200% makes a greater impression than nothing that sales went up from 10k to 30k.
- Stay away from long and drawn out technical explanations—they will only confuse the reader.
- When listing your responsibilities, make sure the verb tenses correspond to duties from either your current or past position.
- Your achievements are in the past, so the verb tense should reflect that. Your achievement should be linked to a project you’ve worked on and should consist of the actions you took and the results. Remember, results should always be factual. Aringo adds:
The best descriptions of results are relative (descriptions that compare the result to other results). For example: “Fastest promotion in the Division’s history,” or CEO Alan Corey cited project as “one of the three most successful projects in the company’s history” (company’s annual conference, 11/02/09).
- Different business schools have unique requirements for CV submission. Make sure you follow them closely. For example, London Business School limits the CV to one page, while UCLA’s and Wharton’s page count is unlimited. Which business school are you applying to?