Monday, April 16, 2007

Resume tips

There is an oft-used marketing strategy - "State, elaborate, state again". The resume is where you can state your case. It can be used as both an introduction to your entire application as well as a concise summary of your professional and extracurricular life. So the resume is an important marketing tool and here are some tips to use it effectively:

Typically your essays will talk about your experiences, learnings, ideas and opinions. Whereas your resume can be used to list out and quantify your achievements. The size of the teams you led, the $ value of your sales targets, the amount of business you earned for your firm, the % increase in efficiency you achieved for the software you developed, number of promotions, academic/professional awards, prestigious scholarships etc. are all quantifiable entities that will make your resume impressive. When a person reads your resume he/she should get an idea of your achievements and should want to know what made you achieve them (which is what your essays will contain). So, numbers look good on your resume and your resume is the best place for numbers.

Although you will be using bullet points and resume-speak, grammar is important. Short crisp sentences in simple past tense without too much of passive voice really helps. Do not make your reader guess the expansion of your abbreviations.

Choose a resume format that does not look too cluttered and allows enough space to say everything you want to. I personally believe that a very simple functional template works better than those that offer more decorative value. Make sure there is clear demarcation between the various parts of your resume, namely, educational background, professional experiences, extracurricular interests. Ensure that you give all the relevant dates for every activity.

Do not try to overload your resume with explanations and description and thereby introduce redundancy between your resume and essays. Save the verbosity for the essays!

Make sure all the significant aspects of your education, profession and extracurriculars are listed in your resume. Missing out something could mean giving an incomplete picture of your candidacy to the adcom, specially because the resume could serve as a quick reference to your file and should contain all the key points you want your readers to remember about you.

Normally, schools specify the acceptable length for the resume. If not specified a 1 or 2 page resume is ideal. I used a 2 page resume for all my schools because none of them restricted the length to 1 page while some specified a maximum of 2 pages. So don't go overboard with the length.

Hope you find this post useful...