In your pursuit of acceptance to business school, you are competing against thousands of other applicants. Because you do not actually know these individuals, you may naturally assume that you need any and every edge available to stand out. As a result, you may feel compelled to provide every single detail of your life, exploiting your resume in particular to do so. We want you to maximize your opportunities, of course, but we also want to be sure you do not jeopardize your application by offering too much information.
Our experience has shown that many resumes—especially those in which every margin is thinned and every font is shrunken—provide a detrimental surplus of detail. Some become so dense with text that rather than being easily scannable, which is the ideal, they are entirely impenetrable and therefore easy to ignore. We often tell clients that “less is more,” explaining that a brief resume that will be read in full is more beneficial than a dense resume that will not get read at all. At an Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Conference, eight leading admissions officers were once asked whether they would prefer a one-page or two-page resume, and one person led all the others in declaring, “Everyone together… one page!”
Even with a one-page resume, however, you need to understand what is useful to include and what should be excluded. The answer to this riddle is different for everyone. You may consider jettisoning internships from years gone by, for example, or reducing the number of bullet points offered for past jobs. Eliminating entries for community involvements from long ago could be helpful. The agenda for your resume should be to create maximum impact, and sometimes that is achieved by using fewer words and bullet points. You may need to make tough choices, but the time and effort will be well spent if you ultimately submit a stronger resume and thereby make a more compelling statement about yourself.