The right connections can change the trajectory of a person’s career. With a strong network at their side, people at every stage of their professional life can find the guidance and support they need to grow and succeed.
But building a strong network is more difficult for some than others. Let’s look at the facts:
LinkedIn members living in the lowest income ZIP codes in the U.S. receive 43% fewer invitations to connect than members living in the highest income ZIP codes.
Latino members’ LinkedIn networks are 20% smaller than white members’ in the U.S.
Black members’ LinkedIn networks are 13% smaller than white members’ in the U.S.
There is good news, though. Having a large, diverse professional community benefits everyone in the long run. In fact, LinkedIn data shows that an acquaintance is more than twice as likely to lead to a job opportunity than a close friend.
Ready to diversify your own network, meet people from different backgrounds, and help other professionals access meaningful opportunities? It all starts with a career conversation.
Career coaching benefits everyone
When we help others grow, we grow, too. Here’s how opening your network can positively impact your own career:
• Strengthen your leadership skills The best leaders are able to support team members at various stages of their career. Coaching conversations provide an opportunity to build this skill set in an informal setting.
• Grow and diversify your network Being open to career conversations can help you meet professionals from beyond your typical circle, expanding your network in new directions.
• Embrace the power of reflection Reflecting on your career journey not only helps others to follow in your footsteps — it can help you take stock of how far you’ve come and where you want to go next.
3 ways that you can help
Whether you have 15 minutes to spare or are looking to build a long-term mentoring relationship, there are lots of actions you can take to help close the gap between talent and opportunity. Here are three ways to get started:
1. Respond to people seeking advice
LinkedIn members regularly post about professional challenges and ask for help and advice. Depending on their needs, here are some steps you can take when you encounter these posts on your feed:
• Reach out privately or comment on their post to let them know you’re open to a coaching conversation.
• Provide a relevant resource or an example from your own career that might help them overcome a barrier they’re facing.
• Share any open roles at your company that sound like a good fit for their unique interests and skills.
2. Signal that you’re open to career conversations
Let professionals outside of your network know that you’re open to having a career conversation or even becoming a mentor by taking the following steps:
• Include a few lines in your “About” section about being open to coaching or mentorship.
• Create a LinkedIn post about encouraging people to reach out if they need help or advice.
• Accept connection requests from people asking for informational interviews or guidance.
Top tip: Add your coaching skills and relevant volunteering experience to your LinkedIn profile to let people know you're committed to coaching. This can also make your profile stand out to potential employers.
3. Sign up to be a mentor
Find virtual or in-person mentorship opportunities to suit your schedule and preferences. Check out these organizations that can pair you with people looking for mentors: