Hack your job search: putting AI to work

May 22, 2023

robot finger typing

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technology, a Quinnipiac virtual community event on May 17 explored leveraging AI to optimize job hunt strategies. 

The interactive session, “Hack Your Job Search with AI Tools: ChatGPT & More,” was led by Kristina Galligan, director of alumni career development, and Lila Carney, director of career development for the School of Communications. The session explored the effectiveness of utilizing cutting-edge AI tools, and some of the disadvantages and limitations of this rapidly evolving technology.

“Why should we discuss AI in the job search? AI is here, and it’s really going to disrupt the world of work as we know it,” said Galligan. “Everyone is saying it’s going to be as disruptive as the introduction of the internet, so I think it’s something that we all should know how to utilize, and embrace.”

The session shared ResumeBuilder’s February 2023 statistics showing nearly half of 2,153 job seekers surveyed used ChatGPT to help write their resumes, cover letter, or both. Among that group, 78% secured a job interview using job application materials written by ChatGPT, and 59% were hired after applying for a job using the materials.

“It’s already being used frequently by fellow jobseekers. That’s your competition,” said Galligan.

Employers’ utilization of AI-powered tools is evolving with the technology, as well.

“You may have a job screening that’s powered by an AI chatbot,” said Galligan. “Employers might be using more and more advanced keyword-scanning software to look at your resume."

Displaying a shared screen, the session touched on ways to utilize open AI-powered tech tools, including setting up a free account at ChatGPT (Chatgptonline.ai). Launched in November 2022 by software developer OpenAI, ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that learns while following prompt instructions supplied by the user. Past searches, new prompts, and user-uploaded information help the chatbot increase its knowledge base.

“The AI remembers things that you have asked it and taught it,” said Galligan. “One thing that I’m teaching my chatbot to do is to actually write in my style and prose of writing.”

AI users do encounter a robotic feel in responses and seek ways to help “humanize” the output, said Carney.

“All of the writing comes out very vanilla,” said Carney. “I think that what Kristina is doing is so interesting, and I’m really interested to see what she’s able to teach it.”

Galligan said prompts are key.

“The better we, as human users, can get at prompting the system, the better our responses will be,” said Galligan.

Another AI tool shared during the session, Snackprompt.com, has been developed as a repository for the best prompts for ChatGPT, based on user refinement and success. Searching out blogs by career gurus and influencers is another resource for mining strong AI prompt language. A quick Google search seeking the best prompts for job searching on ChatGPT will also yield a list of the most up-to-date prompts.

One immediate advantage to implementing AI like ChatGPT as a job search tool is its ability to automate some of the more frustrating activities that tend to bog people down, such as initial outreach, research, resume writing and cover letter writing.

“If we can automate some of the more routine and tedious tasks, then we can have more energy and inspiration for things like interviewing and identifying the best opportunities that are going to make us happy,” said Galligan. 

AI-powered applicant tracking systems, such as PyjamaHR.com, offer another job hunt hack. Job openings in its database are derived from subscribed employers. An algorithm matches job seekers with relevant jobs.

“You state your expectations, such as the type of job and the salary range, upload your resume, and then the AI starts comparing your profile and requirements across all the jobs that are already in the database. Once a match is found, both you and the recruiter can see it, and you can chat,” said Galligan.

Carney said the School of Communications is implementing student utilization of AI tools so they can become familiar with the technology and use it to assist in the job search.

“They’ll be prepared,” said Carney. “And as we know, young people tend to be at the forefront of technology, so they may be the pioneers.”

The session also dipped into ethical questions and setting boundaries when utilizing AI tools in the job search.

“I’m trying to teach students how to use it to their advantage in good ways. My messaging to students is that it’s just foundational,” said Carney. “Use it as a launchpad to write something that is truly you; has your flair, has your voice, and really showcases the best of you.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now