The following is a guest post by Felix Wetzel, Group Marketing Director at Jobsite.co.uk:
A couple of weeks ago I bought the new Kindle. It wasn’t an easy decision as I kept wondering if I was better off buying an iPad. Yes, the iPad is more expensive but at the same time it fulfils more functions than just that of a reader. Then I came across the article “Kindle vs. iPad: A False Choice” by Lance Ulanoff that neatly highlights the difference, but also the different purpose of the two devices . So, it all became clear, I wanted to have the best reader (which as an added bonus was also cheaper) and so I bought a Kindle. I can only recommend it.
The Kindle/iPad relationship is also one that can be used to illustrate the relationship between LinkedIn and Job boards. Some time ago, I stated that LinkedIn is a next generation job board, but I have to revise my judgement. It isn’t a next generation job board; it never has been and never will be. LinkedIn remains “just” a professional network. And I bet Reid Hoffman & co have no intention of being anything different. Why should they? And nor would I. They can tap into many different revenue streams; in fact there are as many revenue streams as there are reasons that people use LinkedIn. The choice of use of the individual is the real defining factor (remember razorblades in Africa?) and the real powerbase.
I primarily use LinkedIn as an address book and as a kind of an extranet that allows private conversations and organisation with a selected group of people. Others use it to find sales leads, share their views in communities or find knowledge via LinkedIn answers – it has a marvellous array of different uses. But besides from recruiters, I never heard a user say that their primary use of LinkedIn is to find a job. I don’t debate that everyone on LinkedIn keeps their profile updated to be attractive for potential suitors to come along and offer a job. But the real job hunting is done elsewhere.
The many different uses for LinkedIn put it into the position of the iPad. Whereby job boards are the Kindle, built for one purpose and for one purpose only, permanently refining, permanently delving deeper into job seeking and recruitment. That’s why it’s important for all the job boards to remember that everything we do – be it exhibitions, the integration of communities, the enabling of social networks etc– is about helping people find jobs that improve their life. Anything outside of this, anything without this very single minded purpose, is just a distraction and will ultimately weaken the service. In the same way, I don’t want to receive emails on my Kindle, or chat, or watch movies – no, I only want to read and to enjoy this experience, and that I do.
Job boards and LinkedIn (or professional networks) will be used by the same individuals but for different reasons. It’s not a matter of choosing between the two, it’s a matter of using each one for what they were designed for – or in the words of Lance Ulanoff, “as false a choice as choosing between the Kindle or the iPad, and the sooner we all stop asking people to make it, the better.”[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.].