This space is designed to explore the professional marketing field and how new, innovate technologies have changed the business. In specific, LinkedIn, the popular website and application used to manage professional profiles and network, will be the primary focal point. Overall, I will be talking about how LinkedIn has impacted the ability to skillfully network. What I want to see is how young adults are showcasing themselves to potential employers and how the LinkedIn app is a tool used within that process. Likewise, I will look at how effective LinkedIn is in enhancing job hunts as well as building future career opportunities.
LinkedIn has become the place for networking, company advertising, professional showcasing, and recruiting. It’s ability to instantly make a connection to anyone in any specialty provides unlimited opportunity for career advancement. Despite new technologies typically encountering resistance, dissipation of these issues quickly allowed LinkedIn to generate value and interest for users (Archambault & Grudin, 2012). LinkedIn continues to grow with over 315 million global users (Potter, 2010). And with estimates of more than 50% of business professionals linked-in, there is great leverage for expanding networks and creating credibility (Potter, 2010). In our technological world, its hard to imagine everyday life before it was at our fingertips. So what did people do before this communication technology was crafted?
Historical Technologies and Norms Prior to LinkedIn:
Prior to Reid Hoffman establishing LinkedIn in 2002, there was a lack of emphasis put on leveraging and building personal, professional networks (Potter, 2010). Getting a job or even hearing of a job typically occurred through word of mouth or advertisements. This exclusivity narrowed both variety and experience for seeking employers.
During the Industrial Revolution, factories employed almost any man, woman or child due to the increase in production of goods (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). Citizens had more jobs opportunities than ever. As many large companies increased in productivity and pervasiveness, employees within these organizations were able to secure more reputable positions by becoming executives or managers (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). It is clear that this time period allowed for limited prospect to network and move up the corporate ladder unless one was already affiliated or had a job with the major company (Undercover Recruiter, 2011).
The shift from the Industrial Revolution to the Newspaper Era made employers more selective when it came to hiring (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). Once a company became well-established and secure within their field, having previous management, training, and experience was high priority (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). Newspapers were a, “primary vehicle for connecting companies with employees” (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). As this medium for communication increased, it clearly became the ideal outlet for “businesses to reach as many local eyes as possible” (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). Advertisements were a common technology for getting one’s name to potential employers and companies. Before the availability of LinkedIn, the job-seeking labor force had to stay relevant and up to date with current job opportunities. Newspaper advertisements and signs throughout towns were the mediums for this. One usual advertisement was known as The Classified Ad. It’s benefits of being both profitable and effective gave people the chance to learn about the availability of positions within their regions (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). A second technology predating LinkedIn was the old-fashioned word of mouth. It was partly about who you knew, which is still relevant in today’s world (Undercover Recruiter, 2011).
Newspapers were the Internet of their time as they gave companies the chance to directly target and market to specific demographics. Similarly, magazines were effective because they were specialized. Business magazines gave professional based corporations space to display contact information and advertise their services as a whole. For example, restaurants could post positions in food related magazines while beauty industries had the ability to reach out through wellness magazines. It is here that we begin to observe a shift – “jobs were no longer based on family relationships” but rather credibility and capability (Undercover Recruiter, 2011).
Before the introduction of LinkedIn, there was a lot of effort put into job searching. Within the mid-to-late 20th century, recruiting, an industry formed solely on the basis of searching for employees, was essential in the hiring process. For aspiring workers, it was the norm to reply to advertisements in newspapers by typing out cover letters and resumes to physically mail in – a tiring and time-consuming method (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). This eventually made job searching limited to local areas within specialized fields (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). As a result of the laborious nature of getting hired, the majority of workers stayed at one job for the entirety of their career; largely in part of a ‘no-layoff policy’ from employers (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). “Help Wanted” signs portrayed in local businesses were a typical way of responding to openings. As time progressed, and the recruiters became the main technology for professional networking, the hunt for filling jobs shifted more on employers who actively sought for applicants (Undercover Recruiter, 2011).
The Internet Age overwhelmingly changed the way of securing a career within a company. Websites such as Craigslist and Monster became the norm for job postings (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). The Internet Age has shown significant growth within the past 15 years. It has expanded “from accounting for around 1 percent of all employee hires to nearly 100 percent” (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). Access to seemingly unlimited jobs has allowed job searching to reach a national level; meaning that both employees and employers can become more selective in their search (Undercover Recruiter, 2011). However, despite the technological advancements over time, there was still not a way to personalize and stand out in professional fields.
The Introduction of LinkedIn:
The creation of LinkedIn has allowed for further advancement for professional networking. Its ability to become a personal place to display achievements, experience, and interests has given a millennial generation new tools to advance their careers. Moreover, it is an innovative outlet to connect to the outside professions. Overall, having LinkedIn as an application on a phone aids in networking abilities in spite of many organizations blocking the use on personal networks (Archambault & Grudin, 2012). Further analysis and research will explore LinkedIn’s overall impact on the space of professional networking.
Archambault, A. Grudin, J., (2012). A longitudinal study of facebook, linkedin, and twitter use. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’12).ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2741-2750. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2207676.2208671
Potter, J. (2010). The History of LinkedIn. Retrieved from http://thelinkedinman.com/history-linkedin/
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (2011, January 7). Newspaper Job Classified Advertisements. Retrieved from http://www.dlt.ri.gov/newspaperads.htm
Twitter (2016). LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/linkedin
Undercover Recruiter (2011, October 28). Before LinkedIn, How Did Our Ancestors Find Jobs?. Retrieved from http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/infographic-linkedin-how-exactly-did-our-ancestors-find-jobs/
VA Law and Business Review (2015, February 4) Benefits of Joining Professional Networking and Advocacy Associations. Retrieved from http://www.virginialawbusrev.org/benefits-joining-professional-networking-advocacy-associations/