Get a Job Already!

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Getting a job has never been harder according to Peter Capelli, the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School of Business. His new book, “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs” has been getting a lot of press. One main point is that companies’ Human Resources departments are relying on computers to pre-screen candidates by searching for certain keywords. If you’ve been gainfully employed now at a company for several years, more than likely if you applied for your own job you wouldn’t even get an interview unless you used the right buzzwords.

Get Social to Get a Job

Career counselors are stressing using keywords and gaming the computers but are also emphasizing social media like LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE: LNKD) and Facebook, Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and job sites like Monster Worldwide, Inc (NYSE: MWW). According to an infographic and article using social media sites increases the chances of getting hired from 1 in 219 to 1 in 10. Monster even has a professional network on Facebook called BeKnown. An important part of BeKnown is keeping your personal and professional social profiles separate. This is important, why? Straight from the infographic, “Because 37% of employers use social media sites to research job candidates” and “11% of companies don’t use social media to research job candidates but plan to.”

It’s not always negative for a company to check out your social media profile as 29% of companies found something positive that caused them to hire someone.

I’ve written before about Klout and Kred scores (ratings of how influential you are on social media) and a recent Slate article (reprinted in The Washington Post business section October 7, 2012) debated the utility of advertising for a community manager with a Klout score of >35. It’s actually pretty easy to get a Klout score much higher than that just by retweeting and posting on Facebook on a daily basis. Therefore, is it a valid job credential? Probably not, as it’s all too easy to raise your score and game the system.

The point is that social media, like it or not privacy advocates, is here to stay as part of the job search. This should be a positive for these three stocks as more people realize they have to get with the program and put together a professional social profile. According to a recent Jobvite survey, 52% of jobseekers use Facebook, with LinkedIn lagging at 38%.

Logging onto LinkedIn And Facebook

LinkedIn has a P/E of 966.97 and a forward P/E of 91.45. The short interest has been gradually increasing as earnings on October 29 approaches. LinkedIn offers advertising and subscriptions for employers and job seekers and expects to more than double the number of users, but some analysts claim it's a saturated market and its forward utility is in question. A large majority of job seekers just go with the free profile rather than the subscription. Of 17 brokers covering LinkedIn the high price target is $157.00 and the low target is $115.00 just two dollars lower than it is today. At least it's promising that the forward P/E is a tenth of its current P/E.

Facebook, yes the reviled Facebook, is trading at a 70.59 P/E and a forward P/E of 32.90. If you are looking for work you can't afford not to be on Facebook, although likely you won't be clicking on ads to buy anything. Companies still want your "like," however. What the real value of Facebook is anybody's guess. But at least they are trying some new inititatives. On September 27, Facebook may have finally figured out one way to monetize itself by making available a feature called Facebook Gifts which allows users to send gifts, chocolate, gift cards even Uber driver credit to their Facebook pals. It’s already available on Android with iPad and iPhone soon to follow. This real time etailing initiative is likely to herald a shift to headwinds that lift Facebook out of the doldrums. Facebook just announced on October 8 it is also trying out a new wishlist button called Collection featuring hot retailers like Michael Kors, Victoria's Secret, and Pottery Barn. Still, it was downgraded earlier that day by Richard Greenfield of BTIG to a sell.

Has Facebook finally gotten to a value buy? Well, it's certainly better here than on its IPO debut. Sentiment just seems to be so consistently negative on this name despite a number of positive attempts to monetize that it may be Buffett time to buy when there's blood on the street.

Takeaway on a Takeout

Monster Worldwide would seem to be the bargain here at a 19.19 P/E but the name is so volatile, down some 10% on Friday after rumors that private equity was walking away from the name then right back up on October 8 on chatter that there might still be suitors.

The problem has always been that like Groupon with multiple coupon sites, there are multiple job search sites out there. Even their BeKnown collaboration with Facebook gives them little competitive edge. The only reason to be in Monster now is on hopes of a private equity takeout. What was once innovative is now just noise. This is just as speculative as a biotech before a late stage trial.

All three of these names should be thriving in a no job growth environment. Even if the economy revved up LinkedIn and Facebook have value in an economy where there is no such thing as job security and if you have a job, you should always keep up with your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Monster is the most speculative and only for those with a strong stomach.

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leglamp has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and LinkedIn and has the following options: long JAN 2014 $20.00 calls on Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Facebook and LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.

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