Ten MBA resume mistakes to avoid

With other talented candidates vying for the same position, a ding on your resume could cost you an internship! Here are some common mistakes that we’ve seen on MBA resumes.

1. Word wall:  does your resume look like a big block of text? Reformat your resume to include some white space (or if your school has a template, go with theirs). It may be time to trim down what you currently have in your resume.

2. Small font: size 9 font (especially when paired with the above) is definitely not a sight for sore eyes. We understand that it can feel simply impossible to fit anything else into this document, even after you wordsmithed every bullet to squeeze everything onto one page. This is a  good time to think through everything that you included as part of your resume and consider what might no longer be necessary.

3. Confusing dates: did you do more than one role at a time?  Have a gap?  Include all dates that you need to make it easy for the reader to reach a clear understanding of where you’ve been and when.

4. Curiously missing data: did you list your GPA for one degree, but not with another? Old test scores but not new ones? Make sure to address these inconsistencies.

5. Inconsistent punctuation: “;” and “.” should not be used interchangeably.  Be consistent.

6. Overstating accomplishments: would you be able to quickly back up each and every bullet on your resume?  Did you supervise 10 people but have cross-functional responsibility for two dozen more?  Think about how you would explain a number before including a statement that you supervised 35 people.

7. Not providing enough context: Did you work for a company that no one has heard of? Include a short statement below (one line) providing context about what they do.

8. Including too much information about college: When you were applying for your MBA, you likely wanted to provide a lot of context about your college experience, including student leadership. This is the time now to trim it back. Make sure that you make room for new activities in the MBA section of your resume.

9. Listing interests that are too generic: The interests section of your resume (or additional information) is the last thing that your interviewer is likely to see before you walk into the room. Get their attention! Travel, cooking and reading are not going to generate great conversation (so… you like to travel), but including specifics will. Hiking in national parks is a great alternative to “travel”, testing out new recipes with friends in cooking class is a great alternative to cooking, and “a fan of XYZ author” is a nice alternative to reading. Of course your interests may be WAY more interesting than what we’ve just listed.

10. Not clearly including work authorizations (if you have them): if you have spent a lot of time working in different countries but have authorization to work in the US, make sure it is clearly stated on your resume. If anyone has asked you the question about where you can work when they proofread your resume, that means that it’s time for clarification.