For a long time, I didn’t see the point of creating a LinkedIn account. When my class was required to create a LinkedIn for BEAM, I was confused—was having Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat insufficient? I didn’t see the point in creating yet another social media account to connect with people I barely knew.
As I began applying for internships and developing my social entrepreneurship startup, Project Oyster, I realized that my misconception stemmed from the fact that I had categorized LinkedIn as a social media platform. LinkedIn, as I realized, was not a medium meant for people to share their personal lives—rather, it was a place to maintain relationships with people who could help each other develop their careers. In fact, LinkedIn could be thought of as the anti-social media.
Think about it this way: you happen to meet an industry senior at a conference and they offer to give you support to develop your career. You want to stay connected with them, but adding them as friends on Facebook or following them on Instagram is not quite appropriate. LinkedIn provides a way for users to maintain business relationships without commitment to personal ones.
During my internship, I was told by one of my bosses that as increasingly fewer undergraduate students had LinkedIn accounts, it was increasingly harder to hire them. This is concerning, as many companies use LinkedIn exclusively for recruiting people for certain positions.
It is now more important than ever to create a LinkedIn account long before searching for jobs—whether it is to practice using the website or to start networking early.
Business education in high school is critical because high school students deserve an equal opportunity to learn about building careers before they are suddenly faced with an overwhelming myriad of opportunities in college.