How to craft the perfect resume

career advice resume

The amount of information in the world, according to Statista, has increased nearly 15x over the last ten years and much of this information is personal information on you and me. It is remarkable, then, that employers and business schools still require a resume, a simple, yet complex, one-page summary of all your accomplishments and experiences. 

A resume is often the first, and sometimes the last, data point a prospective employer or school receives on you, so it is critical that you craft the “perfect” resume. While perfection might be impossible, we can help you greatly improve your resume and increase your chances of getting an interview. The focus of this post will be on the content of your resume, not necessarily the formatting. 

There are three key aspects to ensuring your resume gets the attention you deserve:

  1. Including metrics
  2. Communicating results
  3. Displaying emotional intelligence

Including Metrics

A resume filled with quantifiable metrics will pop out to readers as it feels more tangible and better communicates the context of the work you performed. Let’s look at a few examples of how to effectively include metrics in your resume bullets. 

Example 1:

Before - “Performed monthly financial analysis for business lines and presented results to senior executives”

After - “Created 20-page financial analyses for 6 business lines on monthly basis and presented results to 5 senior executives”

Example 2:

Before - “Led a team to perform due diligence on a potential transaction for a client”

After - “Led a 4-person team to perform due diligence across 10+ focus areas on a potential $1B transaction for a $20B client, ultimately recommending the client acquire the target company”

It might not always be possible to include metrics but, if possible, include 2 - 4 metrics per resume bullet to really help your resume shine. 

Communicating Results

Companies and business schools are looking for individuals that can get things done, and what better way to communicate that than through a resume. Including results in your resume will succinctly communicate why you are the right person for the job / business school and will help you continue to stand out in your application. The results don’t have to always be things you directly had a hand in but could also be secondary impacts of your work. For example, if a report you created helped senior leadership make a decision, that is a result worth including! 

Example 1:

Before - “Created 20-page financial analyses for 6 business lines on monthly basis and presented results to 5 senior executives”

After - “Created 20-page financial analyses for 6 business lines on monthly basis and presented results to 5 senior executives; analyses uncovered $10M in cost savings eventually achieved by the business”

Example 2:

Before - “Led a 4-person team to perform due diligence across 10+ focus areas on a potential $1B transaction for a $20B client”

After - “Led a 4-person team to perform due diligence across 10+ focus areas on a potential $1B transaction for a $20B client, ultimately recommended the client acquire the target for a 10% premium to stock price”

Notice that in communicating results, we still try to include metrics. This is the best way to show just how much of an impact you had! 

Displaying Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” In the professional context, emotional intelligence is critical to being successful and working effectively with others, so it is important to communicate your emotional intelligence through your resume. This can be hard to do, but let’s look at a few examples of easy ways to include. 

Example 1:

Before - “Conducted surveys to uncover $10M in revenue growth opportunities in a $1B line of business”

After - “Partnered with 10+ salespeople to understand their views on revenue growth opportunities, ultimately uncovering $10M in revenue opportunity”

Example 2:

Before - “Managed 5-person team responsible for reporting monthly financials to executive team”

After - “Developed capabilities of a 5-person team through proactively providing career development opportunities and empowering team to present monthly financial reports to 10-person executive team”

These bullets still communicate the same end impact, but also illustrate the people skills inherent in any major project or responsibility.

Andrew graduated summa cum laude with a triple major in Economics, Sociology, and Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. After he completes his MBA at Chicago Booth, he will work in McKinsey's New York office.

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