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Using Social Media to Boost Your MBA Application


Social media is the proverbial double-edged sword. For many, channels like Linkedin are a successful way to build a network, convey your credentials and establish your personal brand. YouTube and Twitter can position you as a thought leader. With Facebook, you can easily stay in touch and show off the real you.

When it comes to your career, social media can hurt you as much as it helps you. Make an off-color comment or take a controversial stand and you risk alienating people. Post a risqué photo and you can be dismissed as immature or trashy. With social media, a youthful or private faux pas can remain permanent. In the end, your social media messages are an expression of your judgment. And a momentary lapse can undermine your image and aspirations.

That doesn’t mean you become rigid, terrified of ever dropping your guard. But it does require you to think strategically, particularly if you’re looking to enroll in an MBA program. In a recent article in Entrepreneur, Cynthia Johnson, a partner and marketing director for RankLab, notes that adcoms are looking at applicants’ social media more closely. And this can be a great opportunity…if you’re judicious.

For starters, Johnson advises potential MBAs to review their privacy settings. “For Facebook,” she writes, “hide images and posts that you don’t wish to be shown. Set personal information to private and set your positive information, such as past jobs, to public.” At the same time, she encourages applicants to focus heavily on Linkedin to ensure it is clean, clear, and compelling. Even more, she points out, use a striking profile image. “First impressions are very important and the first thing anyone will look at when viewing your social media profile is your profile image.  Find a headshot that is a focused, professional and recent.  Try to take your profile image as seriously as you take your application.”

Second, Johnson urges readers to search for themselves on the internet. “Be sure that you know of anything an admissions staff member could potentially see online,” she writes. “For most of us, there won’t be many incriminating results, but we cannot know if we do not look.”

Finally, Johnson views social media as a means for applicants to make an impression on a school’s community. And that begins with following admissions people on outlets like Linkedin and Twitter. That way, you can learn about them personally (always helpful in building rapport) and gain insights into their process and expectations through their posts. This is particularly true for Linkedin University Pages, where you can also converse with alumni, staff, students, and even other applicants.

At the same time, Johnson warns readers to watch their messaging. “Remember that you are creating pages for admissions staff members and not your peers,” she writes. Think before you leave comments on posts and proofread the content on your profile page.” In other words, never forget you only get one shot to make a first impression, as the cliché goes. Too often, it is the first impression that people remember.


Source: Entrepreneur

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