As a high school student, it might feel too early to set up a LinkedIn account. After all, LinkedIn is primarily for adults and people who have already begun their careers, right? Well, it might actually be a good idea for you to set up a LinkedIn account already at this stage in your life, read on to learn why.
Start with your alumni network
One of the key reasons to be on LinkedIn is to grow and maintain your network. You never know when a connection to a certain person might come in handy. Therefore, make sure you connect with your teachers, peers, mentors, family friends, industry professionals and other people you know. Once you’ve connected on LinkedIn, it’s easier for you to stay in touch with your old teachers and mentors, and for them to follow how you are progressing. Also, make sure to connect with your peers before graduation. Joining an alumni network is a great way of staying in touch with your classmates as you later move on to university and beyond. It’s also beneficial, as you can help each other with valuable connections further down the line. EF Academy has over 4,500 alumni across the world, and many of them have joined our alumni group on LinkedIn to stay in touch after graduation.
The professional alternative
You are probably already active on several social media channels, so why the need for yet another one? LinkedIn differs from other platforms in that it’s the more professional alternative. Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to present yourself online to universities and future employers. For example, when future employers search for you online, your LinkedIn profile is likely to show up in the first results. Therefore, makes sure that your profile is updated with all your achievements and experiences.
Make use of your skills and experiences
Even if you don’t have many, or any, professional experiences, you can still create a strong profile by showcasing your knowledge, skills and interests. List any part-time jobs, volunteer work or summer internships you might have had and add a detailed description of what your tasks and responsibilities were. You can also list co-curricular activities you find meaningful, what they have taught you, or what kind of skills you have developed through them. Furthermore, you may have experiences that you might overlook, but that are worth mentioning. For example, maybe you’ve gone to summer camp and your experience there taught you valuable lessons about teamwork and problem-solving? Likewise, any coursework or school publication that you are proud of is also a great addition to your profile.
Browsing around on LinkedIn can be a great source of inspiration for your future career. Maybe you know someone that you think has a cool job, then you can go on their profile to see how their path looked up until getting that job. What did they study at university? Did they do any internships, and if so, where? Do you see a pattern in the kind of jobs they had until their current one? Likewise, by searching for specific terms, such as university degrees, you can see what different people ended up doing after university, and in which industries and positions they are working today.
Familiarize yourself with the job market
Even if your future career lies a few years ahead and the job market is an ever-changing thing, it’s a good idea to use the LinkedIn platform to familiarize yourself with what kind of jobs are out there, and what those specific roles require in terms of education and experience. If you already have an idea of which field you are interested in for your future career, take a look at which companies hire which types of roles. Almost all companies, organizations and educational institutions have a LinkedIn page, and by browsing their “people” section, you gain an insight into the kind of jobs that exist at that specific company, and often also which tasks specific roles are responsible for.
Setting up your LinkedIn account in high school gives you a head start and a chance to grow your network from early on, something that will prove valuable in your future, whatever you decide to do. Listing the experiences and abilities that you are proud of is a great reminder of how much you have to offer to the world. You are never too young to showcase your unique knowledge and talent.