Spanning the Digital Divide: LLA Students gain LinkedIn mentors

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LLA students connect with professional coaches to spotlight their best accomplishments online


By Justin Warren


As San Francisco’s most disconnected students learn to create visibility for their successes, they start getting noticed for all the right reasons.

Thanks to a new partnership with LinkedIn, the world’s most popular online professional network, students will now be connected to expert mentors who can help them create a polished digital presence that will stand out and let them gain well-deserved recognition.

On a balmy Friday morning in October, eight students set out to connect with a team of LinkedIn employees who facilitated a workshop that taught students the importance of a strong personal brand, a compelling summary statement, a concise résumé, and, most importantly, a network of professionals who want them to succeed.

“He’s my connection,” said student Mark Nicolas of his mentor Sebastian, who coached him toward a LinkedIn profile that used language Mark says describes him “in a more professional way.”

“If I need any help, I can just ask him,” said Nicolas. “I’m glad he was my partner. He’s a cool guy.”

Creating these connections was the true purpose of the visit that was facilitated by LinkedIn’s Senior Manager of Community Relations, Katie Ferrick, and co-hosted by Recruiting Associates Shira Kogan and Mario Rosser.

“I can say without reservation that this event was one of the most inspiring things I have taken part in since joining LinkedIn,” wrote Kogan, describing the event as “an incredible opportunity for employees to come together to work with a group of ambitious, engaged, and talented teenagers.”

Sean Lyons, who directs LLA’s Workforce Development program, noted that the visit highlighted opportunities for students to share their unique stories of overcoming adversity, and building success. For many, past challenges have garnered attention, and their strengths and capabilities have not had a chance to shine through.

“Our goal is to enable students to highlight what they’re best at, and what they’re proud of, so that employers and others can learn how resilient they can be, and how dedicated they are to their success going forward,” Lyons said.

Through LinkedIn’s platform, and with the support of their mentors, students are becoming savvy at earning positive recognition, and showcasing it well.