The Social Media App Your High Schooler Should Be Using
An unexpected—and familiar app for adults
If you’re the parent of a teenager, you already know how much he or she loves social media. From Instagram to Snapchat, and VSCO to Houseparty, these apps enable kids to have fun and connect in the moment.
What if I told you there was an app that could set up your child for success — now or in the future? It’s an app I used to help land internships, interviews, jobs and mentoring calls. And it’s one that may not be top of mind for students. In fact, it’s usually associated with adults.
For teens, creating a LinkedIn profile is a winning move. A recent study by Kaplan Test Prep showed that nearly 25% of college admissions officers report visiting online profile sites to help them decide on candidates.
A strong, professional LinkedIn account can help your teen stand out from the competition. It’s a great way for any high school student to capture his or her core interests and experiences. A LinkedIn profile is nearly guaranteed to show up on page one when someone Googles your child’s name. Furthermore, LinkedIn can help high school students connect with role models, mentors, professors, students at colleges they admire and influencers in fields they respect.
LinkedIn also works the other way around, too. The platform can help your student check out and get opinions on colleges. Higher education institutions from around the globe have created LinkedIn pages that provide all kinds of information about their programs and alumni.
Ready to have your high schooler leap into LinkedIn? Here are some tips to get you started:
• Take a professional photo of your teen for his or her profile picture. Remember, this isn’t Instagram — rather than using a funny or sloppy photo, dress nicely and opt for a headshot style photo. Profiles with high-quality photos are seven times more likely to be viewed, according to LinkedIn.
• Help your teen highlight his or her academic achievements. Include summer enrichment programs, studies abroad, and any honors and awards.
• Remind your teen to tout his or her extracurriculars. Use the “organizations” section to list any clubs he or she belongs to, and include a brief description of each.
• Suggest that your teen share his or her work. If your son or daughter is a budding artist or writer, for example, advise that he or she add links to art portfolios or writing samples so recruiters can see for themselves all your teen has to offer.
• Discuss limiting email notifications. Some students avoid signing up for LinkedIn because they hear about users receiving “too many spam emails” from the company and its users. Your teen can easily turn off these emails in the app’s settings.
Here at The Social Institute, we believe social media could be one of the most positive influences on your teen’s life if he or she is equipped to navigate it positively. Encourage your teen to use LinkedIn to help set him or her apart from others. It’s a short-term move with a lifetime impact.
Laura Tierney, a digital native who got her first phone at age 13, is founder and president of The Social Institute, which offers students positive ways to handle one of the biggest drivers of their social development: social media. She also recently became a mom. Learn more at thesocialinstitute.com.
This article was updated April 30, 2019, with 2018 Kaplan study results.