technology

LinkedIn’s Career Advice Hub: A Game Changer for Alumni Network Mentoring

Creating and scaling successful mentorship programs has been a long time obstacle for alumni relations professionals. We know constituents want to grow their networks and we also know they provide significant value and insights for students and other alumni. Alumni relations offices have worked vigorously to help make these matches for the alumni and have been seeking technologies to help automate what has traditionally all been done manually.

The CEO of Tassl - Melissa Schipke - has been watching this space closely, especially as it has been one of the top requests we get to incorporate into our engagement metrics platform.

“Our goal has always been to create easy-to-use tools that centralize data and help drive engagement strategy, so the idea of optimizing administrative work on matching, while finding meaningful connections for alumni would seem like a no-brainer feature enhancement. However, with the shortage of access to pre-existing engagement data, career histories, user preferences, and online activity for higher ed professionals, I’m not confident an in-house solution can provide the best experience for the alumni end user or the ROI for the offices implementing it.” - Melissa Schipke, CEO of Tassl

There are no shortages or matching algorithms that can be incorporated into a technology like Tassl. However, as anyone who ever experienced making a good match - it can be a bit more complicated than that - especially when the common occurrence of “school you went to” exists for everyone in your network.

Largely, we see successful connections made when a more personal or organic interaction happens - which is difficult to scale successfully with a technology solution. For compassion, think about the ratio of how many times you might have swiped someone on a date matching platform before you have an actual meaningful connection. Now think about applying that same practice in a more professional networking setting.

Successful matching requires data and a lot of it. This is why we were excited to hear that LinkedIn was tackling this opportunity with their new Career Advice Hub. With the access to years of valuable data and insights on users professional experiences, networks, and activity across their platform and platforms they partner with.

In a recent post on LinkedIn’s official blog, Anwesha Jalan stated that “more than 80% of professionals on LinkedIn have stated they either want to have a mentor or be one to others”. Before though there was no natural way to match people up besides sifting through the network, but now that has changed.

When you use the Career Advice Hub you are able to choose who you are getting advice from, your 1st or 2nd tier connections, people in your geographic region, or people who share an alma mater with you. The last bucket should really get alumni engagement professionals excited. From there you can choose what job function and industry you from which you would like to gain advice. Then you just leave a brief note on what you’re seeking advice on, and LinkedIn begins the process of matching you up with potential connections.

I’ve been using the tool for about two weeks now and have already made several meaningful connections. It’s important to remember that LinkedIn isn’t assigning you a mentor, but rather making suggestions on potential people to start a conversation with and develop a relationship based on specific advice you are looking for. Isn’t that what we want to be teaching students when reaching out to alumni?

Best of all, this tool is free, and it encourages your alumni and student to participate in one community rather than jumping from a mentoring platform to LinkedIn and back.

The introduction of a new resource like this sparks a lot of questions for alumni engagement shops regarding strategies around how to handle mentorship and what do to when it’s not a program that is operated directly out of your office.

For those institutions exploring how they can be more actively involved in mentorship, but don’t have the budget or bandwidth to implement their own, or just felt that an institution-controlled mentorship platform wouldn’t resonate with their constituent base to impact long-term engagement - this new solution from LinkedIn is definitely worth exploring.

Here at Tassl, we have a few suggestions on how to integrate this free service as a component of your overall engagement strategy.

  1. Identify some of your key engaged alumni who are interested in mentoring other, seeking out mentors, and are business focused who can provide feedback to you on their experience in the Career Advice Hub. This could be a great initiative for Board Members or volunteer leaders within your network.

  2. Highlight and promote that these relationships are happening and the successful connections that are made. Feature connections that are reported to you by your constituents in this initiative. This could make for great social or newsletter content. It demonstrates the value of your network community and also highlights the alums in the initiative.

  3. Create a channel to report back these connections and success stories. Most people who want to be active in a mentor network are looking to grow their network. Makes sense right? Why not use the reach of your social profiles as a “reward” for reporting on successes. It’s a win-win. Creating an easy way to share these success stories back - whether through a spot on your website or call to action at the end of your social posts - is a great way to...

  4. Record these engagements! Data on who is participating and having successful mentorships connections is important data to understand and help drive program strategy in the future. You want to know who your brand ambassadors are and who is willing to continue to support and add value to your network. These touch points can be a great entry point to other engagement opportunities across your institution. Understand that path of engagement is critical in keeping constituent on it.

  5. Know that this isn’t the complete mentor solution for your network. The audience on LinkedIn is largely business-related industries, which might not be applicable to your entire constituent base. Identify your goals going into an initiative like this to assess first if it is a good fit for your overall engagement strategy.

Need help in setting up a strategy for implementing, reporting, and understanding the impact of an initiative like the LinkedIn Career Advice Hub?

Connect us at Tassl for a strategy session!