Often a forgotten part of the MBA application process, updating your social media pages can make or break your application. According to Kaplan’s Test Prep, the number of business schools checking social media profiles to assist with admission decisions is on the rise. With the rise of more professional platforms, such as LinkedIn, it’s time to start seeing your profile as an extension of your application.
- First impressions matter – It might be obvious, but make sure that your profile picture is professional. Chose a photograph that is recent, you are dressed semi-formally and doesn’t have a busy background. A big, warm smile will make you look approachable and friendly. Make sure that your face fills most of the frame. Now is not the time for sweeping landscapes and family photos with the kids. Many photographers will offer professional headshot photoshoots but are not necessary, a good quality photo on a camera or phone will work fine.
- Add a propelling headline – This is the second thing that visitors to your profile will see after your photograph. The key is to make it stand out whilst also using popular keywords. Take the time to think of how you would like to be portrayed, think of it as a 120 character summary of what you have to offer. Tailor it to your audience, in your case, admission officers.
- Show likeness to your resume – Your LinkedIn profile should enhance your resume, not contradict it. Make sure the dates and titles are the same. If you want to include details or positions that you weren’t able to fit onto your resume, LinkedIn is the perfect vehicle for that.
- Be careful with extracurricular activities – Whilst your affinity for playing the harp or your side job as a high school football coach might make your profile interesting, be careful when highlighting these things. You want to prove to the school that you are worthy of one of their precious spots. Make sure that your aspirations are in line with those that an MBA will give you. You don’t want to miss out on an acceptance because the officer thinks that it’s your lifelong dream to coach high school football and an MBA will be wasted on you.
- When it comes to connections, the more the merrier – A small number of connections (less than 200) might be a red flag for an admissions officer. It shows that you are not good at creating a strong network. Send invites to former colleagues and classmates, mentors, and bosses. Send them to people who already work in the industry you want to be in and alumni from your desired school.
- Ask for recommendations – At the bottom of each LinkedIn profile is a section for recommendations and one for skills and endorsements. These are far less formal than an official letter of recommendation but can enhance your profile greatly. There is only so much you can say about yourself. A message confirming that you’re “driven and enthusiastic” or a “great team player” can confirm to admissions officers that you’re worthy of a spot. Remember to give recommendations as well.