15-Minute Admish Tip: Master a Bullet

Well, not a real one. That would be insane.

But a resume bullet? Sure!

I’m revamping my resume yet again now that I’m headed back to school, and it made me remember the good ol’ days, when I was working on my resume for applications.


Non-Traditional Resume Tips

I don’t have a traditional resume as a freelance TV producer. Instead I have a list of credits — the shows I’ve worked on and my positions on them. Not perfect for MBA applications, so…I had a lot of work to do.

There are bunches of great resume articles and resources out there (scroll down for a few links), so I’ll focus on the work I needed to do on my resume to get it ready for application season:

  • Kill the jargon. This applies to all applicants, but I think it’s especially important coming from underrepresented industries (like entertainment!). Assume that the adcom has no experience with your industry, eliminate all jargon, and provide whatever context you need for things to make sense to a newb.
  • Find the parallels. If you come from an unusual job function (like producing!), think about what parts of your job are similar to more traditional career paths. I made a lot of comparisons to project management and client services and adopted language (see “stakeholders” below) from those fields.
  • Quantify and demonstrate impact. This also goes for all applicants, but I found it challenging at first (“What impact? We got the episode done! Isn’t that enough?”). Consider not just financial or budgetary results, but time saved or quality improved. Be sure to demonstrate impact / results in every. Single. Bullet.
  • Get to the bottom line. My admissions consultant pushed me to identify the effect that each of my actions had on the bottom line, which I did by figuring out how much we saved in wages every time I helped a team beat a deadline. It was a challenge, but I think this was invaluable — it demonstrated my impact in concrete, unquestionable terms.
  • Structure all that freelance experience. As a freelancer, I did the same job for several different companies. I didn’t have room to list them separately, so I organized my resume by job title instead. There may be other not-quite-standard ways for you to most clearly present your experience to the adcom.

My Resume Bullet Examples

Here are a few examples of bullet points from my resume before feedback, when I applied, and now.

Before:

  • Manage team of 2-7 editors and address input from various stakeholders, including network executives and executive producers, keeping process on schedule to avoid budget overages.
  • Organize career development events and showcases which have led to job offers and development deals for alumni.

After:

  • Managed 7 editors on Parents and Weave Trip, supervising episode content and addressing network executives’ input on episode cuts, keeping post-production on schedule to avoid overages costing up to $4.5K a day.
  • Produced 4 LA|NU Showcases highlighting 133 alumni, leading to a development deal with NBC; organized annual small-group mentorship program since 2009; offered 63 groups that served over 575 alumni.

Now:

  • Led a team of seven editors, assigning content based on each editor’s strengths, style, and pace to deliver episodes within a condensed four-week edit schedule, instead of a standard six-week schedule.
  • Managed a board of sixteen volunteers and organized 63 mentorship groups that served over 575 alumni as Co-President, Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance West.

Resume Resources

Here are some links that might help with broader resume writing tips and technique:

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

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