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Employers will be able to get their open positions in front of job seekers earlier in their search after a recently announced integration between LinkedIn and Microsoft Word.
The new tool is called Resume Assistant, and it presents open jobs to candidates at the very beginning of their search process, when they are polishing up their resumes in Microsoft Word, which more than 80 percent of professionals use to update their resumes.
As job seekers work on their resumes in Word, they'll see job postings based on the role and industry mentioned in the resume and can go directly to those job posts without having to begin a web search.
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"For the last dozen years or so, we've thought of Google as the starting point for most job searchers," said Joel Cheesman, a recruiting technology industry veteran and the founder of Ratedly, which monitors anonymous employee complaint websites. It's common knowledge that high SEO rankings on Google equate to job board success, and Google itself has recently crashed the job search engine space by launching Google for Jobs.
"Certainly nothing could leapfrog Google as the starting point for job searches, right?" Cheesman asked. "Wrong. For a large percentage of people, the creation of a resume is ground zero for searching and applying to jobs. Putting job openings in front of users creating a resume, and customizing those jobs based on the content of the resume, is simply brilliant. This move forces employers to consider posting their jobs on LinkedIn if they weren't before. Failing to do so risks invisibility."
Job seekers updating their resumes will also be reminded that they can signal to recruiters that they're open to new opportunities by switching on the Open Candidates feature on LinkedIn. Open Candidates lets users announce to recruiters their openness to changing jobs, while keeping that information hidden from their current employer. Since launching Open Candidates in October 2016, more than 10 million members have used the feature, according to LinkedIn.
Resume Assistant is not just a win for LinkedIn and employers however. Its core function is to help job seekers craft tailored resumes that will get noticed. "Updating a resume can be agonizing, especially for those making a career transition from one field to another," said Kumaresh Pattabiraman, director of product management, careers at LinkedIn. "Job seekers want to represent themselves, their skills and experiences the best that they can—after all, a resume will go through a wide range of reviews, both by humans and automated application systems."
LinkedIn provides examples of profiles related to the position being sought to help job seekers perfect their resumes. "Our research has shown that one of the hardest parts of working on a resume is knowing how to describe what you've done," said Katie Sullivan, senior program manager for Microsoft Word at Microsoft. "People might suffer from the blank-page syndrome, or they may not know the best way to describe their experience and accomplishments effectively."
Sullivan explained that the Resume Assistant uses machine learning and data analytics based on millions of LinkedIn profiles to suggest to those updating their resumes the most in-demand skills for the type of job they are seeking and examples of relevant work experience so they can showcase their best work. And it's all done within Word to stay focused on the task. The tool also connects with LinkedIn's freelance platform, for help with writing resumes, interviewing and career coaching.
"In addition to being able to better align a resume and personal brand to the open jobs that are available, the tool encourages the job seeker to write their own resume," said Angela Copeland, a Memphis, Tenn.-based career coach and CEO of Copeland Coaching. "I often talk to people who want to hire a resume writer. Ultimately, I think it's in the best interest of the candidate to manage their own resume creation to ensure that the version of themselves they wish to put out there gets out there." For that reason, she hopes that people won't overly rely on the technology when creating their resume.
Cheesman predicts the competition will move fast to replicate LinkedIn's Resume Assistant. "I'll be surprised if both Google Docs and Facebook don't replicate this by the time we say goodbye to 2018. And I suspect job boards of significance will copy this feature within the same amount of time."
Resume Assistant is currently available to those in the Office 365 Insiders program and will be available more broadly in early 2018.
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