You’ve probably read those articles that tell you to take a few deep breaths when you’re feeling anxious. I was trying that and it wasn’t working out too well.
I was preparing for a coffee chat with one of the most senior executives at LinkedIn. He had been at the company for more than 10 years, was extremely well-respected, and one of the most reputable investors in Silicon Valley. Me? I had just graduated from undergrad and was two weeks into my onboarding – a slight difference in experience.
Many of us early in our careers will have encounters with people that could change the course of our lives. This can occur in interviews, coffee chats or a simple introduction from a colleague. I felt like this upcoming meeting would be one of those conversations.
After taking a few more of those deep breaths, realizing I was simply meeting another human being, we were able to engage in a great conversation about his career journey and his personal life. It’s now been a year and half since we first met, and since then, Scott has provided me with life advice that has shaped my perspective on the world and professional guidance that has enabled me to earn my dream job.
I feel as if I was able to support him as well. Whether through facilitating introductions to younger talent, providing a diverse perspective, and showing up for each meeting with the energy to learn. Mentors can clearly support mentees, but the reverse is also true.
When reconnecting with Scott a few days ago he asked “how did we even start this relationship?” and after reflecting for a moment I remembered that it was through our own product, LinkedIn. Yet, it wasn’t simply on the platform, it was through a small powerful feature on LinkedIn that facilitated the introduction – Career Advice.
Career Advice is a simple way for LinkedIn members to get in touch with professionals to have meaningful career conversations. By opting in to use Career Advice, you can give advice to other members or request to receive advice from professionals with specific expertise you’re looking for.
Before starting at LinkedIn I had signed up for Career Advice, listed there I was new to San Francisco and looking connect with any folks that were in tech and could teach me about angel investing. Scott, on the other side of the platform saw this prompt, saw my profile, and reached out to me asking a simple yet powerful question “how can I help?”. That question led to a relationship that has grown over time, and hope to continue to nurture moving forward.
Why is this useful to you?
People understand the value of a mentor, but I hear from friends that it’s difficult to actually find one. I hear questions like:
What does that process even look like?
Where do I find them?
What do I say to them?
Career Advice has played an important role to help answer those questions for myself. It has provided me the ability to connect with folks that I would not have been able to connect with otherwise, and provide opportunities for growth that has accelerated my career. I appreciate the team that created this product and would encourage those with experience, along with folks that are just starting out, to get on the product and engage in a meaningful relationship.