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MBA Career Advice: Getting Personal, Part 2

In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. 

Last week, we discussed the importance of a personal section of a resume – a section which can potentially allow you to find common ground with your interviewer before you arrive in his/her office. Today, we go a little deeper and help you overcome the big mistake that candidates make in this section – stating their personal interest in incredibly vague terms. Let’s take a look at a sample personal section:

Personal

  • Traveled extensively, enjoy recreational football and baseball, avid cook and foodie

What exactly is interesting about this bullet? What enables this applicant to stand-out from any other and forge a connection with his/her interviewer? Not much.

The key to writing a strong personal section (and any section, for that matter) is getting down to details. You don’t need to write about a hobby that is wildly different. You just need to reveal that you have an inordinate passion for the hobbies that you have chosen. Let’s do a little bit better by expanding on these hobbies above:

Personal

  • Traveled to 26 countries (significant time in West Africa); five consecutive years of flag football in Central Park, eaten at 31 NYC food trucks and counting(!)

This personal section might not be your cup of tea. Remember, this is about your personality so some of the flair may not work for you. However, our point here is that by getting to the details, these somewhat common interests come alive and are thus far more significant conversation pieces in interview situations.




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