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Instagram. Facebook. Snapchat. Students love to spend their time scrolling through their social media feeds instead of tuning into their lecture or completing an assignment. But what if I told you if there was a social media app that could actually help kickstart your career?

One success story involves a cybersecurity student and a networking app, LinkedIn. Danish Mehmood from Edith Cowan University casually decided to jump on the trend and make a profile, only to find himself gaining unexpected solid contacts in his field and nailing a paid internship over the summer break. Want to get started? Read on below to find out how.

What is LinkedIn?

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a website and mobile application designed to give users a platform for professional networking. Basically, it’s like Facebook for your career. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what degree you are studying, LinkedIn is a space for all people looking to advance their career by ‘connecting’ with people in their industry. Think of it as one big virtual networking event.

How do I use LinkedIn?

You can sign up to LinkedIn and make a basic account for free. You can include your photo, qualifications, education, experience, skills, contact information and bio. Once your profile is all set up, you can start sending invitations to ‘connect’ with people and begin following businesses you are interested in. This is how you grow your network. Once someone accepts your connection, you will be able to message them and see their posts in your feed.

Why should I use it?

Networking

Many lecturers and tutors at university say networking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your career. But if you struggle to get to networking events due to work or cringe at the thought of talking face to face with industry experts, LinkedIn can be the perfect place to start.

Job opportunities

Many jobs are advertised on LinkedIn. The app can also give you suggestions based on your profile and skills. Many individuals also post jobs which are not advertised elsewhere. You can also connect with people who may be at that company and ask them for any tips or advice on how to land that role.

Industry insight

If you have enrolled in a degree but aren’t too sure what you’re going to get out of it at the end, LinkedIn is a good place to start. You can connect with people who have studied the same degree as you or follow companies within that industry. This can help you to see what opportunities are available to you in that field.

Build your brand

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to craft your personal brand. What are your skills? What is your experience? What sets you apart from other candidates? By developing a unique branding proposition, you are able to reflect on your skillset and role as a professional individual. This allows you to be more confident and refined when going into job interviews.

Global opportunities

LinkedIn has members from all over the world. So, if you’ve always wanted to land a gig in London or Malaysia but aren’t too sure where to start looking, LinkedIn is your best bet. You can also connect with people who are from countries you’re interested in and ask them for advice.

One final tip: When searching up other people be wary of the fact that they will get a notification to say you viewed their profile. You can change this in your privacy settings though!

So, download LinkedIn today and get connecting!