With the pandemic fuelling job losses, new features from Microsoft’s LinkedIn platform could provide some help to the UK’s 1.7 million unemployed.
Many of LinkedIn’s users may now be facing the considerable challenge of unemployment and/or trying to stand out to present their skills in a market where they may be very capable of fulfilling job roles but may not have all the formal qualifications and experience.
With this in mind, LinkedIn says that the four new tools it is launching are a way for users to bring their professional stories to life and “create a more expressive and inclusive profile”.
The first of the four new features is Cover Story, a feature that allows users to upload a video of themselves so that hiring managers can get a look at the user’s personality, communication skills and career goals. This tool has been introduced in response to figures from research conducted by Censuswide (in the US) on behalf of LinkedIn which showed that 76 percent of hiring managers believe seeing a pre-recorded video of a job seeker would be useful. Cover Story may also be a useful opportunity for freelancers to talk about their services and attract new clients.
The presence of a Cover Story video on a person’s profile will be indicated by an orange ring around the Profile photo, and the video will auto-play silently within the photo frame until the profile visitor clicks on it.
The second of the new tools is the ability for users to create a dedicated ‘Service Page’ directly from their LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn says that this could give users more “reach” to its global community of nearly 740 million members. In essence, the Service page is another opportunity for LinkedIn members such as Freelancers, SMBs or jobseekers to showcase their skills.
The new Creator Mode tool in the Profile dashboard allows anyone creating and publishing content via LinkedIn (e.g. posts, videos, articles, or comments) to engage a community and build a following in a similar way to some other social networks. For example, users can hashtag terms for their latest posts which moves their Featured and Activity sections to a prominent position on the top of their Profile and can change their “Connect” button to “Follow”. Also, for those offering live broadcasts on LinkedIn, their Profile background will show when the Live broadcast starts streaming, thereby helping to increase the visibility of the content.
Finally, the LinkedIn-powered Career Coach app for Microsoft Teams has an AI-based skill identifier which helps users (students) to understand their goals, interests, and transferable skills and align their profile with current job market trends accordingly. It also connects them to mentors and promotes skills, thereby potentially giving users a better chance of being successful in their job applications.
Last month, in a partnership with GetMyFirstJob, Microsoft introduced The Microsoft Apprenticeship Connector which is aimed at simplifying the apprenticeship process by listing vacancies across Microsoft’s network of partners and customers. It is thought that this partnership could aid young jobseekers, help bridge the tech skills gap in the UK, and assist small businesses in particular to fill apprenticeship vacancies.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
These new tools from Microsoft are designed to update the LinkedIn platform, which is known for its jobs connection, and align it better with the skills-based jobs market in a rapidly (digitally) transformed environment as countries like the UK start to come out of pandemic restrictions. These features may increase the relevance of the LinkedIn platform to employers and younger job seekers, help the platform move more into content, and help to tie Microsoft more closely within other partnerships and opportunities related to tackling the tech skills gap and promoting its services that can help with this. For users/members of LinkedIn (such as freelancers and small businesses) these features could also provide a way to showcase more of their skills, work and identity in a way that may be engaging enough to bring new opportunities and create a following and wider network that could also bring more business opportunities.