When Kaplan polled 150 business school admissions departments last fall, more than a third said they have visited applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them when making admissions decisions.
Among admissions officers who visit applicants’ social media footprints, half said they found something that negatively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances — more than triple the 14 percent who reported this when surveyed on the subject in 2011. Both of those percentages will surely go up.
We’ve talked about cleaning up your online presence before, and today we’re sharing a few specific tips you can use to enhance your LinkedIn profile to further support your MBA candidacy. Having a LinkedIn profile that shows your unique personality and presents your professional/life experiences in a compelling way can help sway an on-the-fence adcomm member in your favor.
Tip 1. Use LinkedIn to differentiate yourself. Your profile should highlight your leadership, noteworthy accomplishments, as well as present a full picture of your interests, passions and career goals that complements what’s already in your application or provides even more insight to the reader. An MBA interviewer may look over your profile to get a better sense of your personality before the meeting, so this is the place to start the process of winning over your audience.
In the headline, be specific about your professional role but also think about whether you can provide a broader picture of yourself in this prime piece of real estate. For example, you may work as a staff consultant at Bain & Company or as an analyst at Goldman Sachs, but if you’ve also created some type of non-profit organization—our client Ali co-founded one helping girls in the Middle East obtain educational opportunities—listing that additional position in your headline will set you apart from the typical analyst in the applicant pool.
Tip 2. Quantify your achievements. Admissions committees like to see results, so try to quantify results in dollar amounts or percentages whenever possible within the body of your profile just as you would in your MBA-tailored resume. It is much more powerful to write that you “created a marketing plan that resulted in a 30 percent increase in leads,” as opposed to noting that you simply “created a marketing plan.”
Managing a staff is interesting, but the fact that you managed a staff of over 30 employees and improved profitability by 25%, is something a reader can understand. By giving the reader a number, you give them the chance to see just what kind of leader you were, and will be.
Tip 3. Your LinkedIn “Interests” should match and support your candidacy. If your application touches on your keen interest in renewable energy, micro investing in India, or Silicon Valley startups, this section should show that you’re following influencers or organizations in those industries. This consistency reinforces the narrative within your application and lends credibility to your stated interests and passions.
Tip 4. Make sure career and education information is consistent with your MBA application. This sounds obvious, but our memories can get fuzzy and small discrepancies are actually pretty common. Cross-check your education, employer names, and dates to ensure all are in the proper order. Consistency between your LinkedIn profile and MBA application is key.
If the person reviewing your application spots inconsistencies compared to the data form, you’re inviting additional scrutiny and potentially raising a red flag that puts other aspects of your application under the microscope.
LinkedIn is an incredible tool for MBA applicants, and a smart way to bolster your candidacy while providing a fuller, multi-dimensional view of yourself to the admissions committee as well as future recruiters. Isn’t it time you revisited your profile to make sure it’s MBA-ready?
Whether you need to professionalize an existing profile or develop a presence on an entirely new platform, SBC can provide informed direction on which steps to take. For a b-school applicant, proper management of social media channels can also help you expand the scope of your application without infringing on limited essay word counts.
Learn more about the SBC Social Media Strategy Review, and you can set yourself up for a lifetime of online social success.