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对某MBA申请者的简历和ESSAY的评论

前两天看了一个申请者的简历和两套essay,给了一些评论。里面有很多内容比较generic,个人觉得可能会对更多人有用,因此贴过来跟大家分享一下。未经申请者允许,因此没有附上其原文,评论中也去掉了其个人信息。

Dear XYZ,

Overall, good job. You've put a  lot of efforts into it. Keep it up!  

Warning: Given the time limit, I'll be very straight forward and focus on how to improve the application package, rather than what you did right. I may sound a little harsh.

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Comments on the CV

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1) Describe "achievements" rather than "responsibilities". Right now it looks like a well-written yet rather plain job decription, not something that gets the adcom excited and makes them want to know more about the candidate.

IMHO, a CV/resume for b-school application differs from what is used for job application--it should portrait the candidate's career progresses and professional milestones, rather than his/her work experience and technical/business skills.

So how do you give it a make-over? -- Numbers speak louder than text. Try to use sentences like "achieved xx% of growth in revenue", "doubled client base in one year", etc. For example, in the decription of your previous job, you gave an example using numbers/percentages. It immediately caught my attention. Try to do the same with your current job, because the adcom will start reading from there and usually if they don't see a good example of achievement by the third or even second bullet point, they will lose interest.

2) Need to use more "powerful" verbs. Currently the tone is a bit weak and again, sounds like a job description. It does not show your unique contribution so why would YOU be chosen, not some of your colleagues who are doing similar work?

B-school adcom wants to find traits of leadership potential and pro-active attitude in the candidate. So, show them these qualities by describing how you "drove/managed" a project, "created" a new working method, "initiated" an exciting plan, and "led" a team.

Even if you are not in a leadership/management role, think about how you affected outcomes positively by causing others to act in their best. Made a difference, basically.

3) Refrain from the urge of providing too much info. Rearrange/prioritize your "selling points" and make the key ones stand out by trimming the unnecessary details.

Right now each job description contains 5+ bullets and many of them are longer than three lines. Is that really necessary? You are not interviewing for a job so your reader does not need to know EVERYTHING you've done. The adcom just want to know, in the 90 seconds that they spend on average reading a resume, "what this person wants to tell me about him/herself?" and "what makes him/her shine?"

Suggestion: Cut down to 3-4 or fewer bullets per position and clean up words that only provide info rather than paint a portrait of a unique you.

4) Finally, all verbs in a CV/resume must be in past tense even if it's about your current job.

And don't use the phrase "responsible for" which sounds too passive. For example, instead of "Responsible for devising ABC strategies and executing DEF plans", say "Devised ABC strategies and executed DEF plans". Much neater and more powerful, isn't it?
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Comments on the Essays

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1) Don't just "answer" the essay questions. Treat each essay as an individual piece of written art work instead of an examination paper. This means:

- No repeating of the question (even partially) in your opening sentence. For example, when the question is "What is your biggest professional decision so far?" don't begin your essay by saying "My biggest professional decision so far is ..." Makes you sound like a "repeat-after-me machine 复读机" (no offense!)

- The opening paragraph sets the tone of the full essay so be a bit more creative. Make a little drama, tell a story, describe a scene -- visualize your ideas!

- Use more powerful words. Vary the length of paragraphs (by the way, they look too long.) Don't be mono-tone. Use a little artistic writing techniques. Be interesting.

Like your CV, the essays serve as a vivid portrait of you and you don't want it to look like a thousand other people.

Think about your poor readers (adcom) who go through hundreds of essays a day. They need something that catches their eyes and keeps them from dozing off. Something that makes them want to read on, and better, makes them laugh or ponder.

Recollect your personal experience and bring yourself back to the day that important decision was made or that idea was created. Relive it in your essay and excite yourself and your readers!

2) Maybe it sounds contradictory to my first point, but your essays must "answer" the questions. Ie. tailor-make them for each school and each question.

- Don't repeat your resume. Your first essay was like an elaborated version of your resume. It does not go straight to the topic -- "choices". Giving a bit background is okay, but too much background makes adcom wonder if this was adapted from some generic "describe your professional experience" essay.

- Hit the most important point and hit it hard. Don't just give a list of things that you will only spend 1-2 sentences on. Since you cannot cover everything in 1/3 of an essay, it's better to cover 1-2 things only. What gave the biggest impact to your life so far? Write about that.

- Identify the key words in the questions. For example, "personal" experience with a school is not some presentation that maybe 200 people saw at the info session. It is who you talked to at the session, what you learned from him/her, etc. Why does the adcom emphasize the word "personal"?Because they don't want to be a back-up school that you only researched by browsing their website. They want to see your personal commitment.

- Think like a consultant if you aspire to be one. A consultant identifies clients' issues/needs and tackles their most important problems first. For example, a school in NYC does not want to be overshadowed by the glory of the city, although they probably sell their location hard on their website. They face the competition from nearby schools, so what does this school differ from all the nearby ones? That's the thing you are going after.

3) For most situational questions (tell us a time when you...) and achievement/failure questions, consider using a "STAR" (situation, target/task, analysis/action and result) approach.

Situation: Set up the background and identify the issue(s). About 10-15% of the space, no more than 20% for a really complicated issue. Don't drag on by including too many details. You'd be surprised to know how many people can get carried away by nostalgic emotions when they "relive" the memories that they forget the 500 word limit. If you cannot cover the situation part in 100 words, you may want to use another example.

Target/task: What you needed to do. Just a simple sentence will suffice. Sometimes this part is combined with the "situation" part.

Analysis/action: 50%. This is where you dig into your issue, find a solution and act on it. Be logical with the analysis and support it with facts/data/research. Don't jump into the conclusion like "it suddenly dawned on me that..." Business decisions are made based on facts and figures, not someone's light of wisdom (智慧之光).

Results/learnings: Another 20%. Rather than describing what awards you won or praises you got, focus on what you learned from it and how you'd do things differently in future. Adcom want to see someone who keeps making progress, instead of taking a nap on the glory (躺在荣誉上睡大觉) or sobbing over spilt milk.

TOP

very good

TOP

LZ很有水平,学习了

TOP

谢谢分享!
菩提本无树,明镜亦非台,本来无一物,何处惹尘埃

TOP

不错,支持一下

TOP

很值得大家学习
Your Future, Our Mission. Topway--the world's best business school admission service.

TOP

many thanks !

TOP

很不错哇
Your Future, Our Mission. Topway--the world's best business school admission service.

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感谢楼主无私的分享呀

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