Did you know that MS Office now encourages users to plagiarize your carefully written LinkedIn profile? Here’s how to protect your LinkedIn profile from plagiarism
Just to bring you up to speed: Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016. With that purchase came full integration with Office 365, the enterprise suite for email, file sharing and documents. There have been some definite upsides to that integration and one MAJOR flaw.
What Are The Positive Aspects Of The LinkedIn / Microsoft Integration?
Professionals all over the world use both Office 365 and LinkedIn. One to get the job done and the other to network and keep their careers moving forward. Merging these two vital business tools together makes sense on a lot of levels:
1. Office 365 users can access and make contact with LinkedIn’s database of 500 million + users, right from their Outlook mail window! It’s a prospector’s dream! Anyone who has a sales or HR function as part of their role understands why this is a major bonus
2. LinkedIn profile cards can be viewed directly in Outlook, by hovering over a person’s name, making it possible for you to get a good idea of someone’s experience, education and abilities before you make contact with them (#awesome)
3. LinkedIn provides the ability for businesses to target other businesses strategically. With full integration to Office 365, the sum total of much of what some of us do can all be done in one place. It’s more efficient and it comes with business intelligence that you couldn’t get through Google searches
Originally, there was another aspect that was touted as a positive, post-integration:
What Is Resume Assistant?
It is a known fact that a well-designed LinkedIn profile can do wonders for your sales, networking and job searching.
I’d know; Lyra regularly works with lawyers, professionals and job seekers to revamp their profiles to make it easier to reach their goals. It’s one of our top products!
But let’s get back to MS Office’s resume assistant…
Obviously, a solid resume is a good thing to have on file if you’re a job seeker. So imagine integrating your LinkedIn profile with a solid resume design? That was the thinking behind Resume Assistant.
It’s a function within Word that enables the user to leverage their LinkedIn profile to create a great resume, one worthy of a professional LinkedIn profile writer (cough). The idea is that the user can, through Word, go through the public profiles of ANY LinkedIn user to ‘draw inspiration’ for their own resume (starting feel faint over here…)
So, if you’re a sales rep with a pharmaceutical company, aiming for a senior level upgrade, you can mine through all the profiles of similar LinkedIn users to find the best way to state your experience and skills, to get the attention of the decision makers in your organization.
Why This Makes Me Reach For My Vapors
Forget about ‘drawing inspiration’ from the various examples, Resume Assistant obviously makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to plagiarize your profile. You know, that wonderful profile you spent hours on, agonizing over every word, or you paid me to write for you, agonizing over every dollar? Yep, that’s the one.
If you paid Lyra – or anyone else – to write that profile, it should be YOURS. If you spent hours writing it yourself, it should be YOURS. Your words are yours and your experiences are yours. Having someone be able to come along and simply lift them off your profile, for their own use, whatever the legal status, is appalling.
Your unique selling propositions, whether as a business looking to connect with clients or an individual seeking a new role, are no longer unique if they appear on other resumes and profiles.
How Do I Keep My LinkedIn Profile From Being Plagiarized Through MS Office?
Turns out all is not lost.
Post-integration, a new default setting was added in LinkedIn where you can opt out to ensure that your public profile text does not get featured in Resume Assistant.
But you have to know that this setting is there in the first place. Now that you know, you can go to the Settings in LinkedIn to opt out. The setting looks like this:
If you want to keep your profile unique, if you want to make sure that fewer people are leveraging your hard work for their own benefit, change the setting. Now.
Look, when your profile is public, it’s always open to others ‘liberating’ your text, there’s nothing you can do to deter yahoos from plagiarizing your profile if that’s their intent. But nor should we be encouraging people to do this, as though it’s okay, because in my opinion, it’s not.