Throughout my last year of high school, I’ve been interning with the marketing department at TCC. Working as an intern has exposed me to the inner workings of social media, the importance of professionalism, and the potential career options I may pursue. It’s these learning lessons that I would like to share with other high school students to prepare them for their future.
As high school students, many of us don’t think about our future until we begin SAT testing during junior year, or worse, until we begin applying for colleges senior year.
What most students don’t see is that all four years of high school are preparation for college and beyond. Although AP classes, student government, and study groups will prep you academically for the rigors of secondary education, building a professional profile will allow you to stand out among the competition.
A professional profile is a key step in opening the door to a bright future, so I’ve compiled the most important resources that will assist you in presenting yourself as a qualified, capable individual.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
What’s one thing Millennials can’t seem to live without? The internet. With the use of technology at our fingertips, social media updates have replaced diary entries as a way to communicate and express thoughts and emotions. The troubling thing about this is that thinking before speaking is a rule not often followed online. Again, as students we might not realize that tasteless tweets can turn around and bite us.
Just look at what these college coaches had to say about the social media accounts of prospective student-athletes. Coach Herb Hand of Auburn University has said he’s dropped numerous prospects because of their social media presence. As he wrote on his Twitter account a few years ago, he was glad one prospect’s social media allowed him to “see the ‘real’ person…” before he offered him a spot. Duke University’s Assistant Coach, Derek Jones tweeted, “Our jobs depend on the young men that we recruit. Your social media pages say a lot about your character, discipline, & common sense.”
While you may be looking for an outlet to vent; coaches, administrators, and potential bosses are on the lookout for individuals who prove to have good character at all times – even online. So, prior to writing a comment, joke, or status update on your social media accounts, think before you post.
Nearly all teens are active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but one social media platform is being underutilized by those not yet in the professional world – LinkedIn.
LinkedIn allows you to make connections based off of your qualifications and experiences. Rather than your individual profile containing a meager 140-character limit, LinkedIn allows you to write a headline and summary about yourself. Each profile displays background information like work-related experiences, education, future aspirations, and volunteering experiences.
LinkedIn is a platform that students should take advantage of. By using LinkedIn, your selected interests could attract local business owners and future employers. LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to reach out to companies on your own, which helps you put your best foot forward.
By keeping your LinkedIn feed updated, you will be able to see posts based on your likes along with updates on your connections, which may include job opportunities. Often times on LinkedIn’s company pages, companies will post job availabilities.
Another way to connect with a company is by utilizing the LinkedIn Job Search feature. Job Search finds open positions based on your location, desired title, or keywords entered. The greatest part of this feature is the simplicity of the application process because Job Search uses your LinkedIn profile – you’re one step closer to employment in a fraction of the time.
LinkedIn Students is satellite app from LinkedIn that uses the information and resume on your LinkedIn profile. The app has been developed to get college students connected with Alums from their university and features employment positions based off of your major and interests.
You may be wondering why you would need a resume when you’re only just about to start your college education. The answer is simple: the sooner you can present yourself professionally, the better. Having a resume on-hand allows you to showcase yourself as a mature, young-adult. You’ll be more likely to gain opportunities that will provide you with real world experiences before you even have a degree.
As a senior in high school, you may not have much by way of work experience, but by tracking things like volunteer hours and student government roles, it will make creating your resume in future years much easier.
If you’ve never learned how to write a resume, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Keep your resume concise and no longer than one page. (If you have a reference sheet, attach it to the back.)
2. Include your full name, address, phone number, and email address at the top.
3. Feature an objective section that states your intention (An example for high school students is why they want to pursue an education with the particular university they are applying to.)
4. Be sure to cover important areas including your professional experience (jobs, internships, etc.), education, skills, extracurricular activities, awards, and volunteer work.
5. Keep all information relevant to your most recent accomplishments.
Resumes are essential for interviews and nearly all college or job applications. The more of a head start you get on creating a resume for yourself, the more comfortable you'll be talking about your future goals.
It can be scary to think about building your own website, especially for students who aren’t so tech savvy, but it’s a great way to display your qualifications and assets.
Personal websites make it easier for potential employers, and even colleges, to find and learn more about you. Unlike resumes, personal websites can include as much information as you want, including photos, blog posts, videos, and links to your social media pages.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to make a great first impression when it comes to applying for schools, internships, and jobs in today’s digital world. From resumes, to applications, to potential job offers, having a professional and diverse digital presence is more vital than ever before.
By utilizing the tools we’ve mentioned above, it will help high school students, and even those in college, be better prepared to succeed.