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October 18, 2023, by brzms6

Generative AI: practical but not always personal

Paul Charman, Deputy Director

Generative AI (GenAI) has exploded into our lives since ChatGPT 3 launched in November 2022. It has the potential to impact all aspects of our lives, not least the way we apply for jobs. Like all conservations about GenAI, it’s important to consider the pros and cons so that we are aware of where it can help and hinder. Below we have produced some advice to help navigate using GenAI in your applications:

CV writing and review: ChatGPT is a helpful starting point, giving you access to templates and overviews that can help you get started and structures that can reflect job roles and sectors. The key here is a good starting point, the biographical detail of your skills and experiences are what employers want to see, not standard sentences that fail to bring your background to life, avoid generic language and make your applications authentic to you.

Cover letters: As with CV writing GenAI can be a helpful starting point, providing help on structure and content which can be tailored to sectors and roles. Again, the key here is not relying on GenAI to write the letter for you but to consider where you add your motivations, experiences, and personality. Something GenAI cannot do for you but that is crucial in personalising your applications, giving authenticity, and giving context to your skills.

Research companies and organisations: ChatGPT is a supersized search engine making it potentially a great place to do your research on companies and the sectors they operate in. Key here is to check your research, is it up to date? How does it help with my applications and interview preparation? Applying the critical analysis skills, you are gaining in academic subjects will be really helpful!

Interview preparation: Yes, you guessed it, GenAI provides a good starting point here too. Using GenAI can help you identify questions from a very generic point to specific industries and roles which you can use to practice with. Knowing the questions is one thing, using GenAI for structured help in answering is another, but as with CVs and cover letters the key is to focus on your interests, skills, experiences and motivations to actually answer the question effectively.

As you can see GenAI can be a useful aid to your applications, but like all discussions around AI there are a few things to be mindful of:

Lack of personalisation: GenAI often generates generic content that can make standing out in a competitive job market challenging. Similarly, the content generated can lack warmth and connection which you want to build in applications.

Inaccuracy and errors: GenAI can make mistakes, check the content, and make sure it’s accurate, up to date and free of bias which can be a feature of GenAI content.

Privacy and data security: CVs and applications carry your personal data, its important to think about how you are using GenAI platforms, what information you are sharing and where it goes.

In summary, it is helpful to see GenAI as a useful aid in your applications and job hunting rather than the whole approach. Employers want to see your skills, experiences and motivations shine through not just generic statements that could reflect anyone’s application. As always, using GenAI or not, it will be your ability to reflect on your experiences, understand the role requirements and link those together that will be key to success.

Do not forget the we are here to help you through this entire process and crucially give help and feedback on your applications.

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