First impression matters but even the most aspiring Business Schools’ candidates overlook the short document that builds the most powerful first impression, the CV. On the other hand, the admission committees of the most prestigious Business Schools spend just a minute on average to check an applicant’s CV. So the question would be:
How to successfully build a CV that can impress within a minute?
We all know that the CV that stands out is not the one with the best content, but the one that combines effective content with great appearance! A much better CV content-wise can get overshadowed by another that is more scanable, legible and better documented, even if it lacks a few talking points. The struggle is real because you have to accomplish the herculean task of fitting your life’s experiences in one or two sheets of paper but also make it aesthetically pleasing. So we asked the career profile experts, MIM-Essay, for their valuable guidance and this is what we found out!:
10 steps towards building the perfect CV for an MBA
1 CLEAN AND EFFECTIVE FORMAT
- Limit your CV to one or two pages depending on the country — check the country’s specific rules first.
- Do not overdo it by adding watermarks, backgrounds, designs, etc.
2 STANDARDIZED FONT TYPE & SIZE
- Make sure that the font-type you choose is legible and classy.
- Use BOLD and ITALICS aptly. You can use a few different colours but do not overdo it.
- Always maintain a single font-style and size through-out your CV. Same goes for headings and bullet points.
3 ONLY KEEP RELEVANT CONTACT DETAILS
- Mobile number and email are a must but avoid other contact information such as your Skype ID.
- Avoid the rookie mistake of giving informal email IDssuch as “email@example.com”. Such details matter, and can be considered as a sign of lack of seriousness.
4 SKIP THE OBJECTIVE STATEMENT
- No need of giving an introductory paragraph stating your purpose of submitting the CV. The person receiving it very well knows that you are interested in the MBA position so instead of talking vaguely about how passionate you are about getting the MBA admission, it’s better to highlight the relevant skills that can give you an edge over other applicants.
5 OPTIMIZING BULLET POINTS
- Bullet points is the most effective way for precise information. Stick to 3-4 bullets for each sub-heading.
- Do not indulge into writing long paragraphss. The ideal length is one or two lines per bullet.
- Start each bullet with “action-words” instead of the regular sentence initiaters. For example, use words such as ‘spearheaded, created, developed, optimized” instead of the clichéd “started, built, performed” etc.
- Be clear about your achievements. Numbers and quantitative data catch the attention quickly. So instead of saying “I worked hard and delivered a solution to a client”, rephrase it into “I crafted 3 relational databases each with 250 entries to help narrow down the target audience for my clients product, increasing sales by 80%”. Apt and crisp!
6 HIGHLIGHT THE MBA RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE EFFECTIVELY
- Highlight your designation, the time span and the location of your work-place. Squeeze that in a single line.
- Mention the skills you used as well as the ones you learnt while working, but avoid being vague and generic such as “I was a hard-working and efficient employee” because honestly, you know that everyone is going to write the same. Mention specific numeric details such as “Led a 7 person team” or “Cultivated a profit of 1 million USD for the client”. Adding data quantifies your bullets and makes it much more impressive.
7 SHOWCASE EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
- Institute name, programme mame, graduation date and marks scored — this has to be there in this section. Maintain a chronology starting from the most recent one.
- Highlight academic honours, scholarships and ranking in competitive or other entrance exams. Preferably define the “ranked out-off” how many students if possible.
8 DIVERSIFY YOUR EXTRA-CURRICULARS
- Extra-Curricula’s can actually give you a competitive edge over others with a similar profile. People don’t like persons with a monotonous, boring life. They usually presfer someone who indulges in various types of work. Do not forget to mention any positions of responsibility held at clubs, communities, NGOs etc. They all count!
9 PERFECT THE GRAMMAR
- DO NOT make rookie mistakes such as spelling errors and tense mix-up as they can be a major red flag.
- Careful with active and passive voice! Often the same sentence conveys a stronger message in active voice.
10 PROOF READ AGAIN AND AGAIN
- After doing all the above, its finally time to ask someone with a calm head, and ample understanding to proofread your CV and advise if everything is not fine but perfect!