LinkedIn is an employment-type social platform, for professional networking. If you’re thirteen years or over, LinkedIn is a great platform to begin to build your professional network. There are so many people to get to know, and so much to learn! In the beginning, if you’re still fairly young, it’s a great idea to manage your account alongside your parents/care givers – don’t think you have to do it by yourself! Not only will this help you to feel secure, but it will give you a little more confidence to put yourself out there and contact relevant people within the industry.
Getting to know people, and people being aware of you and your passion, is so very important in this industry. When it comes time to look for things like work experience or just trying to get some general advice about how to move forward, the relationships you have built up will become very important. And the sooner you can start to build those relationships, the better.
Remember, if you’re still relatively young then we highly recommend using the platform with the help of your parents or care-giver so they know who you are connecting with and what kind of information you are sharing publicly.
What you should and shouldn’t do when using LinkedIn
- Request to connect with people in the industry – don’t be shy, but do be patient. Some may not respond as not everyone on the platform is an active user, but it’s also important to remember that it’s a really busy industry so if it’s in the middle of racing season you may not get a reply. At least not straight away.
- Be active on the platform, it helps to get your name known. There are a couple of really good ways to do this. One is to like and comment on posts from people you are connected to that come up in your timeline, this shows an eagerness and genuine interest in what’s going on. Plus there is normally lots to learn from some of these posts and you can never have too much information! The more information you absorb from an early age, there is a good chance that you will be a more advanced a student when the time comes. Another way is to create your own posts, share content and create articles – you are never too young to do this and of course it might not be a technologically advanced article but it shows that you are dedicated to what you love. A couple of ideas are talking about what you are currently studying and maybe something you have recently learned about the industry.
- Send a request without adding a personal note! By starting with a personal note, you have a conversation starter with your new connection. Take the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and start as you mean to go on, by saying who you are and why you are interested in connecting with this person, in a concise way. Note: sometimes if you are connecting with people from your mobile phone, it won’t give you the option to send a personalised message.
- Don’t bombard your new connection with long messages as soon as you connect, trying to get every little bit of information out of them that you can! It’s okay to be eager, and understandable to be excited about your new connection, but play the long game; be patient, try and build up a rapport over time. You have plenty of time!
Work life may still seems like years away, but there are still little steps you can take today that your future self will thank you for:
- Catch up on the latest industry news
- Research the latest developments
- Research new LinkedIn contacts
- Write a diary or create a scrapbook of the information you learn/things you find interesting – keep it fun!
- Read something motivational
- Visit our inspiration page
- Perform a random act of kindness
- Believe in yourself a little more than you did yesterday
- Do something that makes you smile 🙂