- LinkedIn is the first place most employers or recruiters look to get more information about students.
- You can use LinkedIn even while still in high school to make connections and stay up-to-date with companies that interest you.
- LinkedIn works like an evolving résumé, allowing you to showcase your skills and experience.
You’ve probably heard that LinkedIn is a valuable tool for networking and finding a new job, but did you know that you can use it to get a leg up on your future career, even while you’re still in high school? There are more than 500 million LinkedIn users, and over 40 million of those are students or recent graduates (with the minimum required user age being 14). Put in a little effort to stand out from the crowd, and it might just help you score the internship or entry role of your dreams in the not-so-distant future.
How to use LinkedIn as a high school student
“LinkedIn allows [you to build connections and start a résumé] even at a young age,” says Peter, a senior in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Not only can you casually stalk the profiles of people who have your dream job, you can also see what kind of degree or training helped them land their role. This can help you decide what kind of program to apply for after high school. You can also follow companies that offer your dream job so you’ll be the first to know about internship or job postings down the line.
“LinkedIn lets you build connections with others who are pursuing a career path in a similar field of interest,” says Rayna, a senior in California.
As a high school student, you can use LinkedIn to:
- Show colleges and potential employers the career path you’re interested in.
- Find and apply to job postings.
- Network with employers, teachers, professionals, and personal contacts.
- Showcase your skills and personality, including any extracurricular activities you’re involved with (a sports team, volunteer committee, music or theater group, etc.). Even if you don’t have any job experience, your hard work and talent can impress future employers.
LinkedIn works like an evolving résumé. It allows you to show off your skills in an in-depth way. And it’s worth updating your profile regularly: “LinkedIn is the first place most employers or recruiters will look to get more information about students,” says Allison Cheston, a career development and advancement advisor in New York City.
✓ 9 tips to make LinkedIn work for you
- Start by uploading a profile pic. It doesn’t have to be super professional, but keep it well lit, close-up, and in front of a neutral background.
- Create a headline to sum up who you are and what you’re after. For example: “Aspiring writer and animal lover.”
- Write a brief summary about yourself, your interests, and your goals.
- List any work or volunteer experience you may have, and your achievements. For example: captain of the soccer team, photographer for the school newspaper, employee of the month.
- Add pictures or videos of your work/activities and link to anything you’ve had published online (your soccer blog, for example).
- Get and make endorsements and recommendations. Ask teachers, employers, or friends to write recommendations about what it’s like to work with you (in class, at a job, on projects). You can also endorse your contacts for their skills and hope they’ll endorse you in return.
- Follow companies, colleges, and universities you’re interested in so you can get updates about openings and events.
- Follow up on in-person meetings with a LinkedIn request. Did you meet with a college admissions counselor or have an internship interview? Send them a LinkedIn request—then they’ll know you’re serious about making a connection and it’ll help you show off your accolades.
- Just to be safe, always tell a parent if you’re planning to meet a LinkedIn connection in person for an interview or mentorship.
Allison Cheston, career development and advancement advisor, New York City, New York.
LinkedIn. (2019). About LinkedIn: Statistics. Retrieved from https://news.linkedin.com/about-us#statistics
LinkedIn. (2019). LinkedIn profile checklist. Retrieved from https://university.linkedin.com/content/dam/university/global/en_US/site/pdf/LinkedIn%20Profile%20Checklist%20-%20High%20School%20Students.pdf