There’s been a lot of buzz about using AI in your job search lately, but how do you know when to use it and when to enlist the help of a career coach? I have a lot of thoughts about this and have seen AI used well and used poorly. With any new technology, there is a learning curve, I talked about some of the new technologies added to the job search over the years in my previous post How to Job Search for the First Time in Decades. There are great features that come with any new technology, but you want to make sure you keep to the mission of your job search and that’s making yourself stand out. Here’s my take on how you can use AI to enhance your job search and what you should avoid.
You may have already been exposed to AI in previous job searches with the Applicant Tracking System, or ATS as we call it. This is when you submit your resume online and the ATS scans your resume, parses it for relevant content, and then stores the information for recruiters. But with the rise of artificial intelligence, you’ll be exposed to this more frequently, especially if you’re applying to larger companies.
Keep it Simple
The first thing AI and I agree on is to keep your resume simple. I don’t offer overly formatted resumes (like Canva or Etsy templates) that are all graphics and no substance. With all of the fantastic design options out there, it can be fun to make your resume look “pretty.” Think Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. But most of the time, a computer is the first one to see your resume and those fancy fonts and cool colors don’t compute. They also take away from the story that you’re trying to tell with your resume. Your career wins are the things that should stand out…not your name or the personal logo you’ve spent hours creating.
Keep it Personal
While AI might be a great tool to get you started, it doesn’t replace the human touch when creating your resume and cover letter. You still have to give AI the information, and if you don’t share your big career wins, AI isn’t going to magically transform your resume into something amazing. Boring bullets that list all your jobs, dates, and titles aren’t going to do you any favors. Conversely, working with a career coach allows someone to interview you and get the real story behind your experience. What is your management style? What kind of projects did you lead? What did you build at the company? If you don’t give AI the data points that make you shine, then it’s not going to create them. It’s also worth noting that 11% of job seekers were rejected once it was learned from the hiring company that the candidate used ChatGPT. I suspect you will see that number start to rise as ChatGPT becomes more popular.
Keep it Customized
Once you have a fantastic resume and cover letter, one way you can use AI in your job search is for customization. One of the things that the ATS does is scan resumes for keywords. Resumes that make it through the scan with those keywords are moved to the top of the list. Using a tool like JobScan allows you to compare your resume and cover letter to the job description and rate how well your resume matches with that particular job. It can also offer suggestions on how you can optimize. Then you can review the suggestions and swap out a few words to align yourself more with the job description. I recommend using this in moderation, but it can be helpful and make you think about aligning your experience with each job description.
Keep it Connected
We all know that networking is at the heart of any job search. You’ve heard people say “It’s all about who you know” and that stands true today. A personal connection or referral is the best way to get your foot in the door at a company. So why not use AI to hold you accountable for your networking outreach? If you have a list of people you want to connect to or even people you haven’t spoken to in a while, it can be daunting to start reaching out…especially for my introverts. A blog on Expandi recently shared how to use Chat GPT to do outreach for sales and you can apply it to your networking plan. You can use the LinkedIn profiles of people you want to connect with and it can give you outreach prompts. This can be helpful when you don’t know where to start. My only caveat is to doublecheck these and make sure it all makes sense – AI can spit out some pretty funny stuff.
Keep it Professional
One of my favorite uses of AI is to write your resignation letter. This is one instance where you don’t want to be personal, you want to remember to state important information about your final working days and transfer of information. It can be hard not to get personal when you resign, and AI can help you keep it concise. A tool like KickResume helps you get the job done without burning any bridges.
If you’re just starting your job search and aren’t sure where to start with your materials, I have a wealth of resources to get you going. Here’s a list of some of my FREE and low-cost tutorials to kick-start your search:
And if you need a career coach to work with you in creating a glowing resume and cover letter that make you shine, schedule a FREE consultation with me, and let’s get you the job of your dreams.