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.

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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.

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 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.

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11 Comments on “Microsoft and LinkedIn May Have Just Leapfrogged Google for Job Search Supremacy

  1. Interesting Joel! However the move is still tied to Microsoft and that isn’t a good thing for high tech talent. About 2 years ago I moved my work off Windows and moved everything to The Cloud and Google Docs. Sure, I use Windows/Word where I work but I sure wish that I didn’t have to. So the whole move is tied to ancient technology that more and more people are finding ways to avoid. I’m eager to see Google’s and Facebook’s responses that you predict.

    1. Most people in the US are not high tech talent. Many aren’t even low tech. This introduces LinkedIn to an entirely new category of user – the hourly/lower educated worker. It’s the one area they have been struggling to reach.

      Tech recruiters have all sorts of tools for recruiting tech talent, this is a game changer.

      1. Would be surprised if low tech and not even low tech talent have access to MS Word or, if they do, would care that MS was feeding them LinkedIn data while they compose their resume.

        1. Simon, we’re talking about a huge number that currently use MS Word to create resumes. Microsoft is quoted in the release saying that number is 80 percent, and I have no reason to think that number is way off. If we look at your point, which I think is pertinent, and that number goes down to 50 percent in the next 5 – 10 years, we’re still talking about a HUGE number of users discovering LinkedIn, and discovering LinkedIn as a job search channel, for the first time. It’s also worth noting that Microsoft is making gains in cross-platform with the availability of its software on the AppStore. They’re not sitting idly by while Google grows unchallenged.

          1. Agree that the installed base of MS Word is huge. I’m betting that 80+% of users who create resumes in Word who are presented additional information in LinkedIn will either ignore completely or click on a few things and then abandon it. Some people will find their way to LinkedIn via MS Word but I doubt it will be a significant number. When it comes to MS, it’s mostly ho hum in my opinion. My guess is that MS will either dump LinkedIn within 5 years or completely ruin it!

  2. Id say that Google will introduce a similar feature in to Google Docs… no reason Google doesn’t just start to show relevant jobs as you create your resume, even making “sponsored” jobs a PPC option for recruiters, hiring managers to get right in front of them as they start the process (and I am sure they will start to do this in Gmail ads in the future). Through the new “Hired” platform they could have an option to post the ads via a PPC menu item.

    1. Probably. As I note in my post, copycatting will take hold. Regardless, with 80 percent of resumes being created on Word, we’re talking about a huge number of new LinkedIn profiles and new job seekers on LinkedIn. Even if only 25 percent of resumes were created / edited on Word, it would still be a great move.

  3. So.. if understood correctly this means we are talking the ‘link’ to the job market/those job searching is via Linkedin. There may be millions of people on Linkedin, but there are hundreds of millions of jobs that do NOT become advertised on Linkedin and where Linkedin at all involved, why again if this understood correctly has a range of limitations. Right ?

  4. Resume aids have never been as successful as people expect and my gut tells me adoption of this new feature will be minimal. The direct link from M.Word to LinkedIn is interesting, however it does not follow current job seeker behavior. Disrupting the google-first sequence will take more than resume coaching and should Google see this as a real threat, I would expect they will take a hard look at their current partnership with LinkedIn as it relates to Google jobs (a partnership that LinkedIn relentlessly touts).

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