News & Analysis

LinkedIn Unveils AI-powered Services

With Microsoft and OpenAI on their side, it is no surprise that LinkedIn is betting big on AI

If you talk technology enablement today and don’t refer to artificial intelligence (AI) in the same breath, people may consider you fit for the lunatic asylum. So, it comes as no surprise that when professional networking platform LinkedIn last night took the wraps off a slew of new services powered by AI. 

The platform also has a far more compulsive reason for going the AI way – it is owned by Microsoft, which also owns 49% of OpenAI, the harbinger of modern day AI in the form of Generative AI (Gen AI) chatbots. Given this backdrop, LinkedIn has brought in a set of tools that can assist people in seeking jobs and surfacing the right learning material. 

Of course, we would add the caveat here that the new services have just arrived and it will be sometime before we could provide a definitive view of how helpful they are or whether they are only adding to the hype that use-cases built around foundation models are getting built up as artificial intelligence smarts. 

Helping users apply for jobs is a key

Now, coming to the features that LinkedIn has brought in, the focus appears largely on helping users to make smarter job applications and sharper covering letters that help highlight one’s resumes and even the profiles. Old timers would recall the days when LinkedIn would step in to craft resumes and job applications via actual humans helping out. 

Before delving into the details of the new services, it is important to understand the bigger purpose of this rollout. The company, which has had previous trysts with AI by threading in technology on to its products, is a past master at connecting the dots that would make the user’s life easier and the platform faster to navigate. 

Old timers would recall the quality of suggestions that LinkedIn would provide, both in terms of networking as well as content. Often users would recall how eerily right these recommendations appeared as though there was an element of divine intervention in bubbling up the prospective connections when we want them most. 

LinkedIn was smart; What’s with the new AI thrust?

If artificial intelligence was already on their plate, what’s the company doing with a set of new releases now? To put it simply, LinkedIn does not want to miss out on the AI-led tools market that aims to do human-centric tasks and achieve the outcomes much faster. Which was also why they launched the OpenAI-powered toolkit last October. 

Another reason is that the company has lower expectations from users around the AI game compared to its peers such as Meta, given that the latter is facing existential threats over the explosion of Gen AI. It is more about a fear of missing out (FOMO) for these players whereas for a platform like LinkedIn, there is hardly any competitive challenge. 

A quick look at some of the new features

Now, about new features, the first relates to better job searches and applications. Now users can do so with conversational prompts though at the backend it still relies on job postings. While it is a smart feature to have, one is not sure very specific searches would yield good results – not because the AI is ineffective, but because there aren’t any such job postings available. Maybe, this is how LinkedIn hopes to add to the listings. 

The next feature kicks in when one has actually found a job or jobs. Now AI can help users generate a letter of introduction, a covering letter and also review one’s resume and other work in order to ensure that they’re all perfectly pitched. Once again, we would wait to see how the system works before giving it a thumbs up. 

LinkedIn turned bullish on video learning some time ago and recent trends of how users were relating to it has made the company drive traffic towards skilling up in AI. The modules include some technical skills and a few non-technical ones. Reports suggest that traffic around these have gone up a whopping 160% within 12 months.  

Another new feature for Premium subscribers has been named “expert advice, powered by AI” where preeminent instructors such as Alicia Recce and Lisa Gates’ expertise will be channelled into the platform. These AI-powered coaches would deliver responses personalized to the users. What’s more, these would appear as personalized coaches that a user could benefit from while watching a video course. 

And last but not the least, LinkedIn is using AI to power its search feature, one that has evoked criticism for a long time. The company says that it will provide more details around the search experience in the coming weeks. Maybe, we could see more conversational searches as a quicker and easier alternative to the current experience. 

From the looks of it, LinkedIn appears to have taken the ship forward in the right direction by using AI-led innovation in use cases that would be of immediate help to users and not something that’s ephemeral.