LinkedIn + Microsoft’s Resume Assistant: Friend or Foe?
The biggest conversation about LinkedIn nowadays seems to be about the perils of Resume Assistant, a child of LinkedIn and Microsoft’s recent marriage. LinkedIn touts Resume Assistant as an integration between LinkedIn and Microsoft Word that will help you accurately reflect who you are and what you’ve done, in a way that is tailored to the role you’re aspiring to. But is it all that?
What is Resume Assistant?
According to Rock Your Resume With Resume Assistant From LinkedIn + Microsoft, this is how Resume Assistant works: If you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, you can open Resume Assistant from the Review tab in Word. You can then enter a position and industry, and Resume Assistant will pull information from millions of people’s public profiles on LinkedIn that match that position and industry. You can then use the examples to inspire your own resume content and “make sure you stand out from the crowd.”
LinkedIn claims, “Ditch the one-size-fits-all resume… Resume Assistant provides the top skills other professionals in your desired role and industry have, as well as job requirements from real job postings. You can then think about how your applicable skills can be transferable for the role you want, then tailor your resume to fit that role.”
All this sounds too good to be true. It requires users to think hard on their own, resist the temptation of copying and pasting, and basically write their own resume. I’m not sure it will make resume writing easier for anyone who does it right. Perhaps it will provide some valuable research, but beyond that, I’m not clear on its usefulness.
Is Resume Assistant Evil?
One of the most vocal opponents of Resume Assistant is Donna Serdula, who claims LinkedIn is committing “Profile Plagiarism.” I don’t know about that. Certainly a diligent person can do their own search for people with their position title, and model their profile or resume off someone else’s. My understanding is that what Resume Assistant does is crunch numbers so you get a more accurate picture of what skills are the most important to include in your profile. It seems to me that Resume Assistant is streamlining a process, not committing plagiarism.
What is disturbing to me, and to Donna, is that LinkedIn and Microsoft have failed to inform LinkedIn members that Resume Assistant will pull information from your profile unless you opt out. Even if all the information is from your public profile and your name is not attached to it, making people’s profiles automatically available for scanning is a bit sneaky, if you ask me.
Here’s how to opt out of the Resume Assistant so your information is kept out of people’s hands who are using the program. Note that if your profile is public, resourceful folks could still find your profile and “flatter” you with imitation.
- Click on your profile image thumbnail in the upper right corner.
- From the drop-down menu, select “Settings & Privacy.”
- On the Privacy tab, scroll down to “Data privacy and advertising,” and under “Microsoft Word,” flip the switch to No.
I’m choosing for now to keep my information public and available to Resume Assistant. At least I know I’ll be contributing quality material to those who need it.
How Does Resume Assistant Really Work?
Unfortunately, at this time, I am not able to tell you exactly how Resume Assistant works. I had to go to Microsoft’s article, Write your best resume in Word with help from LinkedIn in Resume Assistant, to figure out that it’s supposed to show up under my Review tab in Microsoft Word. Microsoft provides a bit of practical information, including how to opt out of having your information used. None of the information I could find on LinkedIn actually explains how to start using it. I’m hoping that will change soon.
One big question that remains for me is about the quality of information that shows up on Resume Assistant. Believe me, I’ll be testing it out as soon as that option appears in my version of Word! I’m concerned that low-quality information could steer people in the wrong direction as they’re writing their resumes. There might be something I’m not aware of, but I would not want to take just anyone’s profile in my industry and model my resume after it.
I can’t emphasize enough that someone else’s achievements are samples only! If you imitate their achievements exactly, you are either committing plagiarism or you have some work to do in distinguishing yourself in your career.
Will You Use Microsoft’s Resume Assistant?
While Resume Assistant seems like a marketing ploy to get people to subscribe to Office 365, for me, the jury is still out on whether might actually have true value. I hope you’ll test it out if it’s available to you and you’re looking for ways to improve your resume. Perhaps it will be the resume writers’ new favorite tool! I look forward to sharing more as the opportunity to use Resume Assistant becomes a reality.
If you’d like to have your resume professionally crafted by a certified resume writer from The Essay Expert, use our web contact form to send us your current resume and LinkedIn profile URL, and we’ll connect to discuss your needs further.