According to a Linkedin blog (Feb 2018), “more than 50% of professionals find it challenging to customize their résumé for a specific role”.
Sound familiar? Don’t despair. Your prayers may have been answered.
Linkedin and Microsoft created what they claim to be a solution and it’s called Resume Assistant.
Linkedin reports that this feature will help you “craft your most compelling résumé yet” and “help showcase the best version of you and land the job you love”.
Well you know what they say about something that sounds too good to be true……
So, before you get too excited and invest in Office 365, let’s peel back the curtain and look at the facts.
What Resume Assistant isn’t:
It doesn’t help you create a résumé from scratch. To use Resume Assistant for it’s intended purpose, you need an existing résumé and ideally a really good one, otherwise the help won’t really help.
What Resume Assistant is:
The feature was created to help people with “editing their résumés”. Notice it’s “editing” and not “writing”. It’s supposed to help you with improving your current document but not help you write one from the ground up.
Word (Office 365) + Linkedin = Resume Assistant
The solution was to create an AI-based résumé writing system that combines the intelligent recommendations of Linkedin with the word-processing power of Microsoft Word. Sounds great in theory, but how does it work exactly and how effective is it?
The way Resume Assistant works might shock you
Resume Assistant pulls data from peoples’ Linkedin profiles based on the criteria you enter and then displays this data as “recommended work experience” and “top skills” for your review and consideration.
But this goes both ways.
Your profile information is also available through Resume Assistant for others to use at their discretion unless you have disabled this feature in your settings which I recommend you do.
Even though you can’t prevent everyone from stealing your Linkedin profile information, you can certainly make it harder by making it unavailable to Resume Assistant.
Theory vs Reality
The theory behind Resume Assistant is to give users ideas of “what they might want to consider for their résumé” and help them “feel more confident about editing their résumé”.
But you are supposed to use “these examples as inspiration to frame your own personal experience” and then “tailor your résumé to fit that role”. Therefore, you still need to do the “tailoring” which is the most difficult and lengthy part of the writing process.
The reality is that Resume Assistant makes it way too easy for people to cut and paste someone else’s information (which could be yours) into their résumé which is way easier to do than to come up with their own content.
The system is counter-productive
Even if users aren’t copying verbatim, by allowing them to use other people’s information, it could end up creating even more homogeneous résumés (like there aren’t enough already!).
This goes against the very thing you should be doing which is developing a document that showcases your unique “brand” and that is customized for a specific position.
I gave Resume Assistant a whirl which prompted the big question…..
After I entered my target role and industry in the boxes provided, the system spit out seven examples of “recommended work experience”.
But here’s the big question.
What criteria did Linkedin use to determine what profiles they selected to pull data from?
Ideally it would be profiles that are the best-written for their intended target audience, but that’s subjective and impossible to determine, even for a computer. So, I’m assuming it’s profiles that get many views, but that doesn’t guarantee they contain high-quality content.
As a result, I wasn’t sure how reliable this “recommended work experience” data was.
Using other people’s information is problematic
The problem with using someone else’s information is just that – it’s someone else’s information.
This flies in the face of creating a résumé that’s unique to you which is the only way you are going to stand out from your competitors.
Here’s the scary part
The quality of the information that Resume Assistant gives you is only as good as the information that Linkedin users put into their profiles.
Someone else’s content doesn’t necessarily give you what you need. It might not be written well. it might be irrelevant. It might be missing something important. It might be too vague and “task oriented”. It might be too specific to the person who created it. It could be a combination of any of these things.
In other words, the content that is recommended is inconsistent at best and lacking at worst.
Depending on what role and industry I entered, I got different outcomes in terms of the quality of examples that were offered as “recommended work experience”.
While some of the content was relevant and well-written, I found that to be the exception, not the rule. Much of it was too vague and generic or too specific to the individual who wrote it.
In some cases, the system did not have any content to offer at all which was frustrating. Or there was way too much information which was overwhelming.
The benefits are limited
It appears that Resume Assistant’s primary benefit is to help you edit an existing résumé so that you can tailor it to a specific job.
It does this by recommending content that looks like it’s pulled from the work experience sections of Linkedin profiles which I guess you are supposed to use as inspiration for your résumé’s work history section.
Tailoring a résumé requires more help than what is offered
The fact is, properly “tailoring” a résumé requires way more than just tweaking your work history.
Firstly, you have to transform what are typically generic tasks into strong impact statements to effectively express your key contributions and achievements. This is what will prompt people to actually read your résumé and immediately understand how you can help them.
Secondly, you still have to improve all the other sections of the résumé which are arguably more important and much harder to develop, such as the professional profile. Resume Assistant can’t help you with this.
Résumé writing should not be taken lightly
Writing a winning résumé is actually way more complex than what is suggested.
It requires a thought process to come up with strategies that a computer feature can’t duplicate. Even if it could, the user would still have to understand what are the most effective strategies and content to implement.
Use Resume Assistant with caution
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use Resume Assistant. What I’m saying is, don’t expect much.
Depending on the criteria you enter and your level of writing expertise, it might give you some ideas you can use (but not copy!). But then again, it might not.
Even if you get some great ideas, it’s just that – ideas. You still have to do something with them. That’s that hard part.
Here’s some RI* help from an actual human.
If you’d like to discuss how we can work together to create a résumé to help get your foot in the door, click here to set up a free discovery call.
* Real Intelligence
Hi! I’m Diana.
I leverage over 10 years recruitment and sales/marketing experience to create attention-grabbing résumés, cover letters, and Linkedin profiles that help job seekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired. You can learn more about my story here and about how I can help you here.
Need help? That’s what I’m here for!
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