The other day I was helping my high schooler daughter apply to a summer program, where in addition to her transcript and essays, they asked for her LinkedIn profile URL.
Yes, her LinkedIn profile!!!
For those avid listeners of my podcast, I also covered a similar topic 2 1/2 years ago in 139: LinkedIn for Students: What Do I Put in My LinkedIn Profile if I am a College Student?
If an overwhelming majority of college students, how many high schoolers have a LinkedIn profile in addition to their TikTok, Instagram, and, yes, Snapchat profiles?
So why am I even talking about this on my podcast?
Because if you can picture yourself as a high schooler, who has little to no professional experience, and be able to complete a LinkedIn profile, you will see new ways not only to optimize your own LinkedIn profile, but also your personal branding and content you publish throughout social media.
Don't believe me? Listen in, and then let me know what you think!
By the way, the free ebook I mention in this episode can be downloaded here: Maximizing LinkedIn for Business
[02:47] The Notion of LinkedIn Profile for Students
[06:21] Which Social Network You Should Nail?
[07:31] Strategic Value of Having a LinkedIn Profile
[09:24] What Personal Branding Is About
[10:01] The Common Application
[12:57] Where Does LinkedIn Profile Start?
[14:34] What Do I Need For A Background Photo?
[16:35] The Professional Headline
[17:27] Items You Need To Add To Your Summary or Headline
[18:48] What Is The Feature Section?
[19:54] How to Rock About Section?
[21:36] What Can You Put In Experience Section?
As we end the year, it's a great time to look back and audit what we're doing in digital and social media marketing. One of my favorite places to regularly audit is our own LinkedIn profile. And for inspiration for 2022 on your LinkedIn profile, this episode is actually advice that I would give to a high school student about their LinkedIn profile. Hey, don't press that fast forward button because this is applicable to you, as a professional as it is to a high school student. I guarantee this is going to inspire you in some way to rethink your LinkedIn profile for 2022. So listen up for this next episode of The your digital marketing coach, podcast. Digital social media content, influencer marketing, blogging, podcasting, blogging, tick tocking, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SEO, SEM, PPC, email marketing, who there's a lot to cover, whether you're a marketing professional entrepreneur, or business owner, you need someone you can rely on for expert advice. Good thing you've got, Neil, on your side, because Neal Schaffer is your digital digital marketing marketing coach, helping you grow your business with digital first marketing one episode at a time. This is your digital marketing coach. And this is Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, Neal Schaffer, here, we are almost at the end of the year. And because I am sort of a creature of habit, I love to take a look back, but also a look forward as to how I am going to pivot, both the digital and social media marketing of my own personal brand. And my company, as well as those of my clients, I think the 2022 I think if there has been any time over the last 10 years that we just completely rethink our presence and our content. This is the year as a society, we are so different than we were just a few years ago, in terms of the content that we consume this whole emergence of this new type of content format, that tick tock made famous work from home, zoom, webinars, virtual relationships, you name it, we're a very, very different society now. And I think LinkedIn is one of those networks that has been radically transformed over the past few years. It's younger, it's more personal, there's more photos, more videos, live stream selfies, it's become more visual. And it is the place that if we want to revisit how we project ourselves, and our personal branding, there's just no better place to do it than on LinkedIn. That's really where we start. Now, this notion of a LinkedIn profile for a high school student, this may surprise you. But my daughter is a high school student, and she is applying for some college programs over the summer. And some of them actually require a LinkedIn profile. And when she went to her high school, on LinkedIn, looking for who of her classmates might have a profile, there were very, very few not surprised. It is a competitive differentiator, right. If at that young of an age, you can put together a LinkedIn profile. But here's the question, what do you put in your LinkedIn profile for your high school student? I have professionals that asked me that same question. And if a high school student can do it, so can you and I think once you think like my recommendations are for them to think about their profile, you it's going to be hopefully eye opening for you. And you are going to learn and be able to really revitalize your profile and really your personal branding for 2022 and beyond on LinkedIn, and beyond on other platforms as well. Now, a disclaimer, I am doing various little experiments, as I always do. That's my my company name is called PDCA social plan, do check action social media is one big experiment. And this is a another podcast episode in which instead of me, just speaking into my microphone, staring on my computer screen, I actually did this one staring at a computer screen, but doing it over livestream, actually to LinkedIn, YouTube, I recently got accepted to LinkedIn live. So LinkedIn, live YouTube, Twitter, and my Facebook page. It's Neal Schaffer page. For those of you that follow me on Facebook did it all simultaneously using restream.io, a great tool that I highly recommend, and I recorded it using high fidelity audio. So hopefully, you don't hear that much of an audio difference. If you do, I'd love to hear. And there will be some times where I will talk about what I show on the screen. So it almost helps us while you're listening to this, if you're in your car, it's hard to do. But if you look at your LinkedIn profile while I talk, I think that what I talked about is going to make a lot more sense. If you want to see the video, go over to my YouTube channel. That'd be the easiest way to see the archive. youtube.com/neal Schaffer and you can check it out there but hey, Without further ado, here is my LinkedIn profile advice for high school students. But for you, as well, you're listening to your digital marketing coach, this is Neal Schaffer. Onto the topic of today, which is LinkedIn profile recommendations through the lens of a high school student. I know that it sounds a little counterintuitive. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, and high school students or high school students, they don't have a job, and what have you. So today, we're near the end of 2021. And I think if there's any year that we really need to do things differently, in our social and digital media, or marketing, it is 2022. So I am really just taking a zero approach to everything I'm doing. And one of those things is the LinkedIn profile. Now, these are things that I've been adding and sort of complementing my own profile with for a while. But I think that a lot of people are really far behind. You know, LinkedIn, like any other social media has changed dramatically over the last two years, we have a new influx of new generation, younger blood, there's more selfies, there's more photos, there's more videos, there's more live streams, more people are showing more about themselves. And as I wrote in the age of influence, and how we sort of are influenced by other people, we engage more with the human side of people with the human side of brands with the storytelling. And this is something that I really want you to think about when you think about your LinkedIn profile. Because, yes, we brand ourselves through our content. But if there's any social network, where our bio is deep, and people will go through it, looking and readiness, and for whatever reason, whether they want to do business with us, whether they want to hire us whatever it is, or in this case, whether they want to consider you as an applicant to their university, they are looking at your LinkedIn profile. And that's why if there's any profile on any social network, you really got to nail it is LinkedIn. Now, why high school student, I think it's a really, really good analogy. So I have a daughter in high school, and she is applying to a summer program. And this specific summer program actually asked for a LinkedIn profile. So they're helping my daughter create a LinkedIn profile, she goes to a small, you know, high school, there are very few people from her high school that have a LinkedIn profile. So by having a LinkedIn profile, she's already standing out, it's already working her advantage. And I would argue the same for you. I don't know what profession that you're in a for instance, I work with a lot of real estate agents. And some of them either don't have a profile or really aren't active, that means those that do have a profile slash and are active, have a leg up on the competition. So if you're listening to this podcast, you are already ahead of the packed because you're doing something that most people aren't doing. Obviously, it depends on your industry, location, what have you. But that's really one of the initial strategic values of having a LinkedIn profile being active on the network. Now, let's continue on this analogy with high school students, and how I think it will make you look at your own profile very, very differently and give you inspiration for new ideas going into the new year, which is what this episode is really all about. So if we think about applying to university, so you may have a LinkedIn profile, because you're applying for a job right? But applying for university. What does that mean? Well, when I was growing up, it was very simple. You had your high school transcript, you had your LSAT scores, you had your recommendations, you had essays, and maybe an interview. But these days, there is a big push on students getting to know students above and beyond all that. They call it just extracurriculars, which could be a lot of different things, some call it activities, but it's a way to get to know someone above and beyond sort of what they do for a living, which is a student, similar to us professionals. Our profiles look a lot alike as well. Yeah, we've all worked at x company. Yes, we all have this job. Yes, we've all sort of done similar things. We've lived in different areas, and maybe you've gone to different schools. But really personal branding is all about number one, I always say this differentiating yourself. And number two, creating an emotional bond and emotional connection. And I think you can do both of these through your LinkedIn profile. So case in point, a high school student, man, if there's any demographic of people that are very similar, right? It is students, there is not a lot they can do to differentiate themselves. For the most part, they have to take very, very similar coursework. They have to take the same standardized tests or now they're optional standardized tests. It's really the same thing, which is why it's really interesting that There is a part of the application process today, for those of you not familiar, like myself, is something called the Common Application. It's a type of application that's shared by many different colleges and universities. And if you look at the application, it is very similar to what you would expect. It's almost very similar to a LinkedIn profile, you create a basic profile, you talk about your family, your education, you provide your test scores, yes, there's a place for your transcript. And yes, there's a place for your essay or writing sample. But there's also a place for activities. And I think the big thing here is, if you want to brand yourself, and differentiate yourself, and create those emotional attachments, and really showcase who you are as a person, it's really going to come down to those activities. So if you were to look at the application, this is what it says under activities, reporting activities can help colleges better understand your life outside of the classroom. Very similar to people that want to do business with you want to understand your life, outside of what you do, as well, they want to know what makes you tick as a human being. So getting back to the Common Application, he says examples of activities might include arts or music, clubs, community engagement, family responsibilities, hobbies, sports, work, or volunteering or other experiences that have been meaningful to you. And I know that you're not in high school, although if you are in high school and listening to this kudos, that's great. But I want you to think about what are those things, if you were to create a list that I believe the common application allows you to list like 10 activities, and it's really the job of every high schooler now to try to figure out what are those 10 things that they do that differentiate themselves, maybe it's a sport, maybe to music, maybe it's a volunteer activity, maybe it's a part time job, maybe it's an interest they have, that they're pursuing education at community colleges, or, you know, University Extension classes. But nevertheless, it is those unique things that paint a picture of who you are, not only do they differentiate you, and they can create that emotional bond, especially if it is something like a volunteer experience or some sort of community involvement. But it also showcases your strengths. So it showcases your passions, and it showcases your strengths. And these are two buckets of content are getting back to my work and real estate agents, I'll say, what are your What are your professional strengths? And what are your personal passions, this is a type of content that you want to weave in, together with all the other content you do. Because, you know, if you're going to promote something, if I'm promoting like a new book, I'm going to talk a lot about that. But if that's all I talk about, I'm going to lose engagement and lose followers pretty quickly. I want to weave in these other elements. And a LinkedIn profile gives you the ability to weave all of this in, in a very, very eloquent way. So if you were to go to your LinkedIn profile, right, and if you're a high school student listening, or watching, I want to give you some advice as well. It really begins with that top visual headline, right? When I talk about the personal branding, we need to get more and more visual. We've seen the emergence of Instagram with just like a decade old now I shouldn't say the emergence of its mainstream, we've seen the emergence of Tik Tok, right, we are getting back to our roots as visual social animals, we always have been. But now social media has really caught up to that. And LinkedIn has given us a lot more areas to showcase our, the visual side of us now I recommend my daughter just put up an image of her high school. But if you have a particular passion, I mean, let's say you want to become a doctor, right? Having a background of you know, a stock photo of of like a doctor, or what have you, that's going to exhibit a very, very distinct type of brand that says, okay, this person is serious about this profession. Or, I mean, obviously, when you look at my profile, it's my latest book, The Age of influence. Makes sense for me. But I find that there's a lot of professionals that just have boring, sort of corporate looking backgrounds, or just they don't even have a background at all, at a minimum, you can make the background, the location where you live, the skyscrapers of your city, if you live near the ocean, like an ocean view, maybe like a picture you took. But ideally, this becomes an important part of your personal branding. And if you know what you want to do, when you go off to university, I highly recommend that you consider adding some sort of stock photo image for that. If not stick with an image of your high school maybe if there's a personal passion project that you've been involved with, you can add that as well. So but that's going to begin this branding of you beginning with this visual background here or we call that the background photo. Obviously you want to have a good looking personal photo here. Right I mean, you don't have to wear a suit or dress but make it look semi professional because you know LinkedIn still is a pretty serious network just I think more than anything else the lighting and if you can do it a natural background all the better. This obviously was done in a studio, but I think you know with good lighting natural background Use the portrait mode on an iPhone to sort of blur out that background, I think you're going to get a great a good enough picture for LinkedIn here. So we have a few other things here, right? Where do you currently work? Well for your student, I highly recommend you add your high school as your current or if your university student you add your university as sort of your current place in which you work, I find a lot of professionals either don't add this, right. And basically, it's pulled off your profile here, it's pulled off your your current experience, usually the top area where you're still currently employed. And what a lot of professionals do is, they just type in a name, and they press Enter for the company. But if you type in the name for your company, you'll see your company page shortcut come up. And that's what you want to add. Because if you add that, you'll then appear as an employee, and it'll pick up the logo of your company page, and you'll show as an employee of that company, should someone go into the company employees is something I definitely want you to, to remember, as you go through this, once again, you should your university as well, you should be doing the same thing. I went to Amherst College, they have an official company page. So when I go through an ad it, I want to make sure I'm not just typing in something and doing a misspell, I'm typing in ama trst. And then I'm seeing the selection come up and then I'm choosing it. And therefore I get the advantage of having that beautiful logo and having a link back to the Amherst College company page, like back to the Neal schaffer.com business page. So if you're wondering how people get the nice looking logos, or the ability to click through to those pages, that's why that's something you'll want to do. All right, here's where we get to some really, really important things, the professional headline. Now a lot of people say sales at IBM, a lot of students say, you know, class of 2022 at you know, X High School. And there's nothing wrong with that. But I think that there's a better way to brand yourself aspiring entrepreneur entering university in 2022, aspiring Doctor high school student looking to major in chemistry on the East Coast, whatever it is, I think that there's a better way, the fallback is student ad or professional auto sales ad or customer service. But I think this is really where we look into those strengths that you have, what are those things that you want people to come to your profile to remember about you. And that's what we have here. Look, I'm an author, the main service that I offer my clients as a fractional cmo consulting service. I also have some very, very important keywords that define sort of the the work that I do digital social media, influencer marketing, which is what the age of influence is about virtual keynote, speaker, consultant, university educator, all these little things that if I was applying to college with a common application, these are all the little things that I would add of those 10 points that have who I am. And that's what I want you to think about yourself, your high school student, varsity soccer team, first chair, violin of orchestra, whatever it is active volunteer chairman of the board, X volunteer organization. And if you're professional, and you're doing these things as well, you can add those as well, as well as other certifications that you might have other unique experiences you may have, you might be a realtor. But you might also have experience in city government or as an investor. And those are things if you add to your summary, well, at least your headline, they are going to paint a bigger, more differentiated more branded picture of you, and actually show you more ways or show potential visitors more ways in which you actually help people. So if we continue the journey here, obviously your location is where you live today. If you're a professional though, and you want to move to another area, looking for a job in another area, you might want to consider using a different area as your location, think strategically. So I'm not going to go into the analytics or, or the creator mode, we also have a feature. So if you're a high school student, and you've been featured in the student newspaper, you've been part of like a some sort of award, where it was mentioned on a website somewhere or a picture was taken posted on Instagram, you can add these in your featured. And when people go to your profile, boom, these will appear very, very prominently. So I highly recommend that you do add this sort of imagery, it could be an image, it could be a video, but it should be something like an award, something that celebrates something that you've done. And if you're a professional, the same thing, if you're a content creator, obviously, this is where you can lead people, to your ebooks to your videos or what have you. So think strategically there think visual and really use this to your advantage. It's almost like you have your Instagram highlights, and you can sort of archive things strategically that you want people to see. This is sort of like the closest equivalent of that on LinkedIn. I know it's very different. But if you're thinking about an analogy, that's what I would go with. We don't have to worry about the activity because that's just based on my own profile. The next section is the about this is the summary. This is critical how if you only have One minute to have an interview with an admissions officer and describe yourself. How would you do that? Describe how you're going to contribute to a community that is a class in a university? How are you going to contribute to class? How are you going to contribute to community on campus, same thing with professionals, how you're going to contribute to the next company work for the same thing. If you're in sales, you're an entrepreneur, how does your business contribute to the livelihood of your customers, or to their employees, or to your community, the common app 10 activities 10 things that differentiate you. This is where you're going to flesh those out in more detail. This about sex in your summary. It is an extended version of this professional headline up here, you're going to talk in more depth. And you're just going to bring more and more people in deeper into your profile, so that they confirm who you are who you say, you know, you are who you say you are, because they're going to see that professional headline in a search result are going to click through and see this. And it gives you a chance this is the closest thing to a personal essay describing who you are and why others would want to accept you into the university hire you for a job or bring you on as a client, it's really the best way to describe it. But please, first person and bring your personal experience into this bring those personal passions into it. it much easier for high school students to bring it in than it is for professionals. But I'm sure you have your own passions as well, the more you bring in, the more that it will work to your benefit. Okay, so only a few more seconds left that I want to go through. But experience is a critical one experiences where we go through if we're professional, our job. And if you're a student, you have experience as a high school student, this is where if you added the fact that you're at a certain high school, this is where you're going to talk about what classes you're taking. If you're a professional, you're going to talk about what roles you have, what responsibilities you have, right? It's really a similar thing. But what gets interesting is, if we keep on going down, if we are a volunteer member of another Association, there's various things that we can add here. If we you know, tutor, someone private tutor, you can go on and on about different things that you've done to different organizations that you've served on. But LinkedIn does have a place here, where you can actually add sort of like the volunteering that you've done, or organizations that you've worked with, I almost recommend if you're a high school student, because all you have is your school to add those here. Add the organizations that you volunteered for, that you've that you've helped out that you've tutored for, or any positions that you hold, that would be a great place to add. And obviously, if you're a professional, you want to go further back in your history, you want to create as many touch points to showcase your past, you never know when I use that example of a real estate agent who used to work in city government, you never know when there's a publicly elected official who wants to work with a real estate agent that understands them. And that's why you know, you're not applying for a job here. You're really this is part of inbound marketing of your branding of showcasing all those unique things that you've done. So high school students, you want to add more of those organizations you work for, in your experience, I think for most professionals, there is sort of this volunteering section of your LinkedIn profile. And if you haven't looked at your LinkedIn profile, recently, of all the different things you can add, if you go into your your profile, on the very top here, it'll say add profile section. And if you click Add profile section, you have your education, you have your position, you have your skills, but there's a bunch of other things you can add that featured section that I talked about. You can add licenses and certifications, which a lot of professionals probably have courses that you've taken. And you know, what if you're a high school student, and you've taken Coursera courses, university extension courses, you know, private high school courses for like AP classes, or what have you, you can add those here to showcase all these other sort of subject work that you are that you're involved with. We can add our recommendations here. If you have teachers write any recommendations for college, why not have them write you a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile, right, it can only help you. And then there's additional sections. volunteer experience, I talked about publications, if you're a part of editor in chief of your high school yearbook, that's a great place to write this, add that publication patents, if you have any patents, projects that you've been involved with honors and awards, national merit scholar boom, this is where you want to add that test scores. I think this is mainly for professional tests. But you might be able to if you want to do publicly tell people that you got a 36 out of 36 in your AC t score, I'd want to tell people that you could probably add it there. And then languages if you see if you speak multiple languages. So there's a lot of detail to go through here. But basically for every one of those 15 or I should say 10 activities on your common profile or the many things that describe you as a professional. There is a place on LinkedIn that you can showcase that and if we go back to my profile here I talked about all different experiences that you can add, you can add education, I add a junior year abroad. If you have been to multiple high schools, I recommend that you add them here in the education section. If you have licenses and certifications, have worked with the PTA, I've been T manager for my son's soccer team. If you volunteered like a ref for a while, so or anything, that's something you can add here as well. You can add your skills here, there's a skill quiz you can take. But you can also go in here and say, Hmm, what are the different skills I have? Well, I am on the debate club. So there's actually a skill for debate here. For instance, I am a team manager, or I'm a treasurer for our student government. Well, you know, you can actually add a skill for treasurer here. So even if you're a high school student, you could still add these skills. This is where you have the recommendations that I recommend publications that you're involved with projects, I developed a website for my son's elementary school PTA, it was a project, I'm going to put it up there, right? I speak various languages don't have to worry about the interest. These are just people that you follow. But hey, if you are interested in going to university, why wouldn't you follow that university, their company page on LinkedIn, which I highly recommend you do. And if you're interested in working in various companies in your industry, what when you follow them as well, so that if they were to come over to your profile, they would see that you're a follower? You know, it may be something that universities do to vet you, hey, you're interested in my university? Why wouldn't you follow them on LinkedIn, if you have a LinkedIn profile, and if they ask for a LinkedIn profile, you're giving them that information. That's a very, very small thing that you can do. I hope that this has given you an overview of the different things that you can do for your LinkedIn profile from the lens of a high school student. But nevertheless, equally applicable, I believe, with the same analogy to professionals for the for a high school student, you got some value out of this, if you are a professional, you got some value out of this. And for those of you that want more information, I do have a free ebook called maximizing LinkedIn, for business. It does give basic profile information, I am going to add the link to that in the show notes as well as the descriptions. And there you have it, hopefully, a new way in which you think about your LinkedIn profile, but really all about your personal, your social media branding, and even your content. It's time to weave more of our personality, more of who we are as people into what we do. I think this is something that younger generations want out of brands. I think it's why younger influencers have been able to connect with so many people. And it is my recommendation for everybody if your social media presence is part of your business or you want to make it part of your business, your personal brand. That is my advice, beginning with your LinkedIn profile, but extending far beyond that. Alright, I'm gonna stop there. Hope you enjoyed this episode, as always honored by every review that I get on any podcast player, it really is an honor to be able to continue to record these podcasts and have an active audience who is reviewing this podcast and subscribing to this podcast. And if you haven't, hopefully you hit that subscribe button on whatever podcast player you're listening to this on. And hey, that's it for another episode. This is Neal Schaffer, your digital marketing coach signing out. You've been listening to your digital marketing coach, questions, comments, requests, links, go to podcast dot Neal schaffer.com. Get the show notes to this and 200 plus podcast episodes and Neal schaffer.com to tap into the 400 Plus blog posts that Neil has published to support your business. While you're there, check out Neil's Digital First group coaching membership community if you or your business needs a little helping hand. See you next time on your digital marketing coach.