The professional networking website LinkedIn® has certainly grown from its initial launch in 2003. According to the company’s website, LinkedIn® has over 330 million members in over 200 countries. The website allows professionals to connect with other professionals in their area of expertise, gain knowledge on companies and discover which companies are hiring.
In 2013, LinkedIn® opened their website to high school students. Although the website may not be as popular to high school students as it is to adults, high school students should very much consider joining the networking site.
Here are 5 reasons why high school students should be on LinkedIn®.
1. Connect for the future.
By starting now and connecting with your classmates, teachers and mentors, you are building a network of connections that may help you down the line. According to a 2012 ABC News report, 80% of jobs are landed through networking. Your friend or mutual friend may just end up working at a company that you have been eyeing for quite some time.
Connecting now can also save you the trouble of having a fun social event turn into a sudden job hunt. For example, lets fast-forward to your 10-year high school reunion. Some of your classmates are working at major successful companies. Instead of worrying about hitting them up to help you get a job, you can enjoy the special occasion because you have already connected with them in the past and know what they are up to.
2. Helps you figure out where to attend college.
LinkedIn® recently rolled out a feature called “University Pages” to help students learn more about colleges. It gives students a place to find updates on campus news, ask questions and connect with the campus community. LinkedIn® can help students decide where to go to college based on what they want to study, where they wish to work, where they want to live and what they want to do. Students can also connect with current students or alumni for their perspectives on the school.
3. Get insight.
If you are unsure about your career path, use LinkedIn® as a tool to help you explore what you may want to do in the future. Join interest groups and learn more about companies that interest you by following them on LinkedIn®. If they post job openings on their profile, check them out and see what they are looking for in an employee for future reference. Check out profiles of professionals that are currently working at companies you admire. Look at what they do, the skills they have acquired, and how they got to where they are professionally.
4. Be ahead of the game.
High school students do not use LinkedIn® as much as adults do. Use this to your advantage and impress your future employers. Being on LinkedIn® while you are in high school shows that you are serious about your professional career.
5. It’s free.
Yep, registering for LinkedIn® is free. It doesn’t hurt to have one! LinkedIn® is simply a tool to help you grow professionally. What do you have to lose?
Photo Credit: Sheila Scarborough