Why MBA Students Need to Build a Brand Online?
A couple of years ago, a CEO recruiter at an MBA institute told me that my HR team looks at CVs while I prefer to look at the LinkedIn profiles of candidates. As I discussed relevance of social media with more recruiters, I found that majority of the recruiters expected that candidate’s CV should include LinkedIn profile public URLs. The interactions with industry professionals made me realize that social media especially LinkedIn has become critical even at entry level jobs in corporate.
LinkedIn profile assessment has become the part of campus recruitment process for most of the companies today. If the recruiters are going through LinkedIn profiles, would it not be a good idea if the student showcases her/his blogging / microblogging / curation skills also to the prospective employer? Active presence on LinkedIn can actually help the candidates in showcasing many skills to recruiters such as:-
a) Blogging / writing skills
b) Social leadership skills
c) General awareness
d) Staying updated with latest developments
e) Structured thought process
f) Creativity and presentation skills
g) Depth of domain knowledge
h) Research & analysis skills
i) Engagement / socializing skills
j) Synthesising data & meaningful articulation
k) Emotional intelligence and empathy
In fact introverted students may display many of their strengths online, which they may not do offline. By deeper analysis of engagement on social media, the recruiter can also access other traits and soft skills like humility, sense of humour, assertiveness, curiosity, and summarizing information and so on.
As more and more recruiters understand the power of social media profiles in recruitment decisions, social media is becoming a crucial element of campus placement process. Now the next question arises, what do placement cells and faculty members of the institutes need to do to increase the odds of selection of a student in a “rejection process”.
A module on personal branding and executive presence needs to be introduced in MBA curriculum as part of business communication / self marketing. As I was invited to teach these modules by some of the leading management institutes in Delhi NCR, I realized the critical issues the students need to be trained on / sensitized to such as:-
a) How stories build brands and reputation
b) Importance of storytelling skills in LinkedIn summary etc.
c) Analysing if personal hobbies have a professional relevance
d) How to create memorable headlines and profiles
e) How to integrate your brand across social media profiles
f) Using social media as a networking tool
g) Adding multimedia to profiles
h) Converting analytics to Insights
i) Using insights to catch the right attention
j) Building a consistent and clear brand
k) Showcasing specific skills and accomplishments
l) Contribution to society / social cause
As a Blogger myself, I have experienced several benefits (by products) of writing such as increased reading habit, staying updated with new technologies and developments, increased self awareness (esp through self storytelling), developing structured thought process, enhancement of articulation skills, practicing due diligence in collecting data and so on. While presentation and creativity may be more important for marketing students, research skills and due diligence may be more useful for finance students. In fact I found the social media profiles (esp Twitter) of many students of BIMTECH quite impressive in terms of creativity, which needs validation as well as nurturing.
In the days of machine learning and AI, continuous learning (for both trainer and trainee) is not a luxury but a necessity. Training and assessment processes need to be continuously refined with experience. Digital marketing is a process of continuous hit and trial and innovation needs to be a regular exercise. As I taught these modules for a couple of years, I came up with interesting exercises for training, skill development and assessment. For example I have found that Twitter chat can be a good assessment tool and can also help provide live feedback to the learner.
As Robert Heinlein has rightly said that when one teaches, two learn.
Authored by Dr Amit Nagpal is President and Co-Founder of Bloggers Alliance. He is a teacher and practitioner of digital marketing and has special interest in digital storytelling and social media.