University Brands Experiment
In this study we explored how University brand may impact initial contacts on LinkedIn, focusing on higher cost (“brand”) versus lower cost (“non-brand”) public Universities. To explore this question, we applied to nearly 150 jobs on LinkedIn with two different resumes (one “strong” and one “weak”). The strong resume was defined as having leadership qualities whereas the “weak” resume was a decidedly more casual, lacking leadership credentials. We could not reject the null hypothesis that all schools have the same opportunity of being contacted by potential employers. Our 2x2 experimental design, however, did allow us to glean that lower-cost (and lower-ranked) schools may be buoyed by a strong leadership resume. While the reverse also seems to be true — higher cost schools perform better with a “weaker” resume — it is unclear whether this is due to a truly “weak” resume or another omitted variable. It is a promising indicator that employers are open to students from lower cost (and lower ranked) schools, especially when these students make a strong case for themselves.