Resumes are one of those necessary evils that we all have to deal with. They're absolutely required when you're in the process of applying for a new job, and even when you've got a job that you like just fine, it's still a good idea to keep your resume up to date just in case you change your mind one day, or (heaven forbid) you're laid off or fired.

While I personally understand the importance of putting together a great resume, it's never really been my favorite thing to do. And, apparently, I'm not alone.

According to Microsoft, nearly 70% of people say they have difficulty portraying their work experience effectively, and 50% struggle to tailor their resume to a specific job opportunity. Furthermore, job applications on LinkedIn have increased 40 percent year-over-year, signaling increased competition for jobs.

Microsoft knows the pain we feel when we've got to put together a killer resume, and they've just announced a very cool collaboration with LinkedIn to make our lives much easier: Resume Assistant, powered by LinkedIn. Currently a new feature in Microsoft Word available to Office 365 subscribers (first to those enrolled in the Office Insiders program), Resume Assistant leverages the power of LinkedIn by providing intelligent tools to help job seekers improve their resumes, right from within Word.

More specifically, with Resume Assistant, you can...

  • Leverage relevant examples. See how top people in a field represent their work experience and filter by industry and role for a personalized experience.
  • Identify top skills. Find the most prominent skills for the type of job you're seeking so you can more easily increase your discoverability.
  • Customize a resume based on real job postings. People can see relevant job listings from LinkedIn's 11 million open jobs and customize their resume to appeal to recruiters.
  • Get professional help. Easily connect to ProFinder, LinkedIn's freelance platform, to get additional hands-on resume writing, interview, and career coaching.
  • Let recruiters know you're open. Candidates can quietly let recruiters know they are open to new opportunities with Open Candidates.

Pretty cool stuff.

I don't know about you, but I'm personally looking forward to giving this new feature of Word a try the next time I need to update my resume. Until then, I'll keep a copy handy in my drawer -- just in case.