This post was written by Rutha Nuguse, University of Washington Freshman.

I was introduced to LinkedIn during my senior year of high school. As one of twenty high school students selected for Microsoft’s high school apprentice program, we had the opportunity to participate in weekly trainings. As part of the career development training, Deanna Carlisle, (the program manager) taught us the importance of branding ourselves to companies and recruiters and how we could do that with LinkedIn.

I hadn’t heard much about LinkedIn until Deanna explained how it could help young adults shine in professional settings. I thought it was an easier way to connect with other professional profiles and explore work experiences. I immediately uploaded my resume, created my professional cyber identity and learned how to use LinkedIn. Surprisingly, many people I worked for long ago had a LinkedIn profile, which made it easy for me to locate people and network. I began and still do – log into LinkedIn multiple times each day to update my profile and make as many connections as possible.

Through reading career development articles, connecting with professionals via LinkedIn, and networking at a young age, I discovered that the sooner you put yourself in the professional community, the sooner you will land a job. Actively logging on to LinkedIn made my college search easier—essentially, it streamlined the process of finding out what career to choose, and how to network with professionals. I am glad I was introduced to LinkedIn at an early age to explore opportunities on a safe website that helped me locate opportunities that I may never have thought of. I recommend high school students use LinkedIn to connect to possible future employers, teachers, mentors, and even college admission counselors. An article was even published about ME and my use of LinkedIn for the college application process!

High school seniors, listen up! You can directly benefit from having a profile on LinkedIn and being able to access admission counselors to answer your questions, and showing them your professional image. University Pages on LinkedIn is a great resource for students who want to learn about a college, and reach out to alums to see where they are working now. I used University Pages to learn more about colleges and used the website to navigate the admissions process. Do you want to let other professionals that have your dream job know about you? Well then, create a profile and sell your profile with a strong title and sense of WHO you are and WHAT you are looking for in your career.

Here are my 5 top tips for HS students to use LinkedIn:

1. Have an outstanding professional title: Describe yourself with three to four powerful words, like introducing yourself in an elevator pitch.

2. Complete your “about me” section creatively and be detailed: Your about me section is the place for you to inform others of what your talents are and what you are looking for from professionals and companies to help your career. What do you as a student offer? As a student, how can your skills and specialties be beneficial in a work setting?

3. Connect with Alumni from schools you are interested in or are attending: Alumni can direct you to specific counselors, internships, experiences, and other opportunities.

4. Include your experiences, list them all: All experiences count and mean that you have learned something in a work setting. If you do not have work experiences, use the volunteering section and list out all your volunteering roles and organizations you were involved with.

5. Join groups: You will meet more people by joining groups, and you will learn more about opportunities within your field of interest, news, and find interesting articles that relate to your future profession.

 

This wonderful blog was written by Rutha Nuguse, a first year student at the University of Washington. In her free time, Rutha loves to run city races and volunteers her time by giving back to her community. Rutha also enjoys traveling to new cities and making memories with her friends and family.

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