Microsoft and LinkedIn May Have Just Leapfrogged Google for Job Search Supremacy

Sometimes brilliance is right at the tip of your nose; the kind that makes everyone wonder why it took so long to happen. Combined with the kind of strategic excellence that would make Sun Tzu blush, and the whole game can change. That’s what Microsoft and LinkedIn just dropped on the industry this month with Resume Assistant.

Let’s get the basics out of the way. Microsoft just integrated LinkedIn within Word, a product it says is used by 80 percent of people creating and editing a resume. As part of this integration, users can:

  • See how other professionals in their field represent their work experience, as well as filter by industry and role.
  • Find the most in-demand skills for the type of job they’re seeking to potentially increase discoverability.
  • Connect to ProFinder, LinkedIn’s freelance platform, to get resume writing, interview, and career coaching.
  • Quietly let recruiters know they are open to new opportunities with Open Candidates.
  • and … wait for it … see relevant job listings on LinkedIn and customize their resume accordingly, as well as send that resume to those open positions directly within Word.

Think about that last bullet point for a moment.

For the last dozen years or so, we’ve thought of Google as the starting point for most job searchers. As the starting point for most things on the Internet, good rankings on Google equated to job board dominance. That was, of course, until Google itself became a vertical job search engine with the launching of Google for Jobs.

Most pundits, including me, thought that would be game, set, match for Google. Certainly nothing could leapfrog Google as the starting point for job searches, right? Wrong. For a large percentage of people, the creation of a resume is ground zero for searching and applying to jobs. In essence, Microsoft outmaneuvered Google, compliments of its shiniest toy, LinkedIn.

Putting job openings in front of users creating a resume, and customizing those jobs based on the content of the resume, is simply brilliant. Add the fact that this is a product used by 80 percent of those seeking employment and you have the makings of an atomic bomb within an industry. Boom goes the dynamite.

Yes, the competition will move fast to replicate this feature. 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.

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It may also help explain why LinkedIn has stayed away from aggregating job postings from around the web. This move forces employers to consider posting their jobs on LinkedIn if they weren’t before. Having your jobs in front of candidates updating their resumes on Word sounds almost as important as making sure your postings are indexed on Google. Failing to do so risks invisibility.

I’ll add the fact that LinkedIn is going to boost its membership numbers exponentially with this integration. And as I’ve said in the past, profits aren’t in the postings, they’re in the people. Bravo, LinkedIn. Bravo.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.