Career Management

Update Your Resume - Important Steps

This step is about articulating everything you have learned from Career Leader and your meetings with family and friends into a one page brochure about you. Think of your resume as a brochure about you. Resumes are the first impression for employers. You have to highlight your accomplishments and strengths because the employer wants to hire somebody who can get the job done and do it well. Your resume represents you, so make sure it is something you are proud to showcase to everybody. 

When entering a new profession a resume must be focused on accomplishments in previous roles that can help the recruiter or hiring manager easily identify transferable skills.  This is important whether your prior work experience was paid or unpaid. Keep in mind that accomplishments are vastly different from responsibilities in that role. Responsibilities focus on what you did relative to your job description. Accomplishments, on the other hand, are what set one employee apart from a second with exactly the same job title. 

Mandatory Steps to update your resume:

  1. Transfer the information on your current resume to our one page resume template, found here. The vast majority of MBA programs use the same standard one page resume format, which MBA recruiters from major corporations tell us they prefer. MBA recruiters want to easily scan your resume to identify your strengths and match them to the positions for which they are recruiting. Most say they won’t read more than one page and value your ability to be focused and concise. The Willamette Standard Resume Format is REQUIRED for inclusion in the resume book viewed by our employers on MBAFocus.
  2. Add all of your work experiences (paid and volunteer) to your new resume. Add one sentence to each outlining the scope of your responsibilities. Then add 2-3 accomplishment statements for each position (see more tips for effective accomplishment statements below). If you’re just starting your career remember to include class projects, sports, and volunteer positions on and off campus. You might also want to add a special skill section for computer skills, languages and other items. 
  3. Change every bullet into an accomplishment format. Think PAR - Problem (or context), Action, and Result. Always use third person and incomplete sentences. Never use “I” in your resume (see the Willamette Standard Resume Format for examples.)
  4. Group your bullets into major headings such as “previous work experience’, ‘leadership experience’, or ‘education’. Headings should clearly reflect what is in each section. (See Willamette Standard Resume Format – note the most recent events are listed first.)
  5. Save this resume as your “Extended Resume”. This extended resume will be important to keep for working with your career advisor.
  6. Delete bullets until you have ONLY ONE PAGE of your most important accomplishments, and save as a separate resume document. This resume should feature the aspects of your life that you want employers to know about you and are most applicable to the job you are applying for. Name this one page version “Last Name_WUResume_Date.doc” (Example: Ursin_WUResume_7.15.2014.doc).
  7. Add your summary of qualifications at the top – 3 things that clearly articulate the highlights of your one page resume. Think: What three things do people identify as your strengths? The first one is typically “MBA (insert area of interest) Candidate with experience (or skills) in (insert top experience or skill)”. This section is especially important for students starting their career or changing careers as it allows you to frame the skills you want to use rather than having the reader guess from your previous experience. See the Willamette Standard Resume Format.
  8. You are now ready to submit the ONE PAGE VERSION of your resume. Send to Tracy at mbacareer@willamette.edu.  Your resume is due by July 28th at midnight. 

IMPORTANT: Accomplishment statements should be one or two lines long and include the following 3 elements: Context, Action, Results.

Example #1: A flight attendant may be RESPONSIBLE for delivering meals and drinks and making sure everyone is safe. However, an ACCOMPLISHMENT for a flight attendant might have been: “Received 15 written compliments from guests on Flight 345 for helping to keep guests calm during a horrendous electrical storm”.

In the example above, “Received 15 written compliments from guests” is the RESULT. The ACTION was “for helping to keep guests calm” and the CONTEXT was “during a horrendous electrical storm”

Example #2: A red cross volunteer may be RESPONSIBLE for making sure a doctor has all the equipment s/he needs to deliver patient care. However, and ACCOMPLISHMENT of that volunteer may have been: “Assembled and delivered 35 surgical trays per day increasing availability of equipment for doctors by 20%”

Career Changers: Think about your past performance reviews. What did you do to add value to the organization last year? Try to think of 2-3 accomplishment statements per year of employment or per position.