Jobless? Just Get LinkedIn: The transformative online world of recruitment

STUDENT ID 490300068

Approved extension until 9am 23rd November 2020.


Section 1:

What is LinkedIn?

Graphic image of LinkedIn process:

Available at:



The social networking service Linkedin, founded in 2003, is an online platform created as a professional social networking site (SNS) to build, maintain and seek relationships designed around professional purposes. In 2020, LinkedIn recorded a network of over 722 million members, in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide (LinkedIn 2020). Its purpose as a social networking service was generated based around connecting the “world’s professionals to make the workforce productive and successful” (LinkedIn 2020).


Ultimately, the role of LinkedIn as an agent of internetworked change is represented through this social networking service replacing traditional recruitment process, shifting the way individuals express and broadcast themselves online to appear more attractive towards their potential future employers. It caters “towards the need for professional self-promotion” (Dijck, 2013, p.), where users are able to take their career to the next level.

 Historic overview:

In 2003, Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, played a pivotal role in setting the path for critical parts that led LinkedIn to be a successful, billion dollar company. By 2002, a small team recruited by Hoffman, old colleagues from SocialNet and PayPal, discussed ideas relating to where businesses can meet, connect and engage with individuals online, in a secure and professional environment (Souza 2014). Through team work and motivation, LinkedIn was launched in 2003, with some 20 sign-ups a day (Souza 2014).


LinkedIn is 10 Years Old: Here's How it Changed the Way we Work

The launch of LinkedIn in 2003, the first web design.

Picture from Labay 2020

With motivation and persistence, LinkedIn started to launch job and subscriptions fees in 2005, which saw a rapid increase in users of 3.3 million (Labay 2020). In addition to these services, businesses could utilise this platform through advertising, which helped this social networking service to reach profitability in 2006. In 2010, LinkedIn had a fast growing rate of members reaching around 65 million (Labay 2020). LinkedIn was reflecting promising acceleration as an innovative social networking service. Then came 2013, with 225 million users (Labay 2020), LinkedIn was recognising the importance of university graduates and young professionals entering the workforce, being predominantly new members to their services. 2016 saw Microsoft attaining a large share of LinkedIn, valued at $26 billion, facilitating “world’s leading professional cloud and the world’s leading professional network” (LinkedIn 2020).


In more recent times, LinkedIn has more than 675 million members globally, operating as the world’s largest professional network and with over 19,000 LinkedIn employees (LinkedIn 2020) and over $8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue. Ultimately, LinkedIn has transformed the path for connections made between professionals and future employees through their diversified business model incorporating advertising, subscriptions, recruitment solutions and sales.

LinkedIn launches easy user experience through their app in 2017.

Picture from Labay 2020

Analysis of ownership:

  • In 2011, LinkedIn was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, under current CEO Jeff Weiner (Iqbal 2020) .
  • In 2016, Microsoft acquired $26 U.S. billion dollars, $196 per share, enabling services on LinkedIn to be integrated into Microsoft’s products, such as merging LinkedIn’s graphs into outlook, Calendar, Office, Windows and other Microsoft apps, as referred to by Eadicicco (2016).

By incorporating these extra tools part of the Microsoft cooperation, LinkedIn has still remained to their original ethos of networking, providing individuals across the globe with the ability and technology to build on personal branding and connections which will be addressed in their business model.

Business model of LinkedIn:

 The social networking service offers variety of solutions for individuals and businesses around the world. LinkedIn’s business model reflects the convenience of its service, recruitment, advertising and interconnectedness, as well as being a “freemium business model” (Pereira 2020), a free service but provides other resources that comes with a cost, for example ‘LinkedIn Premium’ account subscription. Its business model reflects the multi-sided platform that offers different resources to its users. Below is a detailed LinkedIn business model surrounding their key partners, channels, value proposition, key activities and customer relationships.


LinkedIn Business model, created by Jessie Stein.


Revenue streams:

LinkedIn’s powerful transformative effects: Socially, Economically and Culturally.

LinkedIn internet ecology will be explored through its transformative effects it has had socially, economically and culturally.

Social transformation

LinkedIn is recognised as a transformative social networking services, impacting the networking experience between LinkedIn users, paving the way for individuals to connect socially on a professional level. LinkedIn is open to anyone, socially making up of students and professionals. This professional environment is acknowledged by Papacharissi (2009) who states that this networking service “is structured architecturally so as to communicate a space that is publicly accessible” (Papacharissi, 2009, p. 208). Thus, this structured public professional space reflects LinkedIn’s internet ecology in enhancing social transformation, through increased employment opportunities and easily accessible professional communication.

These user-friendly spaces is further identified by Utz and Breuer (2019), who reflect upon the relationship between LinkedIn and its users networking relationships. Networking is defined as:

“A set of behaviours aimed at building and maintaining interpersonal relationships that possess the benefit to facilitate work-related activities” (Utz and Breuer, 2019),


Sharone (2017), elaborates on LinkedIn’s internet ecology of networking, by emphasising this social networking service to encourage a professional social environment through technological affordances. Recognised through the first step of an individuals “profile page creation that includes their career history, educational background and picture, to connect to other members or join various groups of members… post updates of recent activities or ideas” (Sharone, 2017, p. 8).

Individuals are able to browse each others profiles allowing them to seek other mutual connections.  The social effects of networking online are more beneficial towards individuals, as “networking in person is often a dreaded activity” (Sharon, 2017, p. 9). LinkedIn as a social networking service can be recognised as an easier tool of communication, then communicating in person, whilst also being efficient in developing and maintaining professional relationships. This is evident as users on LinkedIn utilise this networking service to connect with old contacts, as stated by Sharon (2017),

There’s a tremendous amount of people that I know of that had gone different ways… if you’ve lost touch you can look them up.. you can always say “Hi, so-and so… I would like to connect up with you…”(Sharon, 2017. P. 7)

The social effects of networking is further reflected by Papacharissi (2009), who continues to distinguish the business-oriented site, to provide individuals to have a network of contacts employed “to maintain communication, trade information and refer each other” (Papacharissi, 2009, p. 204), where the connection between users requires a “pre-existing relationship or the intervention of a mutual contact” (Papacharissi, 2009, p. 204). Ultimately, LinkedIn has provided a new way for individuals to relate socially and professionally, open to anyone who has the desire to partake in professional online relationships.

Economic effects:

 LinkedIn as a transformative networking site, has provided individuals around the world with job opportunities, encouraging a strong workforce in different economies. As Sharone (2017) recognises that social networking services are being utilised to recruit individuals for jobs, “from executives to hourly employees” (Sharon, 2017, p. 2), with LinkedIn focusing on one’s professional life, as one’s “profile fields resemble the categories of a cv but do provide fields for hobbies or favorite music” (Utz , 2016 p. 2688). LinkedIn’s internet ecology in regard to job openings, mutual connections to employees, recruiters and through job application process, reflects it’s transformative and competitive nature, providing jobs for individuals and recruiters, encouraging a strong workforce.

Additionally, to aid users with ensuring their profile seems intriguing to future employers and professionals, LinkedIn has introduced ‘Training Finder’. Another example of its internet ecology in terms of products, that allows job seekers to acquire new skills and advance their careers (Blue 2016). By encouraging relevant training programs, affiliate with employers and professionals, new skills that the program will teach them, will reflect the specific jobs users will be qualified for and their estimated salary (Blue 2016). This social networking service is reflecting an integrative online learning environment, for users wanting to seek and gain insights into future job opportunities.

LinkedIn introduces Training Finder for job seekers to acquire new skills

The homepage of ‘Training Finder’, an easy to use tool to start one’s career with online training programs.

Photo credit: Techgenzy


LinkedIn Culture Deck

Photo taken from ‘LinkedIn Culture Deck’, representing LinkedIn’s values as a company.

Photo credit

LinkedIn as an internetworked change is identified to transform the online culture for recruiters, reflecting the significance social media sites can have upon our contemporary world. LinkedIn has provided a new area for recruiters, replacing the traditional process of outsourcing, campus recruitment, consultancies and referrals. Ruparel, Dhir, Tandon, Kaur and Islam (2020), identify these transformation within the recruitment process culture by acknowledging these old recruitment methods to be

“Taking a backseat as online job portals and social media platforms take over the screening process and the shortlisting of candidates fit for the job” (2020, p.1)

Furthermore, Ruparel et al. (2020) reflects upon the increasingly popular platform of LinkedIn and other professional social media sites, to be utilised in the recruitment and hiring processes. For example, in the United States, recruiters have been started to recognise the value these social networking sites bring to the recruitment and hiring process, becoming dependent “heavily on social networking sites, especially professional social media sites, to hire suitable candidates”(Ruparel et al. 2020). Thus, the result of LinkedIn’s internet ecology is representing how technology has overtaken the conventional methods of recruiting due to their easily accessible and communicative nature, as well as the large pool of candidates available online.

Similarly, DeNardis and Hackl (2015), also analyse the online professional cultural transformation that LinkedIn has brought about, through the technological affordances it provides users to discuss, comment, engage and share information about oneself or topics in a professional manner. DeNardis and Hackl (2015) reflect LinkedIn internet ecology transforming culture through their concepts of:


  • The intermediation of use-generated content (e.g. posting about recent job takings, qualifications, internships)
  • The possibility of interactivity among users and direct engagement with content (e.g. interacting with employees, commenting and liking posts, sharing interesting posts and initiating conversation).
  • The ability for an individuals to articulate network connections with other users (e.g. Connect with mutual connections on ones LinkedIn profile to expand their network)


However, the role of internetworked change comes under scrutiny through the concerns of digital inequality that can be created online. Sharone (2017) recognises how the digital divide is still persistent even with the widespread use of technology, with inequalities stemming from online skills. Sharone states:


“New technologies are not simply empowering all skilled users but may make some workers – including skilled users of SNS – more vulnerable to systematic exclusion from the labor market” (Sharone, 2017, p. 4).


Moreover, LinkedIn has also taken action in fighting online inequalities on their platform. Cohen (2020) states that the professional networking system has expanded their employment and retention of Black employees, for leadership and executive roles. Chief of marketing and Communications, Melissa Selcher, at the giant social networking service outlines the appropriate steps that must be taken, she states:

“Systematic racism is one of the most pernicious barriers that afflicts our global society… The U.S. rate of unemployment for Black people is more than 35% than the white unemployment rate… Black professionals are also disproportionately employed as the essential workers in the economy today” (Cohen 2020)


LinkedIn strives to be an anti-racist culture, by hiring and growing their employees from “underrepresented groups and invest in a diverse and inclusive environment” (Cohen 2020).


Linked In ecology Ecosystem map



LinkedIn provides a great online culture for recruiters, as Komljenovic (2019) also emphasises the interconnectedness and social relations this digital infrastructure provides for “students, graduates, professionals, training institutions and also retirees” (p.1), ultimately, enhancing professional practices of communication and self-promotion.

Parker (2020) reflects more upon the key internet ecology of LinkedIn’s activities:

  • Platform development + adding new features – drives monthly users to remain engaged and active
  • Hire and retain
  • Protect – users information and data
  • Develop – partnerships with universities, recruitment business, companies and enterprises to remain competitive.

These key activities represents the core work of LinkedIn’s ecology, constructed to ensure quality user experience, offering various of opportunities to its partners and users. There are challenges with unequal opportunities as a result of digital inequalities, but with the correct resources and visibility to stop these inequalities and change the route, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful professional networking sites, that has transformed the labour market within our contemporary world.


Blue, A. (2016) How LinkedIn is Helping Create Economic Opportunity in Colarado and Phoenix. LinkedIn Official Blog. 17 March 2016. Available at:

Cohen, D. (2020, June 16). Linkedin Updates Its Plans To Take On Racial Inequality. Available at:

DeNardis, L., Hackl, A.M. (2015) Internet governance by social media platforms, Telecommunications Policy, 39 (9SI) (2015), pp. 761-770.


Eadicicco, L. (2016, June 13). LinkedIn CEO: Here’s Why I Sold the Company to Microsoft. Available from:


Iqbal, M. (2020, November 6). LinkedIn Usage and Revenue Statistics 2020. (online) Available from:


Komljenovic, J. 2019. “Linkedin, Platforming Labour, and the New Employability Mandate for Universities.” Globalisation, Societies and Education 17 (1): 28–43.


Labay, G. (2020, May 30). How was LinkedIn Developed? (online) Wiredelta. Available from:


LinkedIn. (2020). About LinkedIn. Retrieved from the LinkedIn website:


LinkedIn. (2020). LinkedIn History: The Road to 300+ Million Members. (online) Top Dog Social Media. Available at:


Ruparel, N., Dhir, A., Tandon, A., Kaur, P., & Islam, J.U. (2020). The influence of online professional social media in human resource management: A systematic literature review. Technology in Society, 63, 101335.


Sharone, O. (2017), “LinkedIn or LinkedOut? How Social Networking Sites are Reshaping the Labor Market”, Emerging Conceptions of Work, Management and the Labor Market (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 30), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 1-31.


Souza, J. (2014, February 4). The Epic History of LinkedIn: From Then to Now #LinkedIn. (online) Social Media Impact. Available at:


Statista (2020). Annual revenue of LinkedIn from 2017-2020. (online). Available from:


Parker, B (2020, February 9). LinkedIn Business Model (2020) How does LinkedIn make money? Available at:


Papacharissi, Z. (2009). The virtual geographies of social networks: a comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld. New Media & Society, 11(1–2), 199–220.


Pereira, D. (2020, August 24). LinkedIn Business Model. (online). Available from:,also%20on%20recruitment%20and%20advertising.


Utz, S. (2016). Is LinkedIn making you more successful? The informational benefits derived from public social media. New Media & Society, 18(11), 2685–2702.


Utz, S., & Breuer, J. (2019). The Relationship Between Networking, LinkedIn Use, and Retrieving Informational Benefits. Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking, 22(3), 180–185.


Van Dijck, J. (2013). ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society35(2), 199–215.