When it comes to job hunting, applicants are starting to use generative artificial intelligence to make a better first impression.
Job seekers using free AI programs like ChatGPT are asking the programs to tailor their resumes to a specific employer and job description, write cover letters, create writing samples and provide answers on job applications, according to Gartner, a research and consulting firm.
Job candidates also can use it to help prepare for interview questions, should they get to that stage.
The career experts CNN spoke with all agree that AI can make your job hunt easier and faster — especially when you’re applying to a lot of jobs at different companies.
But they all cautioned that candidates should never blindly use what AI spits out.
“Use AI as a tool, but don’t use it as your only tool. Use the answers as a template, not as the Holy Grail,” said Darci Smith, a career coach and managing partner at Roklyn Consulting, a recruiting firm for financial advisers, financial planners and their support staff.
In other words, treat AI’s responses to your prompts as suggestions to be tweaked and personalized to better reflect your experiences and who you are. And if something feels off in the answers you receive, it may well be. ChatGPT even notes as a caveat that it “may give you inaccurate information.”
Customize and gut check
Another way job seekers may use ChatGPT is as a backstop to check that they’ve covered all the bases in their materials, or to see if there’s a better way to phrase something or better highlight what they have done.
In some ways, consulting AI to see how it would write your resume or cover letter and comparing that to what you have already created is not much different from consulting Google or a friend for a second opinion, said career coach David Timis.
But relying on it to do your thinking for you is dangerous, said Timis, who also serves as the communications manager for Generation, a global employment program that helps economically vulnerable people learn skills so they can be hired for jobs in technology, sustainability and health care, among other areas.
“[Writing] is a way to improve your thinking. With AI you can avoid thinking altogether. That’s a threat to education,” he said.
And using AI to do your thinking can threaten your chances of getting hired if a recruiter or hiring manager senses your answers are inauthentic or generated by a computer.
“I can spot when someone is being robotic or overprepared when they are reading answers on the phone or over Zoom,” Smith said.