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Create a Link to Future Networking

You may have heard of parents or college students who use LinkedIn to network and look for internships or jobs. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows its members to create professional connections, search for jobs, and nd business op- portunities. Most recently, LinkedIn has expanded its user base to include those aged 13 and up so high school students with a goal of a “longer vision to help students and parents get a head start on career mapping” can do so with ease. In addition, they have added university pages to connect institutions with alumni, parents, and prospective/current students. It seems as though there is a tremendous potential for high schools student to use LinkedIn to explore future careers that they are considering and to edu- cate themselves on what others in the industry have accomplished.

Considering the goals of high school students, the strategy for creat- ing their pro les needs to be adjusted as compared to full time professionals. LinkedIn has a pro le checklist they have developed speci cally for high school students. It provides examples for each category, such as using the summary area to describe your potential major in college and personal interests. In the experience section, the examples point to activities and positions held in and outside of school. If you have any work or internship experience, this could be added here as well. There is also a section that you can use to detail your awards or honors. When doing so, make sure to keep a professional outlook in mind. A word of caution: this is not the forum for personal posts, such as those on Instagram or Facebook.

A LinkedIn profile will set you apart from other students your age and present you as a person who takes school and work seriously and understands the importance of displaying a positive professional image on the internet. If you’re searching for a job or internship, this type of profile will impress potential employers. LinkedIn provides a free framework to create your digital presence that you will eventually need once in college. According to current numbers, most high school students do not use LinkedIn, and if they do, they have only created an account. Students are well aware that it may be useful, but have not sought out LinkedIn’s potential. Some high schools have taken the leap and introduced classes to teach their students how to use LinkedIn and connect with school alumni.

Despite these obvious bene ts, there are some concerns about the privacy issues as is the norm with an online presence. Furthermore, there is the question about adding pressure to the already intense high school experience students face. According to Common Sense Media, a non profit children’s group, their main concern is, “is it healthy for kids to be so future-focused?”

Recently, I decided to build a LinkedIn profile to see how applicable and easy it was to navigate. First, I added my role as editor of Spoon University High School, and it led me to connect with a wide network of students from other high schools and colleges around the country who are part of Spoon. From there, I can see what other activities they are involved in. It is interesting to see what people with similar passions do throughout college and after. I was able to connect with the Editorial Director at GW, which was quite fascinating because I am attending GW next fall in the same program she is in, SMPA. The connections made on LinkedIn are one of the most important aspects of this site. Personally speaking, I found this exciting and can see the potential in connecting with other students. I also appreciate the knowledge I can gain to further my future career aspirations.

Photo courtesy of LinkedIn