LinkedIn – Building your teen profile
Even if a teen has limited or no work experience, there are still many items to include on a LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn, one of the world’s largest professional networks with more than 740 million members in over 200 countries and 55 million registered companies, is a great platform to build your brand, connections and reputation for individuals 16 and older. Through LinkedIn, youth can learn about careers, gain new skills, explore colleges, connect with family, friends and teachers, search for jobs and internships, and network with professionals in their field of interest.
Understandably, parents and guardians may be concerned with their teenager joining a networking site predominantly made up of adults. LinkedIn has several privacy settings including a hidden birthdate and limited public profile search ability that can be used to safeguard your child.
Before a teenager connects on LinkedIn, it is important to remember this is a professional networking site. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a virtual resume. Always be respectful and make sure to consider the potential audience (employers, teachers, alumni or college admission officers) before posting information. What may be appropriate to post on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok to your friends often is not the type of information you will want to include on your LinkedIn page. A 4-H community service project you are involved in may be very appropriate whereas your family vacation pictures are not.
Even if a teen has limited or no work experience, there are still many items they can include on their profile.
- Organizations: What groups or clubs are youth involved in that would demonstrate leadership, problem solving, communication, creativity, team work or other transferable work skills? Describe any positions you might hold and what role you played in the organization.
- Honors, awards and achievements: What honors and awards have you received as a student, volunteer, employee or member of a group? From honor roll student to county 4-H award recipient, by sharing your awards, it provides an objective confirmation of your character.
- Coursework: Are there courses that you have completed that might be relevant to the career you are interested in or demonstrate your academic ambitions? Have you taken advanced placement or honors courses? Include select classes that would help qualify you for a potential position.
- Projects: Are there civic, 4-H or class projects you are involved in that could show experience related to your career goals or commitment to the community?
- Skills: What skills have you developed in school, part-time jobs, volunteer experiences or even hobbies? List them and ask your network connections to endorse you on LinkedIn for the things you are good at.
- Volunteer experience and causes: How do you give back to your community? What causes do you give your time to? You gain many skills through volunteering so make sure to include these experiences.
Just as a resume is a work in progress, so is a LinkedIn profile. Keep your site interesting and flourishing by keeping it up to date as you develop new skills, complete courses, gain experiences and participate in projects and extracurricular activities.
You can learn more about looking for work and expanding your network through Michigan 4-H Youth Development. For workshops across the state, articles, and additional career preparation resources, make sure to check out Michigan State University Extension.