Ah, yes, LinkedIn: the chaotic good of social media platforms. When most people think of LinkedIn, they often associate it with an older audience. If you didn’t already know, LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on professional networking and career development. Many companies use it to hire, and many job seekers use it to post their resume and network with people in their desired industry. Many teenagers may not be thinking about setting up a LinkedIn profile anytime soon, but take it from me – starting a LinkedIn profile early, and putting effort into it, will put you ahead in the game.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the leading platform for creating a professional online presence. It acts like your digital resume – you can input your work experience, volunteer experience, education history, and more. Additionally, you can also use it to connect with people in your “network”. The bigger your network, the more people with the same interests or in the same industry you can connect with. It also functions as a job portal, where you can either individually check if a company you like has job openings, or you can search which job opportunities are open.

LinkedIn is the one-stop shop in being able to avail of opportunities that aren’t blasted on Facebook or other typical media platforms. You can get links to webinars, special opportunities, and more. As a Gen Z person who’s looking to get my foot in the door as early as possible, investing in rounding out my LinkedIn profile makes me feel more confident that I’m at par with the people in the industry I want to be in.

LinkedIn is pretty straightforward when it comes to inputting data. However, with the number of guides on the Internet on how to maximize your profile, it can get quite overwhelming. This article aims to give a guide catered for Gen Z-ers.

Turn on the private browsing mode for your profile

The reason why I often call LinkedIn the “chaotic good” of social media platforms is because the default setting for your profile notifies the person when you view/stalk their profile. Remove any anonymity you associated with “lurking” on other social media platforms. While I understand that this was created so you could use it to connect with the people who are interested in your profile, it is also very embarrassing (personally) that I can’t lurk and view the LinkedIn profiles of people I may know.

If the idea of that terrifies you like it does for me, you can turn on Private Mode by going to Settings and Privacy under the “Me” icon.

Don’t be afraid to connect with people you don’t personally know

How LinkedIn “connects” people is by showing you people you may know or would want to connect with based on your current connections, same school, or same industry. LinkedIn only shows people up to the 3rd degree of familiarity, which is typically denoted as coming from the same school. What initially deterred me from starting a LinkedIn before was that I didn’t know any of my friends I could connect with. None of the people in my friend groups were really thinking about a LinkedIn in the first place.

However, I quickly realized that the point of LinkedIn is not to just limit yourself to the people you’re familiar with. Just like networking in real life, you can use common connections (industry, people, or school) to jumpstart and reach out to other people. Moreover, you can use LinkedIn to connect with people you would want to possibly work with in the future.

I personally use my profile to connect with other people my age who are leaders in their respective fields in order to have networking opportunities, learn from them, and possibly work with them in the future.

Follow the LinkedIn profiles of your dream companies or organizations

Even if we’re not at the point in our lives (or careers) to work in our dream jobs, following their profiles can help you learn more about what they value, how they operate, and even what job openings they have. Think of it as speaking it into existence – your LinkedIn feed can also operate as a vision board for your career.

Most organizations and companies regularly update their LinkedIn feeds with what they’re doing on a professional level instead of the commercial angle you may see from other social media platforms. Using LinkedIn can give you a different perspective on your dream job or industry.

These are just some of the tips to convince and guide more Gen Z-ers to look into LinkedIn. As we grow older and the job market gets more and more competitive, investing now on how we’re perceived professionally can help put us apart from the rest.

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