Your career journey is just that—a journey. And you’ve likely learned a lot along the way from how to handle tricky office situations, to how to have tough conversations with your manager, to how to negotiate a salary offer. Now that you have all that great knowledge, it’s time to pass it along and help someone else with their career journey through mentorship.
People are always talking about the benefits of having a mentor and tips for finding a mentor. But what if you took on the commitment of finding a mentee?
More than half of professionals say they don’t currently have a mentor but would be interested in having one. But knowing where to start can be the trickiest part. In fact, of those who want to become a mentor, more than half don’t know where to begin, and more than one-third have a hard time finding the right person.
Here are a few steps you can take to find someone to mentor on LinkedIn.
Make it easier for people to engage with you
If you are open to providing mentorship, start by simply stating your intent. You can call this out in your summary. Share some details on how you can help people in their careers or some of the challenges you’ve previously faced.
There are plenty of people out there looking for a way to start a conversation with a potential mentor. Make it easier for them by publishing content on LinkedIn that might spark a conversation. Sharing an article that you find interesting or helpful could be an in for one of your followers to reach out. You could be even more direct. Share a professional challenge you’ve faced, and offer to have a conversation with anyone facing a similar situation.
If you recently attended a conference or networking event, there’s a good chance someone you met in person might be trying to follow up with you on LinkedIn–either through a connection request, a comment, or an InMail. Be sure to keep an eye on your inbox and connection requests.
Help someone outside your network
If you are especially eager to start mentoring today, there are plenty of ways to proactively find folks who need career advice. As an experienced professional, consider making the first move. The people who could most benefit from your advice may not know how to reach you. It’s my experience that the individuals who are reaching out tend to have similar backgrounds and experiences to you. This realization of the intention to reach outside of your network to share your time, talent, and connections is what inspired LinkedIn to introduce the Plus One Pledge.
One way to do this is to join relevant groups where people might be asking for help with their careers. And, by joining groups on LinkedIn, you can tap into a network of professionals who share similar interests and stay up-to-date on the latest conversations, insights, and news. For example, the Veteran Mentor Network is a great group where military veterans and supporters discuss transitioning to the civilian workforce. You can easily search for groups using search filters. Consider searching by industries, locations, or using keywords such as mentorship or career advice.
Also, keep an eye out for direct messages or posts that are looking for career advice and chime in. Follow relevant hashtags such as #careeradvice or #mentorship.
Pay it forward offline
We interact with dozens of people during the course of the day: commuting, volunteering at a local nonprofit, or even during childcare pickup or drop-off. Use these opportunities to strike up a conversation with a stranger, learn more about their career goals, and think about people in your network you can introduce them to.
Another option is to find a program in your area that works with job seekers who are outside of your network and are facing unique barriers. At LinkedIn, we’ve partnered with organizations that serve first-generation college students, refugees, formerly incarcerated professionals, and mothers reentering the workforce, among many other groups. You can search for local mentoring opportunities in the Volunteer Marketplace and reach out to a program that fits your skills and interests.
Mentorship is key for developing and sustaining a satisfying career and improving your professional life, regardless of whether you’re giving or receiving some form of mentorship. So, make mentoring someone a priority today.
Meg Garlinghouse is head of Social Impact at LinkedIn.