If your son or daughter is a high school or college student, let’s explore a summer project that probably isn’t on your or your child’s radar yet.
School has come to a close and while many of your kids are beginning to enjoy the heat of summer, as parents you may be feeling a bit anxious. I spoke to a few parents of students, and they all shared similar concerns: How will my son begin vetting which universities he is interested in attending? How do young adults make themselves marketable nowadays? How will my daughter find an internship or a job?
Welcome to one of your answers: LinkedIn.
As reported by LinkedIn, there are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. Students and emerging professionals are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
How can LinkedIn help my son find which college he wants to attend?
In his article “LinkedIn is creating a revolution in university rankings” published in Financial Review, Tim Dodd reports that “drawing on the huge amount of data it has collected about professionals’ careers and their education background, LinkedIn tells you which universities lead to the best jobs in each major profession.”
Between YOUniversity, University Finder, Decision Boards, a personalized dashboard and University Rankings, LinkedIn has no shortage of entry points for your student to begin his or her college search.
How can my daughter build a LinkedIn profile if she doesn’t have work experience yet?
In 2013, LinkedIn lowered its member age limit to 14 years old in the United States. While some people immediately admonished LinkedIn’s decision upon first hearing this, others see it as a great opportunity. I can tell you that if LinkedIn was around when I was in high school, you better believe I would have become a member, so that I could have begun building my business experience versus the alternative of working at a local pizza parlor.
With that said, the impression you make online is just as important as the one you make in person. Your footprint works around the clock and is accessible to anyone at any time. When your student creates a LinkedIn profile, it is critical to make sure they are positioning themselves in the most professional light. This includes using a recent headshot as their LinkedIn profile picture; selfies, pictures with other people and anything less than interview attire are not appropriate.
So, they don’t have “real-world” experience at this point? No problem.
Within the LinkedIn profile there are many sections that are applicable to students, such as: Education, Courses, Test Scores, Honors & Awards, Projects and Volunteer Experience – and the list goes on. Do not forget that they should mention in their Profile if they are looking for an internship or job. Remember there is no spell-check, no formatting and no draft version of the LinkedIn profile; use a Word document to draft, then copy and paste it into LinkedIn.
How will my son find an internship through LinkedIn?
Once the LinkedIn profile is looking good, it’s time for them to begin Connecting with key professionals. Let your friends and colleagues know your student just joined LinkedIn and ask them to Connect. Encourage your student to Connect with business owners of companies they are interested in and professionals whom they respect. And not to overlook the obvious, but make sure you Connect with them as well. By growing their network of Connections they can start conversations and even apply for jobs.
As of the date this article was published, more than 1.1 million entry-level jobs and 55,000 internships are posted on LinkedIn. The door is open, but it is up to your student to take the next step. Here is just one resource of many to get started: students.linkedin.com.
By tapping into LinkedIn, your forward-thinking young adult will have more visibility into university and career options than ever before. Ease your concerns by sharing this knowledge with your student and encourage them to take action.
As LinkedIn puts it: “It’s not just for top executives, it’s not just for old people with heavy briefcases, it’s for you. And it’s the perfect place for you to start your professional story.”
This article was originally published in the Upstate Business Journal on 07/09/15.
Read more articles by Intero Advisory on students using LinkedIn.