Last month, LinkedIn introduced the ability for users of its social network for the working world to search for jobs via its iOS and Android mobile apps. Now it will let jobseekers seal the deal, so to speak: from today, users will start to be able to actually apply for those jobs via the apps as well, with the option of using their LinkedIn profiles as resume proxies. LinkedIn says the service is rolling out globally, starting today with English-speaking members.
The ability to apply without resumes is an interesting development for LinkedIn. Vaibhav Goel, a mobile product manager, notes that one of the drawbacks of applying for jobs via mobile devices up to now had been the pain of uploading and editing resumes on a small screen. LinkedIn’s job application service does therefore does a couple of things. It has created a way for you to use the profile you already have on LinkedIn itself to effectively become your resume. And perhaps more importantly, it raises LinkedIn’s own profile as a repository of information about you: if you use LinkedIn for job searches, there is a chance you may end up now uploading more and richer information about yourself for that profile to become more usable as a resume in itself. LinkedIn is still offering businesses to link out to their own sites to complete job applications, but offering a service like this is one way of trying to get them to push more activity to LinkedIn’s platform.
In a very short space of time, jobs have proven to be a popular feature of the mobile apps, which got a major upgrade in April. The existing jobs feature on the LinkedIn apps lets you browse both through search and by offering job recommendations, and those job searches already make up more than 30% of all of LinkedIn’s mobile traffic (coincidentally, the same proportion of traffic that LinkedIn gets from mobile overall), and “we’re seeing members who never view jobs on the desktop, viewing and saving jobs on mobile,” writes Goel.
This could mean that actually applying for the jobs will grow that time spent on the mobile app even further — offering the company an attractive metric that it can use to help grow its mobile ads revenues (also introduced recently) as well as the promise of better returns to those companies advertising jobs in the first place. It doesn’t look like today’s changes signal charging higher rates for placements, although this could also be on the cards.
In any case, LinkedIn has seen steady growth of its talent solutions service — the part of the business that includes revenues from job-related services. Last week in its Q2 earnings report the company said it made up 56% of its $364 million in revenue, up from 38% in 2010; meanwhile, other revenue categories (premium subscriptions and marketing solutions) have both shrunk in proportion. It makes sense for LinkedIn to capitalize on that with more functionality, on top of other things like driving advertising on mobile and desktop.
In some regards, adding the ability to apply for jobs is overdue. Not only were people already allowed to search for jobs through the apps, but a number of LinkedIn’s competitors in the online jobs space — from CareerBuilder to Monster.com — also offer the ability to do this. And that’s before considering the wave of startups that are focused on job search and applications on mobile — and nothing else. They include JIBE, which provides a B2B service to power mobile job applications for enterprises (customers include AT&T, Procter & Gamble and Walmart); and Proven, a mobile app for searching and applying for jobs whose founders say it doesn’t compete against LinkedIn because they are aiming for different sectors of the market (entry-level jobs for Proven and professionals for LinkedIn). Proven lets users upload resumes or create them on the spot in the app.
Smartphones have increasingly played a role in how people are searching and applying for jobs. A study from February 2013 from comScore (via Washington Post) found that over 6 million people have used mobile devices in the U.S. to apply for jobs, more than double compared to the year before.
LinkedIn provides a walk-through of how the job application process works on mobile here.