Editor’s note Nov. 15: LinkedIn said Tuesday its career advice featur is now broadly available. The social network originally announced the update in August. Our coverage of that announcement, which contains more details on the update, follows.
Looking for work on LinkedIn? You’ll soon find something else, too — career advice from recommended mentors.
It’s a feature that’s currently being tested internally, LinkedIn said. When it arrives in the coming weeks, users will be able to list their preferences on the type of advice they’re looking for and the kind of mentor they’d like to meet — someone in a certain area or industry, for instance. From there, LinkedIn will play matchmaker and connect you with any willing mentors that meet your criteria. Mentors can also filter out potential mentees based on criteria like area, industry, and alma mater.
“This is a lightweight way to identify and connect with other members,” a LinkedIn spokesperson tells CNET, “and it works well with the informal, casual nature of today’s changing workforce.”
The larger goal may be to drive job-seekers toward LinkedIn’s “ProFinder” service, which lets users hire professional freelancers, including for job-hunting and career counseling purposes.
There’s some clear appeal here for job-hunters in need of tailored advice on things like interviews and salary negotiations — what’s less clear is how LinkedIn plans to attract qualified mentor figures to serve as pro bono career counselors for strangers on the internet, or if LinkedIn has any mechanism in place for vetting these mentors.
“Giving back is a strong force for mentors,” a LinkedIn spokesperson says. “We’re finding that people want to pay it forward. We’ve found in our initial research that 89% of senior leaders currently give or would be interested in giving advice.”