Workplace

Job help from strangers

IBM is putting a new twist on the “time-tested” practice of corporate mentoring, said Steve Hamm in BusinessWeek. Starting this year, the company has begun encouraging employees to use the Internet to “reach across its global empire with the click of a button for advice on everything from preparing for a promotion to learning how to innovate.” IBM employees interested in giving or receiving advice need only fill out a profile on the company’s Web-based directory and then search for colleagues who seem like a good fit. “Think of it as Match.com for mentoring.”

A similar dynamic has occurred on social networking sites, where “complete strangers” help out-of-work counterparts, said Sarah E. Needleman in The Wall Street Journal. On sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, “they’re sharing job leads, leveraging their networks, and making referrals, and often putting their own reputations on the line.” Interestingly, these instant mentors often don’t seem to expect much in return. Many understand the frustration of getting lost in the job-application shuffle. “A lot of good people are not even getting their résumé seen because employers aren’t digging that deep into the pile,” says Jason Blais, one of 4,000 followers of JobAngels, a group on Twitter.com that connects people looking for jobs with do-gooders who want to help.

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