LinkedIn is in the midst of rolling out a Tinder-like feature specific to mentor-mentee matching -- but don’t get the wrong idea.
This has inbound written all over it, and there’s a lot that marketing and sales leaders like you can do to take advantage of this new feature. Curious to find out how? Read on to find out how the mentoring feature works and how you can use it to your advantage.
Back in my day of 2008, we dated in real life (Shock! The horror!). I think I would have been terrified to use something like Tinder back then, but today, we’re realizing these apps are the real deal and building relationships online doesn’t have to lead to an episode of Catfish.
In fact, I first connected to IMPACT’s CEO, Bob Ruffolo on LinkedIn in 2012, never realizing I’d one day go to work for him.
I watched a HubSpot Partner webinar he did, admired his candor, and connected with him because I thought I could learn a lot from him. Funny how things end up!
Today, LinkedIn is taking a step to not only encourage this connection process but make it easier.
What is LinkedIn Mentoring (Career Advice Hub)?
With the new mentoring feature, LinkedIn is making these organic, professional conversations even easier.
Suzi Owens, group manager of Consumer Products, Corporate Communications at LinkedIn told FastCompany, “Think of it as a new form of mentorship that’s virtual, lightweight, and that fits today’s changing workplace.”
Currently, the new feature is only being tested in San Francisco and Australia, but as it rolls out, you will see a section on your profile that links to a “Career Advice Hub.”
Images provided by LinkedIn
There, you can sign up to be a mentor or a mentee (no word on if you can be both simultaneously yet).
As you go through your match criteria, you can set your parameters around things like region and the type of advice you want to give/seek, such as career growth, starting a business, asking for a raise, and more.
Once you have your parameters set, LinkedIn’s matching algorithm gets to work.
You are immediately presented with potential matches that you can then choose to explore or not.
Once you select someone, they are sent a message that lets them know you’re interested in them being your mentor/mentee. If both of you agree, you officially have a mentor-mentee relationship connection.
Although there isn’t actual swiping left or right (and DEFINITELY no dating please), the feature accelerates the ability to pair like-minded people who can mutually benefit from each other.
Rather than write 2,000 words the intricacies of how the new feature works, I thought it’d be more beneficial to figure out how to leverage it once we all have access.
5 Ways Marketers Can Use LinkedIn’s Mentoring Feature
1. Give Back
We’re all super smart marketers and have so much to offer those who are up-and-coming. Seriously, you’re running a million miles an hour; Mentoring offers you the chance to slow down and reflect on all you’ve learned and how much you’ve grown. Better yet, you can pay it forward by helping someone out who hasn’t had your experiences yet.
At IMPACT, our mission is to help people and their organizations succeed. I see becoming a mentor as a means to fulfill this mission even more. Several of us go to universities or local groups to teach, so using a feature like this extends our ability to make an impact (no pun intended), and it can do the same for you!
Hari Srinivasan, Head of Identity Products at LinkedIn, told TechCrunch, “We have done research and found that among the senior ranks of our user base, nine out of 10 people have said they want to give back,” he said. “Paying it forward is a powerful force. All of them received help on the way up and now want to find a way to give that help back to others.”
2. Build Your Own Personal Brand
This is totally the marketer in me. If you’re working to grow your own personal brand or image as a thought leader, what better persona research is there than understanding what a mentee is asking?
He crowdsources content topics from his own listeners. You can uncover the same quality of information and use LinkedIn and/or your personal blog to answer those common questions. Your mentee may share your content with his or her like-minded friends, and BOOM, you have built a following to amplify the help you are providing.
Building up your own thought leadership can lead to so many possibilities. One reason I got hired at IMPACT is that I had a personal blog. Many of our hires do, as well, because it shows we exhibit one of our core values - passion.
3. Discover New Talent/Hires
If you attended IMPACT Live, you heard Mike Volpe discuss how he is constantly on the lookout for new talent. If you want to bring in good recruits, you are going to have to spend time in the market looking for solid candidates. I mean, the best people usually already have a job.
Using LinkedIn’s mentoring feature may enable you to meet the right kind of talent in an environment that’s safe and allows your mentee to open up long before the hiring or recruiting process. You can learn so much more about potential talent in these conversations than a simple phone screen - if they even apply for a job with you in the first place.
You may not need talent right now, but by expanding your network, and being helpful, you can create a decent backlog of potential hires for when you do need a full pipeline.
Even if you’re experienced, you can find a mentor for yourself! There are so many reasons and benefits to finding a great mentor.
Most of us aren’t in companies that offer a large, functional mentoring program. LinkedIn’s mentoring feature can allow you to tap into its global network to find your own mentor that’s not tied to your place of employment; one that can give you a new perspective.
As your career grows, this mentor could hang with you, regardless if you change companies.
With this program, you no longer have to awkwardly message someone and just hope they reply. This takes the guesswork out of who’s a good fit and streamlines the process of establishing your mentor-mentee relationship.
5. Shatter the Glass Ceiling
Heads up to all the women marketers and those who manage/work with them (so everyone), we are launching a podcast in the next couple weeks called MarketHer!
Our goal is to address women’s issues in the workplace head-on, in a conversational, entertaining way (i.e. no man bashing, just interesting conversations we should be having regardless if you’re a man or woman.)
So, when I first read about LinkedIn’s mentoring feature, I started to think of how women specifically could use this tool to work through challenges such as negotiating skills or learning how to toot your own horn. I employed a mentor myself - who’s a man, by the way, so seriously, we’re not trying to alienate anyone - and it’s been incredibly helpful in pushing myself past my own boundaries to grow. If the idea of finding a mentor feels intimidating, I’d highly suggest checking this new feature out.
If you’ve come out on the other side of these challenges, go back to #1, lean in and give back.
So, what do you think of LinkedIn’s new mentoring feature? Are you going to try it out? Let us know in the comments!