You know LinkedIn. It’s that social network you meticulously maintain but never look at, unless you’re applying for an internship or get an email because someone endorsed you. It’s the most useful and least fun way to spend your time on social media.
In a new, potentially trend-setting redesign, Cornell University’s graduate school of business management allows applicants to fill in most application information automatically. All the applicant needs to do is connect to his or her LinkedIn profile.
Ann Richards, the school’s interim director of admissions, says its about simplicity, about “less duplication of information.” That’s admirable. It’s true that a good portion of the work in applications is simple repetition. Whether you’re trying to get into a job or a college, you’ll probably write your name, your address, an outline of your academic and career history over and over again a hundred times. The worst offenders are those businesses (and schools) that make you fill out all this information into one of their custom forms. You already have all this information in your resume!
That’s the appeal of using a LinkedIn profile as an application. It skips over the repetitive hoops and cuts right to the essay, the part where applicants really have the chance to shine.
Jobs and schools are already looking on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and wherever else for background information on their candidates. (If you think they aren’t, you’re kidding yourself.) Why not make those profiles a part of the application process?