Jul 15, 2021

Tuck Admissions Insights: Employment History, Common Applicant Questions

Amy Mitson

By Amy Mitson
Co-Executive Director, Admissions and Financial Aid

The Employment History section of your application allows you to demonstrate that you are accomplished. You demonstrate accomplishment through the resume, professional achievements and extracurricular involvement, the Letters of Reference, and the interview. We calibrate Employment History for the quality and quantity of your post-undergraduate experience.

Below I highlight parts of the Employment History section that prompt the most questions from applicants, and share why we ask these questions and what information we hope you will provide. This is not high-level advice on how to demonstrate our Accomplished criterion (for that, please refer to this blog post), but rather tactical guidance on what information to provide.

Description of your organization

Our team is familiar with many but not all organizations in the world. Here we are looking for a basic overview; a few sentences explaining what your firm does is sufficient. It is also okay to copy and paste a brief summary from your organization’s marketing materials or other credible sources. If you work at a large, well-known firm, please use this section to tell us more about your division.

Description of your responsibilities

We look at your resume and Letters of Reference to learn about your achievements and contributions to your organization(s). We encourage you to provide a few sentences (or bullet points) outlining your responsibilities. This is a very brief overview of your job description. Since you will probably not have enough space to list all your responsibilities, we encourage you to focus on the most critical parts of your job. You will likely find a list of your responsibilities in the job description your organization has for your role. Note that this is different than the bullet points on your resume, which should highlight achievements and accomplishments versus simply listing responsibilities.

Reason for leaving, if applicable

We want to give you ample opportunity to explain your career progression and the why behind your transitions. What led you away from one employer towards another? When you explain the thread that ties your transitions together you show us the intentionality with which you have approached your career to-date. Here we look to you to help us understand the motivations underlying changes. We encourage you to go beyond stating “Left to join company X.” but telling us why you chose to join company X.

Starting Position, Ending Position, and Other Positions Held

This is asked so that you can demonstrate professional progression with your employer(s). If you’ve had several employers, it might be difficult to list all positions on your resume. This section allows you to highlight progression by listing all positions at each employer, including intermediate positions. For example, if you’ve held three roles within an organization, list your first role for Starting Position, your second role for Other Positions Held, and your most recent role for Ending Position. 

Commonly Asked Questions about Positions:

"Should I list an internship as a Starting Position? I interned with my current employer while still completing my undergraduate degree and received and accepted a full-time offer to return."  
While we acknowledge that you may have worked while completing your degree, we are looking for evidence of your accomplishments in your post-undergraduate work experience.

"There is no change in title between my starting and ending position. Am I at a disadvantage?"
Not at all! We consider progression within a firm, but we also understand that it may take longer to formally progress with some employers or within particular industries. If that is the case for you, do not worry. We will look at whether your responsibilities, impact, and/or leadership increased over time. We will also look at salary progression.

Compensation: Starting Compensation, Ending Compensation, and Annual Bonus

Why do we ask this? Salary information demonstrates progress within a firm beyond your title. It also provides us with additional insight into your level of responsibility.

Commonly Asked Questions about Compensation:

"My work offers me a high level of responsibility but does not pay as much. Am I at a disadvantage?"
We understand that different fields have different pay scales. An applicant earning a high salary in a lucrative industry is not categorically stronger than an applicant earning a modest salary in a less lucrative role. In some cases, salary information can be helpful when we evaluate candidates from well-represented industries, employers, or geographic regions.

"I work outside of the United States and my salary is not in US Dollars. How should I report it?"
Please report both in U.S. Dollars (using a currency conversion calculator), and in your local currency. We require your salary in U.S. Dollars for reporting purposes. However, we recognize that fluctuating currency rates can cause a converted salary to inaccurately reflect your true salary progression.

My colleagues and I hope that this post provides additional clarity on why we ask certain Employment History questions. Please know that our goal is to better understand your professional progression as part of our Accomplished criterion. As you review the guidelines above, remember to be concise and confident in describing your professional experiences!