Resume Essential Content
While a resume should be customized to reflect your personal
experience, there are some sections that should always be included.
• Educational History
• Professional Experience
• Computer Skills
• Language Skills
• Professional Affiliations/Activities
The heading should contain your name, mailing address, telephone
number, and email address. Avoid using abbreviations in this section
of your resume (i.e., spell out words such as Street and Drive, and
even the state name where normally you would use the two-letter
abbreviation). Treat your name as the title of your resume. Feature it
prominently at the top of the page. Use all caps and bold type so that
it will stand out.
If you are a foreign national student studying in the United States
and are eligible to work permanently in this country, it is a good
idea to indicate this status in the heading of your resume. Similarly,
if you are a citizen of the United States with a name that might lead
a reader to question your citizenship or employment eligibility,
eliminate all doubt with a brief statement indicating that you are a
U.S. citizen. (The topic of finding employment as a foreign national
student will be addressed at a later time during the academic year).
123 Main Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
(865) 123-4567 [email protected]
(Immigration status: permanent resident allowed to work in the United
Present your most current degree first. Since you are applying for
positions based primarily on your MBA education, the first line of
your education section should include the name of this degree and the
date it will be received. If space allows, spell out the name of the
degree in bold type. Always list your MBA concentrations. If you are
unsure at the time when your resume is being composed, list those in
which you have a fairly strong interest. You can always update your
resume at a later time. All MBA students will complete CareerLeaderTM
, the business career self-assessment program. This is an excellent
tool for narrowing your choice of concentration.
Include in the education section any honors or awards you received
due to outstanding academic performance. Include your grade point
average if it is a 3.5 or higher. Always indicate the grading scale
with your GPA (e.g., 3.5/4.0).
Employers are also interested in knowing the percent of college
expenses you personally earned through work or scholarships. This type
of information suggests that you have excellent time management
skills, are highly self-motivated, and possess the ability to set and
attain meaningful goals. Include this information only if 50% or more
of college expenses were earned through paid work experience.
This is the section of your resume that demonstrates to employers
your work-related accomplishments. Think of this as the evidence room.
Here is where you substantiate your claims to have the qualifications
employers seek. Readers will spend most of their 30 seconds here, so
spend considerable effort developing this section. Include all
full-time, part-time, internship, cooperative education, and
self-employment work experience of a professional nature. Avoid using
any work experience that dates back before college. List positions in
chronological order with the most recent position first.
Remember that the easier it is for readers to find essential
content, the more likely it is they will find a reason to interview
you. So, formatting is very important. To help draw attention to the
nature of your work, list the job title in bold type and dates of
employment first. On the next line, list the company name and address
(city and state). If the employer is well known in the industry, it
may be beneficial to begin with the company name in bold and list the
job title beneath it. Leverage a well-respected company-one that is
known for its rigorous selection process or outstanding training
program. A proven track record at Procter & Gamble or Coca-Cola, for
example, gives you a competitive advantage.
There are at least three things the employer wants to know about
your prior employment:
1. How much money did you earn for the company?
2. How much money did you save the company?
3. How much time did you save the company (thus making operations more
Spend some time carefully crafting these statements. Write down all
of the positions you have held and the impact or contribution you made
in each. While not everyone will have a made a measurable contribution
in all of their positions, attempting to answer the three questions
above provides a framework in which to construct the all-important
experience section. This is where you will prove to prospective
employers that you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities they
require-as evidenced by what you have already accomplished for other
employers. Upon completion, your experience section should communicate
• High Productivity. Ability to do more with less.
• Interpersonal Skills. Ability to work with and manage a diverse
group of employees while achieving constant improvement and increased
• Problem-Solving Skills. Ability to define a problem and determine a
corrective course of action.
• Quality. Ability to produce measurable results.
• Vision. Ability to capitalize on opportunities for organizational
growth and change.
• Customer Focus. Understanding of, and commitment to, the customers
who use the organization's products or services.
This list is not exhaustive, but is indicative of the qualities
that companies seek in MBA candidates. Order your achievement
statements by importance to your career objective. That way, if the
employer reads only one or two phrases for each position held, they
will see those that are most relevant.
Immediately below job title and company name, describe your
accomplishments in concise statements. Keep the following points in
1. Be brief. Start each statement with an action verb followed by a
noun or adjective. This will help to quickly grab the reader's
attention. A list of action verbs is included at the end of this
2. The Pronoun "I" is assumed so it should never appear in your
statements. For this reason, it is not necessary to write your
accomplishment statements as complete sentences. Use brief phrases to
say what you achieved.
3. Use quantitative descriptions whenever possible to convey the
magnitude and scope of your accomplishments. Numbers are easily
understood in the business world and it may be inferred from their use
that you possess analytical skills.
4. Where possible, condense and consolidate what you have written,
eliminating all nonessential words that add little meaning and impact
to your qualifications. Try to keep each statement to one line.
5. Use bulleted lists so that your achievement statements stand
out. Avoid descriptions in paragraph or narrative form.
The more technically proficient you are, the more in demand you
will be. All MBA students are expected to have some level of computer
proficiency. List all that you feel you will be proficient with by the
end of the first year of the MBA program. Be sure to include Internet
browser software in addition to presentation, word processing,
spreadsheet, and database programs. Even though you may not use it in
your internship or career position, list any programming languages
with which you are proficient.
If you are fluent in a language other than English, this
information should always be included on your resume. Indicate whether
you possess written or verbal fluency, or both. Also include extensive
travel abroad or time spent in another culture, thus indicating your
ability to maintain interpersonal relationships in other areas of the
world. These types of skills are highly desirable in the global
Involvement in professional organizations greatly enhances your
credibility and can be a major factor in obtaining an interview. All
MBA students should list membership in TOMBA (Tennessee Organization
of MBAs). Become an active member as soon as possible to further
strengthen your leadership and teamwork skills.
Don't hide who you are! Use your Activities section to feature
information about yourself that suggests to the reader your unique
personality. Having competed in the Olympics or published a novel, for
example, are the types of non-business related honors that will
greatly impress MBA recruiters and pique their interest in talking to
It is not necessary to include a reference section on the resume.
Instead, put them on a separate sheet and produce it upon request
during an interview. Always ask permission from those you plan to use
as references. Use past supervisors, professors, and other
professionals who know your work habits well and will say only
positive things about you. After you have obtained permission to use
someone as a reference, provide him or her with a copy of your resume.