Think You’re Too Young to Benefit from a LinkedIn Account? Think Again.

05/01/20216 minute read
Think You’re Too Young to Benefit from a LinkedIn Account? Think Again.

Is your LinkedIn account collecting dust? Does it even exist? Though LinkedIn may seem like a limited resource for high school students, the truth is that when used correctly, it can be a great place to find opportunities you may have otherwise missed.

So... a friend of yours got a new internship, another friend won a competition you’ve never heard of and another is collaborating on projects with students halfway across the world. Meanwhile, you’re wondering how they heard of all these opportunities in the first place!

There are a multitude of resources for students like yourself to find such opportunities, and one that’s often under-utilized is LinkedIn. Despite its reputation as a job hunting hub for career-seeking adults, the platform can also be a great starting point for high school students looking to find opportunities beyond the bounds of their own schools or cities. From there, Crimson’s dedicated mentors can help you capitalize on what you find!

In the words of Magnus, a student who was interviewed on Crimson’s Top of the Class podcast, LinkedIn is a “gold mine” — beyond the internships, competitions, research and speaking engagements posted on the platform daily, it’s also a useful resource for high school students to understand the experiences and career paths of people in positions they hope to pursue someday.

Not sure how to make the best use of LinkedIn, or what to do when you find opportunities you want to explore? We’ve put together a list of tips to help you dust off that profile you created months (or years) ago and set you up for a productive year in 2021!

  1. Download the LinkedIn app, put it on your phone’s home screen and save your LinkedIn profile to your favorites. This way, it’ll be easier to stay active on the platform and log in on a regular basis (at least a couple times per week) — which is the secret to finding opportunities early!
  2. Update your profile picture. Whether you opt for a photo in your school uniform or the more polished look of a selfie against a blank wall in a nice shirt, it’s important to have a clear, current picture to make the best impression!
  3. Polish up your ‘Headline’ — the few words that show up right next to your photo. The headline is a way to attract like-minded people to your profile and make your first verbal impression. Try to combine an area of interest with a title: if you’re passionate about the environment and seeking opportunities in that area, you could be an ‘Environmental Problem Solver’ or ‘Goal-Oriented Environmentalist’. If you’ve won any notable competitions or have a leadership role to highlight, you could also combine them into your headline, so it could end up reading ‘Environmental Problem Solver | International Science Fair Winner | Class of 2021 Fundraising Coordinator’. Just be sure to keep it direct and concise!
  4. Next is the ‘About’ section. This gives readers an idea of who you are and what you’re interested in. Quick tip: only the first 330 characters are visible before readers need to click ‘See More’, so make them count! Write this section in the first person and don’t be afraid to get creative. Be sure to mention what you’re aiming to do in the future — even if those ideas are still vague. Similar to the essays you’ll write for your college applications, this is not a place to list accomplishments or extracurriculars. If you’re struggling to figure out what to write, your Crimson team can help!
  5. With your profile ready to go, it’s time to connect with other LinkedIn users — and not just your friends! Keep in mind you can either ‘connect’ or ‘follow’ people. Connecting allows you to exchange messages with someone, but if that person has thousands of connections or is too detached from your network, you may be hard pressed to get a response, in which case following is more appropriate.
  6. Start scrolling! As with any other resource, LinkedIn will only work for you if you engage with it. In its early days, the platform was limited to job listings and updates; but now, top posts range from advice and industry insights to funny anecdotes and lessons learned from failure, and everything in between! Scrolling through your LinkedIn feed allows you to like and comment on posts as a way to deepen your connections, and more importantly, it helps you find posts about valuable opportunities.

There you have it: your LinkedIn profile is polished and you’re ready to hit the ground running. But identifying opportunities on LinkedIn is just the first step. From there, you’ve got to pursue them! However, it’s important to take a calculated approach to ensure your best chances of success. Not sure how to do that? Crimson can help!

Have you found an internship you want to apply for? Spotted a competition you want to submit to? Want to join a research project or fundraiser with a connection you’ve made in another country? LinkedIn can serve as a starting point for all of these opportunities, but it can be difficult to act on them alone. This is where your Crimson team comes in: from Internship Placement to Extracurricular & Career Mentoring beyond, we can help you make use of the valuable information and connections you find on LinkedIn.

Whether you need help crafting the perfect message to a LinkedIn connection or building an impressive project to submit to a competition, Crimson has the tools to turn the posts you find into actionable goals. To learn how we can help you seize the myriad opportunities available to you, click the link below and schedule a free one hour consultation with one of our Academic Advisors.