Since the founding of Facebook back in 2004, social media has become an ever-present part of communication and popular culture around the world. An estimated 82 percent of Americans report having at least one social media profile and people spend an average of 145 minutes a day on the different platforms. Social media connects people, keeps them updated with the latest news, and helps to nurture relationships.
As social media has become such an important part of the culture, however, many employers have taken to using social media to better understand the candidates that have applied for jobs. Many schools do the same for admissions. Therefore, the image you put forth on social media can have a lasting impact on the job offers you receive and even the schools you are admitted to.
If you are ready to start applying to business school, you will want to think carefully about your social media usage and how it can help you stand out during MBA admissions. Not only do you want to make sure you put your best foot forward, but you also want to fully seize the opportunities offered to you by these global connection platforms. Here are ten tips that MBA students like you can use to make the best possible use of your social presence.
1. Align your social media with the persona you want to present
Since people use social media in their free time and for personal connections, it can be too easy to mentally separate how you appear on social media from the persona you want to project as a professional. Since anyone can search for you online, however, you want to make sure that any publicly connected profiles align with the persona you project on the job.
2. Go through your activity and do an audit
If you have only recently begun to think about the implications of the material you have on your profile, then you want to do a social media audit. Keep in mind this includes more that the photos you posted and the comments you made—you’ll also want to look for images or posts you were tagged in. If you do not want a potential employer or professor reading the material, then you do not want it publicly connected to you. Delete any content you do not feel 100 percent confident in having on your profile.
3. Familiarize yourself with your privacy settings
The privacy settings on your profiles should be regarded as one of the most important innovations since the invention of the social media platforms themselves. They give you the chance to control who can see what, but only if you use them. If you want to have a private side on your social media—and you are certainly entitled to that—then you want to set your privacy settings to ensure your content only appears to approved connections.
4. Take advantage of your professional networking opportunities
Social media is more than something to carefully monitor; it also provides opportunities to connect with others and build your network. Platforms like LinkedIn can make it easy to form professional connections. You can even use groups on different platforms, like Facebook, to further connect with people in your industry.
5. Use social media to build your personal brand
Social media also provides you with an opportunity to build your personal brand. Consider what it is you want employers and your school to think about you on a professional basis. You can use social media to help you project this image through the pictures you place there, the events you attend, the posts you share, and the content you produce.
6. Consider details, such as who you follow, on your public profiles
As you nurture a positive social media presence, you also want to remember to look at the details. Part of having a professional profile means considering the types of people you follow or the groups you are in. Profiles available to the public that your employers can see should be restricted to professional or otherwise neutral groups and influencers.
7. Use social media to help support your resume
Social media, properly used, can also help to bolster your resume. For example, on LinkedIn, you can ask people to leave you reviews. You can also leave reviews for others. These interactions demonstrate your professional personality. Potential employers can see what others you have worked with think about you. Make sure your profile used for professional purposes also fully reflects what you say on your resume. Past employment, education, and related accomplishments should be consistent. Use resources like LinkedIn to further explore your roles at the different jobs and how they helped to formulate your professional capabilities.
8. See how social media can help you stay updated on important events
Social media can help you stay up to date on important events, particularly when they impact your industry. Keeping yourself connected with others in the industry can help you know quickly if something important happens and allow you to further support your personal brand as an engaged professional.
9. Use your profiles as a chance to interact with leaders in your field
Social media offers professionals today incredible opportunities to connect with important business leaders in ways that they could not in the past. You can follow experts and recognized influencers in your field on social media for updates on their thoughts and insights immediately.
10. Employ social media to learn about your school and employers
Remember also that you can use social media yourself to remain updated on the people at the schools and jobs where you will be interviewed. It’s become common for schools and employers to look at candidates on social media to get a better feel for them before beginning the interview. You can do the same—you can research the people who will interview you for a school or job placement to learn more about the person with whom you will speak.
In this way, you can get a better feel for their interests and background, the jobs they held before this current position, and maybe a bit of their personality before the conversation. This can help you feel more prepared and have an easier time engaging in a productive conversation, helping you make a better first impression.
As you prepare to enter your MBA program, you will want to think carefully about your social media presence. Given the prevalence of social media in today’s world, it is no wonder that many employers and admissions offices alike search out the profiles of their candidates. Taking the time to make sure that your public profiles reflect well on you and your goals for your career can help you make a great first impression. Social media can also help you prepare for the world of business management.
Start Your MBA Program Right
When you are ready to start your MBA application, look for a school that you know will provide you with the rigorous, engaging experience needed to excel in business.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s MBA programs offers an incredible experience for students. Our engaging classes and rigorous curriculum will help you prepare for a long-lasting career in business. If you are ready to take that next step and begin to seize your future, explore if our program will work well for you or request more information.