We originally included this in yesterday’s post on the resume <-> essay content as part of our Resume Week series — but Sloan is different! This deserves to be discussed separately — and despite the title of this post, this is NOT specific only to Sloan! Tips for your other apps also found here.
Q: Since I want to go into details in my essay, if I include everything I’ve done in my resume, will that be a duplicate?
A: It shouldn’t be – not if the essay is doing its job! The resume should capture everything that is being presented in the essay, but only as accomplishments and ‘final state’ of the project. The essay is your chance to tell the full story. It should be obvious from the reader that it’s the same project or example but the essay should always be much more in-depth. If the bullet on the resume captures everything that can be said about the project then that may indicate it’s not big enough to warrant full presentation in the essay!
Nowhere is this more important than for MIT Sloan where they have two complementary components, the cover letter and the resume.
If you do a good job on presenting your resume for Sloan then that’s going to be a great resume to use anywhere. However, there might be reason to make some tweaks or changes to your Sloan-version resume. This is because, in this case alone the reader will be reading the cover letter FIRST. It’s an introduction to the resume. It does not need your entire career; it needs a HIGHLIGHT (or two) of the most important thing that you can share with the adcom that shows qualification and fit to MIT.
To wit, here is feedback we recently offered to a BSer on their MIT cover letter through the Essay Decimator:
This is only repeating what we’re seeing on the recent version of the resume, though – you could do more here to vary wording at minimum, or even better, use this to go deeper. Try to always give the reader new/different/more insightful content in each part of the app. OR: Consider cutting the bullet on the resume down to one line with just the essence of it, and then use the cover letter for the more expanded view of the same project.
For all other schools, you can expect that the reader will glance at the resume before they start in on the essays — but you can’t expect that they will have studied it and now know it by heart! They will skim it and get the general outline of you, as presented there — school, major, dates, jobs. Then, often, they will go to the essays and want to learn more. That’s where you pitch them — but they won’t have your full background memorized. That’s why it’s CRITICAL that the essay capture everything that the reader needs to understand your story, at the time that they need it to understand. This is one of the most common issues we see in an essay. The essay just starts off and runs with it — without any context. There is no ‘there’ there. We struggle to get oriented, we don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know who’s talking to us or what they’re talking about.
Essays need to be standalone and complete.
Everything on the essays needs to be reflected on the resume.
However, don’t rely on the resume!! Everything the reader needs to know about your background FOR THAT SPECIFIC STORY needs to be included in the essay as well.
tl;dr: The bullet on the resume should be an identifiable match to a story in an essay, but if you’re using the same exact language in both places, then you’re not taking full advantage of the individual application assets!
Pick up the SnarkStrategies MBA guide to learn more!