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Utilizing AI Tools for Enhancing Your Job Search: Dos and Don’ts

Job seekers can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) tools for interview preparation, resume and cover letter editing, and various other aspects of their job search.

Utilizing ChatGPT and similar AI tools can assist in interview preparation.

As chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard become more prevalent, opinions on artificial intelligence (AI) and its integration into daily life vary. Despite ethical concerns and questions about capability, AI tools undeniably enhance efficiency and productivity, particularly for job seekers. Individuals can utilize AI to prepare for interviews, refine resumes and cover letters, and more.

To understand how job seekers can effectively employ AI tools—and when caution is warranted—we interviewed Lori Shreve Blake from the USC Career Center.

ChatGPT, Google Bard, Claude, and Microsoft Bing are conversational-style AI bots used for various purposes like search assistance and writing support. Shreve Blake suggests leveraging these bots to simulate interview scenarios. When faced with challenging questions such as “Tell me about a time you failed” or “Why are you the best fit for this job?”, individuals can request sample responses from AI tools and customize them to suit their experiences and strengths.

Moreover, these AI tools can aid in crafting thank-you notes or follow-up emails during the hiring process, providing guidance on content and tone.

Creating Your Own Resumes and Cover Letters

Shreve Blake cautioned against using ChatGPT for creating cover letters or resumes, emphasizing their critical importance in the job search process. She stressed the necessity of handling these documents with care, ensuring they are original, creative, and contain all the pertinent information that showcases one’s qualifications effectively.

Shreve Blake explained, “While AI can provide a starting point, it merely offers a framework. If you’re experiencing writer’s block and need a place to begin, it can be helpful. However, the final product should be customized to reflect your unique qualities. A resume and cover letter should be persuasive, highlighting why you are the ideal candidate and showcasing your accomplishments. AI-generated content tends to be too generic and lacks the ability to make you stand out.”

Shreve Blake provided an example, stating, “Employers prefer to see quantifiable achievements on resumes. They are interested in knowing specifics such as attracting 40 percent more social media followers or increasing subscriptions by 25 percent. These concrete metrics demonstrate the impact of your skills in previous roles. However, AI lacks access to such detailed figures. Even if you input these metrics into the bot, it’s still essential for you to customize and contextualize your accomplishments to effectively capture the attention of employers.”

When it comes to crafting cover letters, depending solely on AI can lead to a dull and unoriginal result. Your cover letter is your chance to let your personality shine, so it’s important to take the reins and inject it with your unique voice, rather than settling for something that sounds like a template used by countless other applicants.

“I experimented with ChatGPT, requesting a resume tailored for a specific job in senior leadership. To be frank, as someone with experience in education, I would rate that resume as average, perhaps a C,” Shreve Blake remarked.

It’s evident that entrusting your own expertise is essential to ensure your resume stands out, rather than simply assuming that an AI bot will produce a flawless document.

Test the effectiveness of your resume by running it through tools like JobScan.

While AI can’t fully create your resume, it can aid in perfecting it. ChatGPT, for instance, can provide a basic framework, and there are specialized AI tools dedicated to assisting in crafting effective resumes. These programs analyze your resume and offer suggestions for improvement, although they don’t generate the resume for you.

“At USC, we utilize an AI-powered platform called VMock, which features a tool called Smart Resume. Students can upload their resumes to Smart Resume, which provides various recommendations for enhancing their bullet points. It prompts them to use action verbs, identifies areas where quantifying information should be added, and offers other valuable suggestions,” explained Shreve Blake.

Shreve Blake also suggests JobScan, another valuable platform that functions similarly to Smart Resume. With JobScan, users upload their resume to receive feedback. However, it offers a distinct feature: comparing the resume to a specific job listing and highlighting the keywords necessary to tailor it for the position.

Shreve Blake highlighted that numerous employers utilize AI for candidate screening purposes. Platforms such as Workable and Greenhouse automatically scan resumes for keywords to assess their alignment with job listings, aiding in the screening process. It’s crucial to ensure that your resume contains the appropriate keywords to increase the likelihood of passing through applicant tracking systems successfully.

Check your grammar and spelling with a little help from AI.

AI may seem like a novel concept, but chances are, you’ve already been utilizing AI in your job search without realizing it. Tools such as SpellCheck and Grammarly are AI-powered, aiding in ensuring correct spelling and grammar—a crucial aspect of crafting effective resumes and cover letters. It’s essential to meticulously check for errors, and leveraging these AI tools can help you avoid common human errors.

You can rely on AI to help you find job listings in the first place.

It’s not just about crafting strong documents for job applications. The initial step in any job search is identifying positions of interest, and AI can facilitate this process.

According to Shreve Blake, there are now various AI-powered job search platforms designed to streamline the job search process. These platforms assist by curating job listings tailored to your qualifications and preferences. While you could manually search for positions using platforms like Google or LinkedIn, this can be a time-consuming task due to listings being scattered across different websites.

Furthermore, these AI platforms offer additional assistance by providing resume feedback, monitoring your job search progress, and even aiding in interview scheduling.

Don’t be afraid to experiment as the technology continues to evolve.

The possibilities with AI remain somewhat uncertain, and undoubtedly, we’ll witness numerous advancements as these programs evolve. It’s important not to hesitate to explore and experiment with AI tools during the job search, as it can be a daunting process.

“It’s revolutionary because it alleviates the time spent on the job search. Instead of investing countless hours, individuals can leverage AI to streamline the process,” remarked Shreve Blake. She acknowledged the challenges job seekers face, especially those juggling full-time employment while seeking new opportunities. AI platforms and organizations offer a valuable solution by reducing the time required for job hunting.

However, Shreve Blake emphasized the significance of maintaining a personal touch throughout the process. Ultimately, employers are not seeking to hire an AI program; they’re looking to hire individuals. It’s crucial to effectively showcase one’s unique capabilities and accomplishments.

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