When I coach clients on LinkedIn, I always make the distinction that LinkedIn serves as a networking tool first, and job board second. Its primary purpose is to help you make new connections and nurture your current ones, in order to support your long-term career growth.

Since Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, we've seen a number of new features rolled out. The latest is Career Advice. This feature helps you to identify mentors within your industry who can provide advice, and possibly other connections. You fill out a short form about what type of advice you are seeking and LinkedIn will send you notifications with people who can support you. The concept of a mentor can be useful whether you are a job seeker, business owner, or otherwise.

With or without this feature, seeking out mentors in your line of work is something that I would recommend to anyone.  If you are changing careers, LinkedIn can be used to identify people who are performing the type of work that you want to get into. You can then contact them for career advice and add them to your network. Who better to learn from than people who are doing what you want to be doing!

What can you learn from a mentor? You'll learn what skills you need to obtain, how to obtain them, what companies to target in your search, which ones to avoid, and so on.

Coaching and mentoring are very similar in nature. Like mentoring, coaching has been shown to be a highly effective way to learn a new skill or achieve a goal. This is why the clients that go through my full coaching program get the best results, rather than just getting a resume written. It's one thing to have someone do something for you, but it's another to be shown how to do it on your own.

The Career Advice feature is brand new, just out of the pilot phase. Its effectiveness remains to be seen but it's available to everyone and can be found on your profile, just below your summary and photo.
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