You’ve probably heard the Zen koan “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Apply this riddle to your career. If you did an amazing job designing a spreadsheet, conducted a slew of really effective and valuable customer interviews, or spent extra time learning a new technology to inform your team’s recommendations, great! Hard work is critical to success. But if no one knows that you did those things, they will not help advance your career. Consider taking these steps before getting your MBA:
- Upgrade your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect the demands of your target industry and firms.
- Assemble a template cover letter that you can customize when applying for summer internships.
- Plan out the specific stories you will tell people in your target firms about your relevant experiences and why you want to work in their industry and firm.
- Create solid responses to requests such as “Walk me through your resume” and “Tell me about yourself” to introduce yourself during networking events and interviews.
To even apply for your target internships, you will need a compelling resume that fits your target industry and highlights your core accomplishments and results, not—as most people think—your past responsibilities. Just because your resume gained you admission to a top MBA program, do not assume it will differentiate you from your highly accomplished peer set in MBA internship applications. Although your school will provide some support as you seek to refine your resume, most people find that this guidance is too little, too late at a time when they are already swamped with other activities. Therefore, take some time now to dig deeper into your accomplishments so that your resume, your cover letter, and your LinkedIn profile truly highlight where you have excelled in your career and made a meaningful impact on the bottom line of your company or your clients.