It used to be that people would look at the “want ads” in the newspaper. Then HotJobs, now owned by Yahoo (YHOO), and Monster Worldwide (MWW) broke the mold by providing an online replacement for employers and job-seekers.
LinkedIn (LNKD) has taken that one step farther in the age of social media, tying together networking, job ads and even content tied to professional development or business trends. The stock has blown up as a result — LNKD priced its 2011 IPO at $45 and now trades around $200 a share.
Don’t think this is just a social media fad like Facebook (FB), however, dependent on fickle users and display advertising. While Facebook is struggling to find profits thanks to mobile challenges, LinkedIn boasts a host of corporate customers. Its annual report in February revealed a 78% jump in Corporate Solutions customers — that is, enterprises or professional organizations that use LinkedIn for recruiting or marketing services.
Also, with its Influencers content, LinkedIn is developing an extra layer to its business by providing professionals with career tips, news and other professional insights from thought leaders. And we’re talking big-name businesspeople, including Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates and former General Electric (GE) CEO Jack Welch.
My favorite plus is that LinkedIn also has a real media CEO in Jeff Weiner, who joined LinkedIn in 2008 after serving as a vice president at Yahoo (YHOO). There’s no edgy, young programmer with a mind for code but no mind for profits here, but a real executive at the helm.
Going forward, it remains clear that people are relying on connections to get jobs in the new economy — and LinkedIn is in the right place at the right time to lead this shift in how people find work.