The social network that boasts itself as the network that over 225 million professionals use to exchange information, ideas and opportunities is now open for teens! With a spiffy YouTube video and a cool tweet, LinkedIn officially opened its floodgates to welcome teens to the social network, dropping the age limit to join the network to 14.
Usually, with a quick Google of someone's name, one's LinkedIn profile will appear. Even if you're just applying for a part-time, after-school job, your potential employer will most definitely search your name and having a thoroughly completed profile that reflects who you are, your education and your experience is a mark of a good candidate. Within seconds, the recruiter can learn so much about you! Given that the recruiter will not be on your profile for long, and given that they will draw conclusions within such a short time frame, it's important to make a good first impression, even before they meet you in-person. To help you make that good first impression, here are three easy-to-follow tips that will ensure you supercharge your LinkedIn profile:
1) Random connections are worthless: Connecting for the sake of connecting is so not the point! If the only reason you're connecting with someone on LinkedIn is to boost your number of connections, it's pointless. A quick test you can apply to see whether you should connect with someone is: Do you know the person? Have you worked with them? Or, do you plan on working with them by connecting with them? If you've answered yes to one or more of the connections, connect! However, if you haven't met them, don't know them and don't plan on getting to know them, don't connect. Unlike Twitter, where you can follow anyone you want, on LinkedIn you only want to connect with people that you know.
2) Put some effort in: One of my biggest pet peeves that goes against everything my A-type personality believes in is blank, or near blank, LinkedIn profiles. Take some time and fill out your digital resume. LinkedIn has an easy-to-follow wizard when you sign up to help you get the most of LinkedIn. Instead of just adding a position you've held, add some details as to what you did. Complete LinkedIn profiles make you look like a digital whiz!
3) Actually use it: Why create a profile and never log in? By building your online professional network, you are able to look through your connections and see who you've worked with and who may be able to help you find a job, for example. Regularly connect with people you know (see first point) and regularly update your profile to make sure it looks like you're the superstar that you are (see second point).
To me, this unprecedented move by LinkedIn most definitely encourages social media literacy among youth. Having a positive online brand that doesn't just incorporate your Twitter, Instagram, and yes, even your Facebook is important, as many times teens use their social streams as a creative outlet, that they may not want seen by employers. So for teens, having a LinkedIn profile is crucial. It's extremely important that youth build their digital brand for future employers and with posting provocative content at an all time high, building a LinkedIn is an excellent start. So, even if you're just 14, you better start connecting!
With LinkedIn lowering the age limit to 14, will you be joining? Tweet me: @PatrickMott.