Recently, LinkedIn started allowing people ages 14+ to join and create profiles on their website.
Coupled with todays launch of "Official University Pages", LinkedIn has opened itself up to become the go-to resource for students looking to research, connect and ultimately choose where they may end up for college.
But on top of these obvious reasons for young people, ages 14-18, to join LinkedIn, there are a few that may have some greater and more long-term effects.
And here are my Top 7 Reasons Why Teens Should Join LinkedIn (in no particular order):
1) Increase Search Engine Appeal
LinkedIn pages, including individual profile pages, tend to rank higher than other results when performing full name searches. Go ahead and do it now, search for your name, or even better, the name of someone you knew in high school. Most likely you will find their Facebook profile, Youtube page, and maybe some random news article with their name in it. If they had a LinkedIn profile, it would most likely appear near the top, if not be the top result of their Google search. Future employers and schools (and roommates and girlfriends for that matter) are Googling, so make sure they see the best side of your kid brother/sister.
2) It’s OK To Show-Off.
LinkedIn has a great feature that allows you to embed projects and other works directly into your profile page. Your little sister can showcase her grand prize winning science fair project, or upload the PowerPoint she used in the district wide speech contest. Your son can even upload that cool YouTube video he edited of his friends skateboarding. These things may seem minute, but it could lead to great opportunities in school and the workplace if seen by the right influencer!
3) Start Keeping The Right Company.
Most of us have hundreds of friends on our Facebook, but we also know people offline that we would, for one reason or another, never “friend” on Facebook. LinkedIn is the perfect place to connect with this type of person. A LinkedIn profile shows a more conservative and professional side while still highlighting goals and accomplishments.
4) Make Sure To Take Your (Resume) Supplements!
A teenager’s resume is normally pretty thin and maybe includes extra curriculars at school or some volunteer experience. Adding a LinkedIn profile address to their resume allows any high school student to directly point a potential employer to their page. Here, employers can look at past projects, recommendations and may gain a better understanding of your teen’s experience. This will make them more likely to get hired.
5) I Want THEM! And We Want YOU!
One of the most under utilized features of LinkedIn that most young people ignore is “LinkedIn Groups.” Similar to Facebook, Groups on LinkedIn allow those with similar interests to come together in a virtual space. You can start conversations, ask questions, and connect with real people, both peers and influencers within the industry, region, or at the school you are interested in.
6) This Teenager Is Recommended By 9 Out Of 10 peers.
On top of showcasing projects and accomplishments, LinkedIn is a great place to recommend and be recommended by other professionals. If any teenager can get even 5 recommendations, it will put them ahead of a large majority of adults who are currently using LinkedIn! Recommendations lend credibility to any LinkedIn profile and are a positive signal to future employers.
7) You, Yes YOU, Can Get One More Connection!
We as professionals should always be making new connections and expand our network. And doing this with people we already know is the quickest and easiest way to do so. Adding your younger sibling, or even your own child, will not only add another person to your LinkedIn connection list, but you will also be opened up to their network as well. Now being connected to your little sister's best friend may not seem beneficial on the surface, but maybe that friend’s dad works at the company you have been trying to get an “in” at for a long time. And now you have an easy, and professional, way to reach out and contact him. Being able to leverage your network’s network is the key to using LinkedIn effectively.
8) The Early Bird Will Get The Worm.
Simple fact is, even though LinkedIn has opened its doors to the youth of the world, the chances of there being a stampede are slim. Which is why this is the prefect time for any teenager to join! Getting a head start on professional forums like LinkedIn, separate any young person from their peers; something they will have to start doing as they apply for college and job hunting. Help them jump ahead of the curve, establish their professional online profile, and start connecting and networking. They will impress the next influencer they come across by knowing how important it is to have all of the above as a young professional.
So get that teen in your life on LinkedIn today! And when you do, have them find and connect with me! Here is the link to my LinkedIn Profile.