Here is our second installment of resume FAQs, straight from our clients’ mouths. In the era of the incredible shrinking essay section, the resume has become increasingly important in the business school application process. Take the time to make sure yours is as polished a reflection of you as the rest of your application is.

I’ve seen job entries written several different ways. Which one is right?

While there’s no rule, we feel that the strongest job entries begin with a few lines describing your general roles and responsibilities. What were you hired to do every day? This paragraph can also include big picture details about the business, such as annual revenue and growth trends. Then below that, list three to five bullet points highlight your ownable achievements, notable projects or awards. This approach shows the reader not only what your job was, but exactly how you added value in that role.

Be very specific about your accomplishments, quantify everything possible, and take credit where credit is due. If you created a system to save the company $125K in operating costs, say so. Even better, don’t just say that you did it; explain why you did it and how. Use vibrant details to describe the impact you had.

What are “Action Words”?

Action words are verbs that express what you did, such as “developed,” “created,” “managed,” “analyzed.” Action words are always your best choice because they show the specific steps you took to generate your results. Avoid nebulous phrases like “worked on,” “responsible for,” “tasked with” or “helped to” that don’t add any value in understanding your actions.

Another term you may be familiar with is active voice—another must for both resume and essay writing. Active voice (“I did X”) is always the preferred writing style to passive voice (“X happened to me”) because it gives you ownership of the result.

How important is it to list extracurriculars?

Admissions committees are looking to see if you are likely to be an engaged, active student at business school, with the ability to balance academic responsibilities with student life. If you earned a 3.4 GPA in college while deeply involved with campus activities, that can impress them more than someone with a 3.8 who did nothing but go home and study every day. Highlight every leadership role that you took. You’d also be well served to add a “personal” section at the bottom of your resume with the interests and hobbies that you currently enjoy outside of work.

Should I end each line with a period?

The key to resume formatting is consistency. If you end one bullet point with a period, then end all bullet points with a period. If you include dates for one of your club activities, include dates for all of them. Make sure spacing is even and lined up precisely. Show the admissions committee that you are detail-oriented, attentive and invested in each step of this process, just as you will be as a student, and as future professional reflecting their program.

[For help preparing a standout resume for business school, or for general MBA admissions advice, contact us at]

© Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, September 15, 2014, 10:00am MT