LinkedIn is expanding its efforts across the Economic Graph to help its more than 530 million members maximize their professional relationships. Today, the company announced a peer-to-peer mentorship program called Career Advice to further that goal. At launch, the program will be available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and India, but there are plans to expand to additional locations in the coming months.
While we all like to think we have a grasp on our professional careers, the truth is that many of us are searching for ways become more effective and competitive. But where exactly should we turn? LinkedIn thinks that we should start by looking at the connections we’ve already made within its professional social network, and that’s what the new mentoring program is all about.
Within LinkedIn’s dashboard, members can access the Career Advice hub. From there, they can input preferences about the advice they’d like to dispel or receive, and LinkedIn will make recommendations based on that input and what the service already knows about its users. After a match is made, the conversations can take place directly within LinkedIn’s messaging service.
LinkedIn stands apart from Facebook and many other social networks as a place to connect with others in a strictly professional setting. The platform already boasts many tools to facilitate connections and help you grow — from finding a new job or career to displaying your expertise and thought leadership to honing or developing new skills through LinkedIn Learning — and the mentorship program seems a logical next step.
Here’s how the matching works, according to the company:
- Select preferences, such as whether the person is in your first or second degree network, in your region, or went to the same school. You can also elect not to specify any preferences. This can be changed anytime.
- From there, select an area of interest — for example, Design, Research, or Sales. You can also choose to include an industry sector.
- The final step is to select the topic that you are looking to give or receive advice on: Career Growth, Job Search, Job & Industry Expertise, Entrepreneurship. You will also have the option to add a more detailed note about what you’d like to discuss.
- From there, LinkedIn will suggest potential matches based on the preferences and experience that you and the other members have both listed.
According to a survey LinkedIn conducted of “thousands of 25-33 year olds,” 61 percent said they were anxious about finding the right job and 59 percent said that they felt unsure about what to do next with their career.
Also mentioned in the same survey: More than a third of respondents have changed their career, pivoting to new industries and jobs, while nearly 25 percent wind up taking a career break at some point.
LinkedIn isn’t the only service to dabble in mentorship and advice, as Clarity, Quora, Everwise, Mogul, and others also operate in this space, albeit with a somewhat different focus. But LinkedIn feels it differs from competitors in terms of its scale, along with the level of information it knows about its users.
Career Advice is free to all members.