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Linking In to Leadership

Nikhil Bedi, ALY '11

LinkedIn is the leading professional social media platform and the perfect way to continue networking with all of your AL contacts – from high school students to seasoned professionals – while following your own career path.

It's also the place where we learned Nikhil Bedi, AL ’11 is preparing to graduate from USC and step into a new job with… LinkedIn! We checked in with Nikhil to congratulate him and learn a little more about the steps that led to this opportunity.

AL: What work, college, volunteer experiences prepared you for LinkedIn?

NB: I learned how to build software through classes I took at Highline Community College, which led me to program games in my free time. Studying Computer Science through Running Start launched me into studying Computer Science at the University of Southern California. I studied hard and excelled in my CS courses, and a Thomas Jefferson alumnus helped me connect with a freshman engineering internship at Qualcomm, a reputable mobile chip company in San Diego. I interned there for two summers before deciding I wanted something new. Apart from that, I continued my habit of building games and other software projects in my spare time, which helped me hone my craft in ways my classes could not.

AL: How did you connect with the LinkedIn job opportunity?

NB: Hard work. I first had to earn an internship by going through several engineering interviews, and then prove my knowledge and work ethic during the internship before a full-time offer was ever extended out to me. Getting an internship with Qualcomm was much easier as the expectations were much lower (since I was a freshman in college at the time) and I also had someone refer me for the position. Without anyone to refer me to LinkedIn like someone had for Qualcomm, the company’s recruiters had to rely on challenging my knowledge and skills and putting them to the test. Let’s just say I studied a lot more for LinkedIn’s interviews than for any of my college exams.

AL: What will you be doing in your new role? 

NB: During my internship, I worked on building news feed features for the new LinkedIn app for Android . When I return full-time as a software engineer, I will be working on a team in San Francisco that helps drive traffic to LinkedIn’s news feed.

AL: Did any of your ALY experience help you prepare for this? 

NB: Most definitely. I wouldn’t be here today without ALY. In fact, my college personal statement revolved around my experiences with ALY and how it propelled me to take more action with both my professional and personal life. Through ALY, I gained the confidence that I could have a major impact if I just put my mind to it. I have been a part of so many different projects over my past four years at college, and am currently in a position of leadership for two startup projects this summer. ALY also taught me how to work other people to achieve real results, which is incredibly important for anyone who works as both a team member and leader. Without my experiences during ALY, I would not be graduating from USC or launching a career with LinkedIn.

AL: Do you have any tips about utilizing LinkedIn - for teens and the rest of us - in our professional lives?

NB: Yes! When I was a teenager, I didn’t realize my LinkedIn account could help me find a job. Many company recruiters use LinkedIn’s tools behind the scenes to search for candidates with particular skills and experience, so if you tidy up your profile a bit, that may just help you launch your career. Another tip is to view profiles. Not for the sake of seeing someone’s profile, but to learn from that individual’s professional history. Many distinguished professionals have years of experience in a variety of jobs and companies before they ever reached the role they have now. By understanding your own goals, you can learn how to get there by seeing how others did it. Although geared towards students, this page has more advice that can be helpful for everyone:

We wish Nikhil the best and love knowing that there’s an ALY grad busy behind the scenes helping improve our professional networking options.

If you’ve already joined LinkedIn, make sure that you’re also a part of the Advancing Leadership LinkedIn Group.