The Isenberg Resume: A How-To Guide for MBAs and Career Transitioners

The Isenberg Resume: A How-To Guide for MBAs and Career Transitioners

Your story and your internship or job candidacy begin with your resume. This guide describes how to think about, draft, and design an Isenberg-branded resume that tells your story in bold, confident language and compelling detail. Producing your Isenberg resume is an essential part of your career toolkit. Read on for details, and congratulations for taking this important first step!

Step 1: Start with Headings, Contact Info, and Education

Heading and Contact Information 

  • Your resume’s heading should include your full name (bolded and 1-2 point  sizes larger than the rest of the content in this section), one phone number, one email address, and a customized LinkedIn URL
  • Ensure that all information in this section is visually balanced

Visit our resume page for blogs, resources, guides, and LinkedIn Learning courses to help you get started!

Education 

  • At the top of your resume, list both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Isenberg School of Management, along with your month and year of expected degree completion
  • Cite your GPA if it’s 3.0 or higher or academic honors you’ve earned

Step 2: Craft Your Experience Section

What is an experience section?

Your experience section should list in reverse chronological order all your work experience, including paid or unpaid internships. Also include job titles, work locations, and dates of service. Make sure to cite these items for every entry in this section.

Use detailed bulleted descriptions to highlight your most relevant skills and emphasize the contributions you made to the organization, not merely the tasks you performed. Bullets should lead with strong action verbs. Use the present tense for current accomplishments and the past tense for completed accomplishments. However, you may use the past tense to describe completed assignments or projects in a current role.

WHO Bullets

Your experiences and activities should be expressed with descriptive bullets that employ the WHO method. WHO bullets reflect:

  • W = WHAT did you do? This refers to the specific action or task you performed. It outlines the core responsibility or activity undertaken.
  • H = HOW did you do it? This describes the approach or method you used to accomplish the task mentioned in the “What” component. Provide insight into your thought process and strategy by including specific skills, competencies, software/platforms, or technologies used to complete your task.
  • O = OUTCOME of the work. This indicates the results or impact of your actions. It quantifies or qualifies the success or effectiveness of your efforts, demonstrating their contributions and achievements.

3 Ways to Improve Your Bullet Points

Answer: Add projects from classes, experience from internships, or changing responsibilities in a current job that showcase your new skills and abilities. You can also list new knowledge, interests, and skills you’ve developed in classes, student clubs, and other opportunities you’ve gained through your experience as an MBA student.

Step 3: List Relevant Projects, Leadership, Skills

Projects

Incorporating project experience into your resume demonstrates your practical application of technical skills and knowledge. This showcases your ability to work effectively in real-world scenarios, solving problems, meeting deadlines, and collaborating with others. It provides concrete evidence of your accomplishments, highlighting your contributions and impact. Project experience can include academic and program-specific projects, research projects, and relevant independent projects.

Leadership Involvement & Associations

Discuss with a career coach whether adding Leadership Involvement is necessary to include as it relates to your program and career interests. If so, cite your extracurricular involvement including clubs, professional or industry associations, sports, volunteerism, community, and civic engagements, along with your titles, and dates of service. However, if you already listed the organization or activity elsewhere, don’t repeat that information here.

Again, use bullets to call attention to transferrable knowledge and skills not addressed elsewhere and be sure to note any leadership positions held.

Activities

Cite your extracurricular activities including clubs, sports, volunteerism, community, and civic engagements, along with your titles, and dates of service. However, if you already listed the organization or activity elsewhere, don’t repeat that information here.

Again, use bullets to call attention to transferrable knowledge and skills not addressed elsewhere and be sure to note any leadership positions held.

Consider bolstering new knowledge and skills through additional short-term courses and real, short-term, virtual work experiences available on IConnect.

Skills

This section is for computer and language skills only. Don’t list skills such as communication, collaboration, or customer service. Those are best reflected in your SMART bullets.

Include technical, software, programming, licenses, and certifications. Be sure to indicate if you are highly proficient in one type of software (especially if it’s relevant to the position).

Proficiency or fluency in a second language is highly desirable. Make sure to indicate your level of proficiency (e.g., conversational, proficient, fluent).

Cite any specific certifications provided by a reputable institution, board, or professional organization, such as LEAN Six Sigma Blackbelt training, project management, SCM certification, and licensures.

Answer: Rather than include them in a Skills section, weave softer skills into more developed bullets under your experience. Create SMART bullets that include the transferable skills (e.g., leadership, time management, communication) that you’ve learned and practiced in previous roles. In short, follow the old adage to show, not tell.

Step 4: Polish Your Resume with Formatting

Isenberg employers have worked with the school to develop a resume organization and format that delivers the most important information as directly and efficiently as possible.

A professionally formatted resume makes the content easy to skim and understand – an essential feature for readers, who typically spend about 5-6 seconds reviewing your resume before deciding if they want to read more. It is also important to note that a plain text format adheres to standards set for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and ensure your resume is not filtered out.

Formatting Guidelines

ItemComment
Margins1.0″ is standard but you may reduce to 0.5″ as needed
SpacingBe consistent before/after headings, job entries, dashes, and periods
FontsUse just one: Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, or Tahoma
Point Size10-12 point main text is standard; headings may be slightly larger
DashesBe consistent: “—” vs. “–” (note: “-” is a hyphen, not a dash)
BulletsRound bullets are best; do not use sub-bullets
StylesUse bold, italics, underline, ALL CAPS to create a sense of visual hierarchy
File TypeSave your resume as a PDF to lock in formatting before submitting it

Typos, Errors, and Inconsistencies

Your resume must be error-free. Readers generally have many resumes to review. Often these are from candidates who’ve taken similar classes, held similar positions, and have similar qualifications. One way resume readers decide between candidates is by looking at the production value of the resume itself.

If your resume contains typos, errors, or inconsistencies, it may indicate carelessness, lack of focus, or insufficient effort as a candidate. Review both the content and formatting of your resume carefully in order to reduce the risk of rejection.

ATS- How to format for Applicant Tracking Systems

The applicant tracking system (ATS) is a unique type of software utilized by large organizations to streamline and assist in the recruitment process. Resume-reading robots scan your documents to determine whether you have the key skills for the position.

Tips for Outsmarting an ATS

Simple Headers: While resumes should include some personal touches, headers are not the place to do it. Use straightforward terms such as “Education,” “Work History,” “Professional Experience,” or “Job Skills.”

Clean Format: Take care to make the format and layout of your resume simple in order to prevent any errors or miscommunication. Do not include graphics, which are not processed in the same way as text.

Keywords/Phrases: ATS software will not take into account all the words in your resume, so try your best to anticipate what the software is looking for. Include occupation-related phrases such as “leading a team” or “profit and loss”

Industry-Specific Jargon: Using relevant industry language can also give your resume an edge over the competition. This jargon can give you the appearance of professional experience and familiarity with the job’s requirements.

Appendix: Additional Resources and Resume Samples

Writing WHO Bullets Exercise

Writing impactful bullets starts with thinking about the value and impact of your experiences. Consider how your experiences align specifically with the position to which you are applying and how you have demonstrated transferable skills that will deliver results in this new position.

The WHO Bullets Exercise will help you capture key information, skills, and outcomes from your experiences. Click on each step below for more detailed guidance to help you draft your bullets.

Your first step is to consider your recent experiences (jobs, internships, volunteering, club or organization involvement, project work, study abroad, research, fellowship, job shadow, etc.). Within each experience, list the individual tasks and responsibilities. Consider the responsibilities that are most relevant to the internship or job you are applying.

Example:

If you have work experience as a Sandwich Artist, you may have baked bread, prepared vegetables and meats, cleaned floors and refrigerator cases, interacted with customers and facilitated payments. If applying for a finance related role, you’ll want to focus specifically on more relevant customer service, sales, and finance related tasks. A refined list may include:

Your next step is to describe how you performed your tasks. You can provide additional context for the environment or volume of work. Make sure to include specific skills and/or software, platforms, or technologies you used to complete your tasks. Job descriptions often include desired qualifications and skills: highlighting those specific skills, as able, will show why you are uniquely qualified. Search the job description for job/industry terminology and other keywords too.

The following questions can help you to provide more specific details about your responsibilities and skills:

  • What were you specifically doing, and why were you doing it?
  • What relevant skills were you using to perform your task?
  • Did you use any specific software, platform, or technology, and how?
  • Did you resolve any problems? How would you describe the problem(s) and your actions?
  • Did you engage with customers, clients, team members?
  • Did you receive recognition or awards?
  • Did you lead a project or take initiative on your own?
  • Did you train or supervise anyone?
  • Did you perform research? Provide recommendations? Produce a report or presentation?
  • Were you involved in decision-making?
  • Were you given additional responsibilities?
  • What were the results and how did you deliver impact?

The final step is to determine measurable results that will showcase your contributions and positive impact. Outcomes should describe what change resulted from your specific execution of the task and should be quantified as able.

Describe the type of change and the measured result that you delivered:

Action Verb Bank

Using clear and descriptive actions verbs is essential to crafting bullets that effectively showcase your skills and experiences. Be sure that you’re using a variety of verbs without repeating too often. Utilize the same or similar action verbs in your resume that you see listed in the description of the internship or job to which you are applying. Click on each of the categories below to find action verbs that are relevant to your experiences and career goals.

Administered
Assigned
Analyzed
Appointed
Approved
Assigned
Attained
Authorized
Chaired
Considered
Contracted
Consolidated
Controlled
Converted
Coordinated
Decided
Delegated
Developed
Directed
Eliminated
Emphasized
Enforced
Enhanced
Established
Executed
Generated
Handled
Headed
Hired
Hosted
Implemented
Improved
Incorporated
Increased
Initiated
Inspected
Instituted
Led
Managed
Merged
Motivated
Navigated
Operated
Organized
Originated
Overhauled
Oversaw
Participated
Persuaded
Planned
Presided
Prioritized
Promoted
Publicized
Recommended
Recruited
Reorganized
Replaced
Restored
Reviewed
Scheduled
Secured
Selected
Streamlined
Strengthened
Supervised
Terminated

Appointed
Chaired
Clarified
Coached
Conceived
Conceptualized
Convinced
Created
Delegated
Designed
Developed
Directed
Empowered
Energized
Envisioned
Established
Executed
Expanded
Founded
Ignited
Influenced
Initiated
Innovated
Inspired
Introduced
Invented
Mentored
Modernized
Motivated
Optimized
Pioneered
Planned
Revolutionized
Spearheaded
Sponsored
Stimulated
Strengthened
Transformed

Adjusted
Administered
Allocated
Analyzed
Appraised
Assessed
Audited
Balanced
Budgeted
Calculated
Computed
Conserved
Corrected
Determined
Developed
Estimated
Forecasted
Managed
Marketed
Measured
Netted
Planned
Prepared
Produced
Programmed
Projected
Qualified
Reconciled
Reduced
Researched

Clarified
Decided
Evaluated
Investigated
Recommended
Resolved
Solved
Surveyed

Administered
Developed
Directed
Generated
Improved
Increased
Initiated
Reduced

Adapted
Advised
Clarified
Coached
Communicated
Conducted
Coordinated
Critiqued
Developed
Enabled
Encouraged
Evaluated
Explained
Facilitated
Focused
Guided
Individualized
Informed
Initiated
Instilled
Instructed
Motivated
Persuaded
Set goals
Simulated
Stimulated
Taught
Tested
Trained
Transmitted

Accomplished
Achieved
Administered
Applied
Approved
Arranged
Arranged
Assigned
Attained
Catalogued
Categorized
Charted
Classified
Coded
Collaborated
Collected
Communicated
Compiled
Consolidated
Controlled
Coordinated
Corrected
Corresponded
Cultivated
Delegated
Demonstrated
Dispatched
Distributed
Encouraged
Ensured
Executed
Expanded
Facilitated
Filed
Formalized
Generated
Guided
Handled
Implemented
Incorporated
Inspected
Integrated
Launched
Logged
Maintained
Monitored
Obtained
Operated
Orchestrated
Ordered
Organized
Overhauled
Persuaded
Planned
Prepared
Prioritized
Processed
Provided
Purchased
Recorded
Registered
Reserved
Reshaped
Responded
Retrieved
Reviewed
Revitalized
Routed
Scheduled
Screened
Secured
Specified
Standardized
Streamlined
Submitted
Supplied
Surpassed
Synchronized
Systematized
Tabulated
Targeted
Transformed
Updated
Upgraded
Validated

Applied
Assembled
Built
Calculated
Computed
Conserved
Constructed
Converted
Debugged
Designed
Determined
Devised
Developed
Engineered
Fabricated
Fortified
Installed
Maintained
Operated
Overhauled
Printed
Programmed
Reconciled
Rectified
Regulated
Remodeled
Repaired
Replaced
Restored
Solved
Specialized
Standardized
Trained
Translated
Upgraded
Utilized

Adapted
Advised
Assisted
Communicated
Explained
Facilitated
Informed
Instructed

Analyzed
Clarified
Collected
Compared
Conducted
Critiqued
Detected
Determined
Diagnosed
Evaluated
Examined
Experimented
Explored
Extracted
Formulated
Gathered
Identified
Inspected
Interpreted
Interviewed
Invented
Investigated
Located
Measured
Organized
Researched
Reviewed
Searched
Solved
Studied
Summarized
Surveyed
Systematized
Tested

Accelerated
Advanced
Advised
Amplified
Augmented
Capitalized
Charted
Conducted
Constructed
Consulted
Demonstrated
Earned
Enforced
Enriched
Exceeded
Expedited
Fashioned
Fostered
Generated
Identified
Installed
Interfaced
Negotiated
Operated
Originated
Performed
Produced
Promoted
Reinforced
Rescued
Revamped
Safeguarded
Supplemented
Synthesized
Trained
Transformed
Translated
Tutored
Volunteered

Associations, Certifications, and Software

Functional AreaProfessional OrganizationsCertifications/LicensureSoftware/Tech
Accounting• American Accounting Association 
• American Institute of Certified Public  Accountants (AICPA)  
• Association of Latino Professionals for  America (ALPFA)  
• American Payroll Association (APA)
• Institute of Management Accountants  (IMA) 
• National Association of Black  
Accountants  
• National Association of Professional  Accountants (NAPA) 
• National Society of Accountants (NSA)
• CFSA
• CFE
• CISA
• CMA
• CPA
• ACCUCert
• Embarcadero Delphi
• MS Dynamics
• NetSuite
• PeopleSoft
• Quickbooks
• Sage 50cloud
• SAP
Finance• American Finance Association (AFA)
• Association of Finance Professionals  (AFP)  
• Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst  (CAIA) 
• CMT Association. 
• Financial Planning Association (FPA)  o Institute of Financial Operations (IFO)  • Security Traders Association (STA) 
• Society of Financial Service Professionals  (FSP)
• Bloomberg Certified
(4 parts completed)
• CFP/CFA (level 1)
• NASD Registration
• Series 6/7
• Trade Tools Financial
• Bloomberg
• MS BCM
• MS Excel
• Netsuite
• Sage
• SAP
• STATA
Management• American Management Association  (AMA) 
• American Production and Inventory  Control Society (APICS) 
• DECA 
• Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) 
• Production and Operations Management  Society (POMS)
• SHRM Certification
• Six Sigma (color of belt,
e.g., Green Belt)
• PMP Certification
• Delphi
• NetSuite
• Sage
• Salesforce
• SAP
Marketing• American Marketing Association (AMA)• Google AdWords
• Hubspot Inbound
• Adobe Acrobat, InDesign,
Illustrator, Photoshop
• Buffer
• Google AdWords
• Google Analytics
• Hootsuite
• HTML, CSS
• HubSpot
• MailChimp
• Piktochart
• SalesForce
OIM• Council of Supply Chain Management
(CSCM)
• Institute for Operations Research and
the Management Sciences (INFORMS)
• American Production and Inventory  Control Society (APICS) 
• Production and Operations Management  Society (POMS)
• APICS S&OP Certification
• APICS RMC (Indicate level,
e.g., RMC1, RMC4, etc.)
• SAP, SAP ERP, SAP SCM
• Microsoft Access
• Microsoft Excel
• Tableau
• Minitab
• C++
• Java
• SQL
Sport Management• Association of Diversity in Sport (ADS)
• North American Society for Sports  Management  
(NASSM) 
• Sports Marketing Association (SMA)  National  
• Association of Collegiate Directors of  Athletics  
(NACDP) 
• Women in Sport Management (WISM)
• Google AdWords
• Google Analytics
• Adobe After Effects
• Adobe Photoshop
• Archtics
• CRM: DigiDeck, Salesforce
• Dartfish
• Nacsport
• Performa Sports
• Python
• R
• Tableau
Human Resources• Society for Human Resource  
Management (SHRM)
• HRCI 
• SHRM 
• HRIP 
• AIHR 
• CHRP
• MS Office
• Tableau
Sustainability• GreenBiz 
• Sustainable Brands 
• International Society of Sustainability  Professionals (ISSP) 
• Net Impact 
• Certified Climate Change Professionals (CC-P)
• GRI Certification 
• SASB  
• CDP Climate Change Survey Certification
• Integrated Reporting (IR)  
Certificate
• ESG Reporting Tools 
• Carbon Footprint Tools 
• Blockchain

Customizing Your Resume for Specific Job Posting

How to Beat the ATS

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are used by recruiters and employers to track a candidate’s job application throughout the recruiting and hiring process, making it easy for businesses of any size to filter, manage, and analyze potential candidates. Learn how to ensure your resume is successfully received and processed by employers.

Samples for FT MBA & Duals

Click below to preview and download sample resumes for full-time and dual MBAs that will show you the appropriate formatting, bullet point structure, and tailoring for a variety of focus areas.

*Note: ALWAYS tailor resumes to your experiences, skills, and the position/company to which you are applying.

Samples for Online MBAs & Transitioners

Click below to preview and download sample resumes for online MBAs and career transitioners that will show you the appropriate formatting, bullet point structure, and tailoring for a variety of focus areas.

*Note: ALWAYS tailor resumes to your experiences, skills, and the position/company you’re applying for.