Resume Essential Content

While a resume should be customized to reflect your personal experience, there are some sections that should always be included.

• Heading
• 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 States)

Educational History

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.

Professional 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.

Accomplishment Statements

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 efficient)?

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 the following:

• 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 output.
• 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 mind:

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 guide.

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.

Computer Skills

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.

Language Skills

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 economy.

Professional Affiliations/Activities

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 you.


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.



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