Professionals looking for advice or guidance will soon be able to use LinkedIn to get connected with a mentor. A new feature on the social network for professionals will match mentees with a mentor based on their geographic area, what school they both went to, or who they are connected with on the site.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner first referenced the rollout of the new program he tweeted a TechCrunch article covering the news on Thursday. The feature first began testing in July, but will soon roll out to users in San Francisco and Australia, for starters, the TechCrunch article said.
A new section on the LinkedIn user page called "your dashboard" will display a career advice hub where users can express interest in becoming a mentor or mentee, a Fast Company article reported. Becoming a mentor is only offered to certain users now, but it will eventually be available to everyone.
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As noted by the TechCrunch article, the service works similar to the popular dating app, Tinder. Mentor and mentees will both be presented with a list of people interested in connecting with them. If they match, they can message each other. Either party can stop the communication at any time.
As a platform built on professional relationships, the mentorship feature makes sense for LinkedIn. It also gives job seekers a more unobtrusive way of reaching out to other professionals than simply asking to connect with them for no reason.
In addition to potentially improving connections on the site, the feature could also drive deeper engagement across LinkedIn's suite of services. After connecting job seekers with mentors and available positions in their area, LinkedIn could also drive them to additional training and tutorials through Lynda, or other materials on the site.
The service is free to both mentors and mentees, but the challenge is getting people to sign up. However, Hari Srinivasan, head of identity products at LinkedIn, told TechCrunch that some 90% of senior professionals on its site said they wanted to give back in some way.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- A new LinkedIn service will pair job seekers and new professionals with mentors based on their network, region, or university.
- Users will be able to sign up through their LinkedIn profile page, but the service is only offered in San Francisco and Australia for now.
- The new feature could drive more professionals to LinkedIn and increase engagement across the platform.
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Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.