Looking for a Mentor? LinkedIn is Now Playing Virtual Matchmaker

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Your future wise-one awaits.

Two women in a cafe

This post originally appeared on Girlboss.

First, a brief dramatisation to set the scene:

Society: “Millennials are a bunch of insufferable know-it-alls who act like they don’t need anybody’s help! Also, they refuse to make eye contact with anything but their phones.” *shakes fist angrily at sky and tells everyone to get off their lawn*

Young People: “Unfair and untrue! Sixty-three percent of us feel that our leadership skills could use some TLC. And OK fine, eye contact is hard.” *immediately ceases eye contact and looks at phone*

LinkedIn recently launched a free service that matches potential mentees and mentors, all from the comfort of your digital device. It’s Tinder for your career.

For the initial rollout, an unspecified portion of LinkedIn users will have access to the new feature, but all 500 million members are expected to have access by the end of the winter.

Here’s how it works: There’s a new “career advice hub” on your LinkedIn dashboard that will prompt you to fill out a profile depending on whether you’re seeking mentorship or you want to be the guiding light, with questions that designate the region in which you work, your industry, and where you went to school.

The next section delineates what kind of advice you’re hoping to receive or dish out, whether that’s in the realm of entrepreneurship, job searches, or growing within your current career.

After that, the Algorithm Elves set to work right away; you’re alerted of your matches, and if you both choose to accept, you’re free to strike up a conversation on LinkedIn messenger or elsewhere.

The problem with seeking out mentorship IRL or online, of course, is that it can feel like a big ask for mentees. But it can be a huge boon to your career, and as it turns out, we might not be giving the big shots we idolise the credit they deserve: According to LinkedIn’s internal analysis, 89 per cent of senior leaders that use the platform are interested in giving advice.

Hari Srinivasan, director of product management at LinkedIn, says they’ll be honing ways they can better facilitate initial conversation by relying more on overlap of the things two people have in common, according to Fast Company.

Which is great, because millennial or not, cold calling someone to ask for their time and attention has never exactly been a *fun* task. This tool could be a game changer in that it does a lot of the hard work of aligning goals and values for you. Let’s just hope the new feature doesn’t lead to a whole bunch of mentor ghosting.

Not only does it provide a more natural point of entry (the mentors you’re approaching did voluntarily sign up to do this, after all, so they’re expecting to be contacted), it’s also utilising the entirety of LinkedIn’s membership base, so the chances of you connecting with someone you might not otherwise is an exciting prospect.

Better brush up that LinkedIn profile and go forth, knowledge sponges; your future mentor awaits.

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