LinkedIn isn't just for adults in suits—it's a powerful platform for teens, too! Whether you're exploring future career paths, looking for internships, or simply want to connect with interesting professionals, it’s a platform you should be exploring.
Given my work at WIT, I get A LOT of young people reaching out to me on LinkedIn and while some of them really standout, others miss their shot based on things that are super easy to fix. So, in order to help you out I’ve put together a quick list that you can reference when you’re ready to shoot your shot!
Make Your Connection Request Stand Out
Forget the boring default messages! When sending a connection request, make it personal and fun. Mention shared interests, hobbies, or reference something they have posted. For example, "Hi (insert name), I saw your recent post about (fill in the topic) on LinkedIn. I actually shared it on my page! I appreciated what you mentioned about (fill in the blank). Would welcome the chance to connect."
Don’t Hide That You’re A Teen
So many young people try to present older on LinkedIn, but it doesn’t take much for me to figure out someone’s age. Trying to come across as an adult is a misstep. Own your awesomeness as a young person who is making a difference in the world and is already taking networking seriously! Your profile doesn't have to be all formal and serious. Add a cool profile picture (but keep it appropriate), use a catchy headline, and in your summary, talk about your dreams and interests. Showcase your personality—it's what makes you unique!
Show Off Your Research Skills
When reaching out to someone, dig into their profile to find common ground. Maybe you both love the same band, share a favorite book, follow a few similar people, volunteer at the same organization or have a passion for entrepreneurship. Mention these things in your message—it's like finding a secret handshake! It also shows that you are someone who is willing to put in the effort when it comes to growing your network.
Keep It Short and Sweet
If you have an “Ask” for someone, get straight to the point about why you want to connect. If you're looking for advice, ask a specific question. No need for long paragraphs! Also, if you’re making an “Ask” make sure you’ve made it clear to this person what you’ve already done for them. It could be as simple as sharing their recent post, listening to one of their podcast episodes, applying a tip they suggested in one of their articles … don’t expect people to do things for you if you aren’t willing to do things for them.
Be a Valuable LinkedIn Connection
Show your potential connections that you're not just here to benefit yourself. Share interesting articles, helpful tips, or even volunteer opportunities that might interest them. Being a LinkedIn connection who gives back is super appealing. I like to apply my equation of doing 3 things for someone else before asking for 1 thing for me.
LinkedIn can be a fun and exciting platform to explore your interests and connect with inspiring people. Don't be shy! Be yourself, make thoughtful connections, and who knows, you might just find your future dream job or mentor along the way. 🚀✨