With LinkedIn being an online networking platform for professionals, it may seem premature for high school students to register. Void of post-secondary education and varied work experience, teens are more limited in the amount of information that can be added to their profile. However, there a wealth of information that can be added to each section and an endless supply of labour market and career planning information that can be accessed. Here is a list of tips outlining how this platform can assist with opening doors to both employment, academic, and scholarship opportunities for high school students.
- The Background Summary allow students to tell their story...to discuss their accomplishments, skills, experience, education, interests, passions, and career goals.
- They can highlight a Call to Action informing academic or employment recruiters of their interest in obtaining work, pursuing an internship, pursuing an apprenticeship, obtaining acceptance into a post-secondary program, seeking a scholarship, or options for working / studying abroad.
- In the Employment section, a student can highlight both paid, volunteer, community hours, and Cooperative Education experiences.
- Adding a thorough job description, for each type of work experience, will generate skills for their profile.
- In the Education section, there is a great opportunity to highlight awards, extra-curricular activities, job-related courses, marks and industry specific certifications such as WHMIS 2015, Four Steps to Safety, Safe Food Handler, First Aid / CPR, Lifeguard training, or Smart Serve.
- Completing the Education and Experience sections, and providing an overview of 'their story’, is only the starting point of LinkedIn. Now it is time for them to connect strategically with friends, family, coaches, teachers, mentors, current and former coworkers and supervisors. Connecting with these individuals will allow them to retain contact through their professional career and also to receive Endorsements regarding the skills they have developed.
- When putting a job title into the LinkedIn search bar, there is an abundance of industry specific information that students can use to obtain labour market information and assist with their career planning efforts. Researching People, Jobs, Content, Groups, Companies, and Schools will provide students with current, career planning information not found anywhere else online.
- The People tab highlights who is currently working in the field and provide insight into some of the keywords used in the industry, training and experience required, and relevant groups to follow.
- The Jobs tab will highlight current postings, thorough job descriptions and requirements, and allow the student to save the job for future reference.
- The Content tab will direct the student to industry-related articles that they can Like, Share, or Comment. This type of engagement is a good starting point to develop a positive and industry specific digital footprint.
- The Groups tab can provide the opportunity to learn more about the challenges, opportunities, trends and best practices related to their career goals. It will allow them to network with professionals already working in the industry, providing an opportunity to schedule informational interviews to gain more insight into job requirements and mentor recommendations.
- The Companies tab will provide relevant, industry specific news, content, and job postings that can come right into their LinkedIn Newsfeed.
- The Schools tab will provide an overview of relevant programs for their desired of study.
So while it may seem that high school students have only started their professional journey, there is no under-estimating the career planning and networking potential of this dynamic, international platform. If you are a Career Practitioner, Education professional or parent, referring a student to investigate this platform further may serve as a great introductory step to both identifying and launching their career. If you are a student, you may want to consider LinkedIn to begin creating your positive digital footprint.