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5 MBA resume mistakes to avoid

Top Admit - October 08, 2019

MBA resume tips for business school admission success

What are the common MBA resume mistakes applicants make?

  1. Writing problems
  2. Uninformative description
  3. Too much information
  4. Bad styling
  5. Missing your target

As the only document in your application package that gives a full summary of your academic and professional history, an effective resume is critical in gaining admission to top MBA programmes

 There are a variety of good templates and other resources online to can help get you started, but be sure to avoid these 5 common mistakes.

1. Writing problems

There is no easier or more preventable way to destroy a well-planned document than to use bad grammar and spelling, sloppy word choices, or faulty language. 

Abbreviated language is common in resume writing, where bullet points tend to replace sentences. However, make sure you use a consistent and logical style of condensation and punctuation.

2. Uninformative description

Your resume needs to present specific, quantifiable achievements. Avoid vague or clichéd modifiers (e.g. interesting, proactive). 

Don't just say you developed innovative marketing strategies. Instead, give the reader more substantial information by telling them that you increased brand recognition by 35% among 18 to 30-year-olds through social advertising.

3. Too much information

Few MBA applicants have a history that justifies a resume longer than 1 page, and even older applicants should aim for a single-page resume too. 

At this stage, it doesn’t matter where you went to high school, or that you once had a summer job at the local chip shop. The quality and relevance of your achievements should always take priority over their quantity.

4. Bad styling

No fancy fonts or distracting borders, please. An MBA resume should be clean and professional. 

Times New Roman is the font of choice for this type of document, though a traditional sans-serif font like Verdana can also be effective, especially for electronic submissions. Leaving enough white space on the page is equally important.

5. Missing your target

Keep in mind that a resume is written for a particular audience. Tailor your resume to each programme.  

Select and emphasize details based on your current and future goals. If you have a background in computer engineering, for example, focus on your quantitative skills or leadership ability, according to the school and your preferred track. 

Whatever you choose, don't waste space with a list of irrelevant programming language proficiencies.


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Post updated for accuracy and freshness on October 8, 2019. Originally published on March 07, 2014.

Guest blog post written by Patrick Danielson from TopAdmitTop Admit is a premier provider of online English editing and proofreading services. Top Admit has a team of 200 editors – all graduates from Ivy League schools with professional backgrounds. Their mission is to help international students gain admission to the schools of their choice, by providing friendly and professional English-language services. 


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