Five-Steps to Improving Your LinkedIn Profile Before Applying to B-School
Many applicants continue to underestimate the importance of social networks in their MBA admissions process. Much like a company’s social media presence helps establish and reinforce their brand, correctly using social networks also provides a stage to showcase your own personal brand.
The major social networks have distinct traits and benefits to using them, and curating an appropriate presence can prove beneficial to the admissions process. LinkedIn is only one of those networking platforms. In fact, many institutions use their alumni as the first line vetting tool. It is human nature to be curious, so the alumni will “google” you to get to know you before the call, so a top-notch personal brand on LinkedIn is vital.
Why is personal brand crucial to the admission process?
First, consider the work on the psychology of judgment and decision making by renowned behavioral psychologists and Nobel laureates, Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler. Their research shows that human beings are prone to cognitive biases that affect decision making. Awareness of these heuristics is vital to making better decisions. Since human beings, admission officers included, are inclined to categorize in the decision-making process unconsciously, having a succinct brand is the most critical defense against these biases.
Second, consider the volume of applicants being screened and evaluated by alumni and admissions officers. Your LinkedIn profile is a unique opportunity to show the character and values that add color to your MBA application. The LinkedIn profile combined with a well-crafted network can be particularly important if you are seeking admission to top-tier B-Schools.; it indicates an added level of polish and seriousness to your career development.
Follow these five (5) simple guidelines to immediately impact and improve your LinkedIn profile:
1) Photo – A professional photo with a neutral background creates a favorable first impression. Not having a photo is considered unprofessional, where you may be categorized as having something to hide. Also, avoid unnecessary filters, black and white photos, any background distractions, or over personalization. A warm, inviting photo with your best smile works best!
2) Headline - Your headline is visible in search results and should speak to your strengths and ambitions. Short, succinct, and confident statement of purpose is ideal.
3) Summary – This is potentially your most important content on LinkedIn. The summary should speak to any specialization, key work experience, and core beliefs that are critical to you and your endeavors. The summary is best in 1st person, and should provide a holistic overview and speak to non-academic and non-business interests. Display your personality!
4) URL – LinkedIn provides the opportunity for members to customize their URL. Having a customized LinkedIn URL shows attention to detail and can be an important differentiator from other LinkedIn profiles and other candidate submissions.
5) Network – Professionalize your network and curate your contacts. Request that your network recommend you, adding another layer of differentiation.
Applying for an MBA in the near future? Connect with us for a free consultation with our founder, Susan Berishaj, a graduate of NYU and Yale, respectively.
About Sia Admissions:
Sia Admissions Consulting is a boutique firm based in New York City. We specialize in coaching students of diverse background navigate university admissions process. Our goal is to partner with students to help them characterize and reflect their individuality in all areas of the admissions application.
At Sia, we firmly believe that “one-size” does not fit all—each student has his or her story that, if communicated properly, a university admissions committee is eager to hear; therefore, we coach each student in originally telling his or her story. Our partnership with each student consists of – (i) recognizing the student’s story by asking poignant questions which help us (ii) identify the quintessence of his or her strengths and aspirations, so we may (iii) build an idiosyncratic strategy that helps the student distinctively present his or her story. Our aim is to coach student in showcasing a unique application that communicates their individuality as an ideal candidate for the field and institution of choice.