Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Getting Started on LinkedIn for the Graduating High School Student

Q: I am working with my oldest daughter on getting her LinkedIn profile going. I want her to understand that having a decent network of trusted people can pay off nicely later on when needed. 

It is a bit difficult since she her life experiences are still developing and a lot of the people she deals with (bosses at her job as a lifeguard, college advisors, band mates, etc) have fairly private LinkedIn profiles requiring "InMail" to connect. 

Have you addressed this in your social networking adventures? Do you have any other suggestions I can pass on to her? 
Joining LinkedIn? It's as easy as PIE.
~ Brenda Meller
(Note: this is NOT my LinkedIn profile photo)

A: Excellent question! First of all, kudos to you if you are a parent reading this and who is interested in helping your high school child to get started on LinkedIn. Double-kudos to you if your child has either expressed an interest in learning about LinkedIn, or if they're willing to take advice from you! (hey - I remember what it was like to be 17!)

I've been thinking about this request since I received it in my LinkedIn inbox and several tips come to mind right away. If you are a high school student getting ready to graduate and considering LinkedIn, here is the advice I would offer:

1. Make sure your parent or guardian knows you are setting up an account on LinkedIn. Together, read "LinkedIn for Parents and Educators" which offers tips for minors. http://help.linkedin.com/app/safety/answers/detail/a_id/38599 

2. Set up a profile, keeping in mind that LinkedIn is a purely professional network. Do not add your birthdate. Do not add any personal information that would not be relevant to include on a resume or job application. 

3. Keep it professional, from head to toe. That means use a professional looking headshot on your profile. Head and shoulders only. Not a glamour shot. Senior photo might be OK as long as you're not posing outdoors or with a football uniform. Or with your pet. (Do kids still pose with their pets?)

4. Celebrate any educational or community service achievements in your profile.

5. When describing work experience, avoid a job description. If you worked at a restaurant in high school (like I did), skip the description of what a waitress is and how you took orders and bussed tables. Instead, focus on the fact that you learned customer service and marketing skills. 

6. Start inviting people to connect with you using the LinkedIn "invite to connect" tool. Personalize every invitation. Read my blog on this topic:

7. Invite me to connect with you. I will be happy to introduce you to people in the future. I
This is the photo I have
on my LinkedIn Profile.
Notice the difference?
Which one looks more professional?
~ Brenda Meller
make it a practice to only connect with people I know and who personalize their invitations. Or who respond when I ask them, "have we met?" Because of this, I have a powerful, engaged LinkedIn connection list. By reading this blog, I know you're a superstar that I'd like to connect with, too. ps. YOU ROCK. 

8. Look for other high school students on LinkedIn. Review their profiles. You'll quickly learn what to do and what not to do. 

9. Start joining groups of interest to you. Thinking of a career in sports management? There's a group for that. Have a dream college? Join their group and follow their university page. Then, start participating in discussions. 

10. Spend 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn, every day for a month. Then spend at least 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn once a week. Need ideas on what to do during those visits? Read my other blog posts. 

One thing I've learned in the six years I've been on LinkedIn is that I always learn from others. In fact, when I was sitting down to write this post, I asked my Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, and Twitter followers to share tips for high schoolers getting started on LinkedIn. Here is their advice and their LinkedIn profiles. 

Invite them to connect with you and mention this blog. And tell them "THANKS" for the tip. Us "grown ups" are big on manners and it impresses us when young people appreciate us. 

  • "Customize the URL." ~ Christopher G. Johnson, MBAInternal Auditor at Lear Corporation
  • "Get a professional picture taken - not sure if they should use senior pictures?" ~ 
    Laura RolandsDirector of Account Services | Coach
  • "It's not about how many contacts you have but the quality of contacts!" ~ 
    Kara (Bundenthal) Caruth, MSF, CFP®Financial Planner at Snook Housey Advisors
  • "
    Join groups and comment in them. Whenever I post in a group I get people looking at my (poorly done) profile. I had 90 people check out my profile last month and I'm not even job-seeking!" ~ 
    Trish Belanger, CPA, CDFAAccounting/Tax Professional
  •  "
    Be sure to add keywords to your profile. And avoid a selfie for your profile pic! Also, the should be adding projects to showcase their abilities." ~ 
    Erin Janda Rawlings,  Writer/Blogger(Mommy on the Spot, Detroit News MichMoms, The Mother Company)~Social Media Strategy Prof - Walsh College
  • "
    Ask their profs if they can connect. As with anyone, don't just send a request without identifying the connection." ~ 
    Jennifer ChinnMarketing, Graphic Design, Print Production and Event Management
  • "
    Build your professional network early and maintain a strong brand integrity." ~ 
    Eyad (Ed) Batayeh, M.A.Director, Novi Campus - Walsh College of Business (Founded in 1922, Private/Not-for-Profit)
  • "
    When asking someone to join their network, be sure to include a personalized message!" ~ 
    Jessica KnapikDatabase Analyst at Walsh College
  • "Become connected with everyone you meet!" ~ Sherry Yagiela, MBASenior Digital Project Manager at Lowe Campbell Ewald
  • "
    Remember it is a professional network. Keep posts appropriate including profile picture. Paste from Word to ensure spelling is accurate." ~ 
    Stephanie M. ZytowskiHuman Resource Generalist
Like this blog? Please share. And add any additional tips as comments. 


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  2. Getting started with the LinkedIn would be not so tough if you would be able understand many of such ideas which have been mentioned here you will also get everything right to your interest. linkedin profile writing service

  3. For professional networking, LinkedIn is the best social platform. As said in the blog, getting started is not that tough but it is very essential to spend daily half an hour on LinkedIn to make the most out of it. During my college days I used to sit for hours and try out different approach to build strong network with construction companies, as I am from civil background. I even used to follow and frequently share quotes from industrialist like Varun Manian , DLF MD, Oberoi realty etc. This helps in getting some good like and followers also :P