Linkedin for Teens

texting youngstersShould your teen be on Linkedin ?  

Certainly if they are a school leaver or in their last year at high school or college then it can be a worthwhile exercise in building their reputation.

Think about how often we now apply for jobs online.  It has been quite routine for recruiters for some time to do some background checks on preferred applicants, and you can be sure this would include online searches to see if claims are backed up and to look to see if the person would be a “good fit” for an organisation.

There are all too many stories from both employers and job seekers alike where a poor online reputation has damaged opportunity.

Some of the things we hear are:

“We really like this applicant, but when we saw their facebook was full of attacks against their previous employer, we couldnt help but wonder what this person would do to our reputation if she had a bad day. It definitely went against her in our final selection.”

We really like this applicant, but Click To Tweet

Sorry but the images that you have posted we feel are not congruent with the professional and conservative image of our company, and therefore you will not be shortlisted for this position.”

Sorry but the images that you have posted we feel are not congruent. Click To Tweet

We were really concerned when we saw images of what appeared to be the applicant involved in graffit attacks on trains, this sort of disrespectful behaviour is not something we want in our organisation”

We were really concerned when we saw images Click To Tweet

(Conversely we have spoken to young people who are highly qualified who then after checking out a prospective employer, decide they dont want to work for them, based on the types of complaints or issues [often social issues in regards to the environment] related to that organisation.).   Reputation is everything, but much more important when we are just starting out and trying to make our way in the world.

As a professional network, a Linkedin profile tends to be found first on a google search.  This means that for young people  it can be used to provide a positive professional first impression, especially if they may not have the “cleanest” digital footprint in the past.  It can provide a great “landing page” and buy some time to clean up other profiles.

TIPS FOR LINKEDIN FOR TEENS

Keep your postings positive – remember this is a public global space .

Be professional/serious but write in your own way.   Don’t be flippant or controversial (unless the industry you are seeking to join embraces that of course).

Demonstrate good research

You can create content on videos and live stream (keep it nice and block anyone who gets out of hand) which you can then post to your profile.

Highlight:  volunteer work, projects, awards, community involvement, sporting achievements, extra curricular activities,

Add certifications:  Life saving, First Aid, Certificate level courses such as VET courses in Australia

Make connections:  Look at the organisations you think you would like to work for.    Learn more about them and get to understand the work enviroment and culture.

If you manage to make direct connections – ask about opportunities, internships (but do not spam them constantly).

Add references from highly regarded communitiy members (teachers, community leaders).   When you do work for a community organisation or other volunteer work, don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation or reference.   On LinkedIn these must be entered by the person giving the reference, which gives more crediability to the recommendation.

Put yourself out there in your best light, and embrace a future.   It will be a roller coaster ride, but you can do it!   Let yourself shine.

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