By Maggie Kuhn (’21), Assistant Director for Mentoring and Alumni Personal & Career Development, Wake Forest University
As the breadth of technology rapidly expands, our day-to-day processes are increasingly subject to innovation. A timely example of this growth is ChatGPT. This tool is extremely dynamic and powerful and has a wide range of capabilities, especially pertaining to the career searching process. But like any research tool, it has pros and cons worth considering.
What Is it?
This AI chatbot was created by artificial intelligence research company, Open AI and launched in November 2022. It uses natural language processing to create human-like, conversational dialogue with its users. ChatGPT reacts to text prompts by emulating a real human being to respond to questions and compose various written content.
Since its launch, over 100 million users have entered prompts into the textbox on the ChatGPT home page. Once ChatGPT provides a response, there are a few options. The user can enter a new prompt, regenerate additional responses for the same prompt, copy the text from ChatGPT to put to personal use, or like or dislike the answer.
ChatGPT acquires its data via a process called “web scraping,” in which automated tools are used to scan the web for relevant information, extract data from various websites, and store it in its database. ChatGPT additionally acquires information from user feedback, knowledge databases created by experts in various fields, social media, and open data sources.
How Can You Use It?
Users can leverage ChatGPT to generate ideas, write Python code, explain complicated topics, and even create songs or poems. And, it can be a useful resource for optimizing your job search, including editing your cover letter, searching for alternate titles, or summarizing a job description. According to ChatGPT itself, here are some dos and don’ts to think about:
Remember that ChatGPT is a tool that can provide information and insights, but it should be used in conjunction with human expertise and critical thinking. It can supplement your career search efforts, but ultimately, you should make decisions based on a comprehensive understanding of your own goals, values, and circumstances.
- Research and Exploration: Use ChatGPT to gather information about different career paths, industries, and job roles. Ask questions to learn about required qualifications, job market trends, or salary ranges.
- Resume and Cover Letter Assistance: Seek guidance from ChatGPT on improving your resume and cover letter. It can offer suggestions for formatting, language use, and emphasize relevant skills and experiences.
- Interview Preparation: Engage in conversations with ChatGPT to practice interview scenarios. Ask for common interview questions, receive feedback on your responses, and get advice on interview strategies and techniques.
- Industry Insights: Request information from ChatGPT about specific industries, such as growth prospects, emerging trends, or skill requirements. Gain insights into the current landscape to make more informed career decisions.
- Skill Development: Inquire about resources, online courses, or certifications to enhance your skills in specific areas relevant to your career interests. ChatGPT can recommend learning opportunities to support your professional development.
- Sole Reliance: Avoid relying solely on ChatGPT for your entire career search process. While it can provide valuable information, it’s important to engage with human career professionals, mentors, and industry experts to gain personalized guidance.
- Biased Perspectives: Be cautious of potential biases in ChatGPT’s responses. It processes information from the internet, which may contain biased or inaccurate content. Validate the information and seek diverse viewpoints from multiple sources.
- Guaranteed Predictions: Do not solely rely on ChatGPT’s predictions or forecasts regarding job prospects or future career trends. Career landscapes can change rapidly, and individual circumstances vary. Consider ChatGPT’s input alongside other research and insights.
- Personalization: Recognize that ChatGPT lacks the ability to fully understand your individual circumstances, skills, and aspirations. Its recommendations may not consider your unique background and preferences. Use it as a starting point and tailor your career decisions accordingly.
- Emotional Support: ChatGPT lacks emotional intelligence and empathy. While it can provide information and guidance, it cannot replace the emotional support and understanding that human career professionals or trusted individuals can offer during your career search.
ChatGPT Tips for Your Job Search
So we’ve talked about what ChatGPT is, how to use it, and some important things to think about before using this tool. Now let’s get into technical steps. As a rule of thumb, the more detailed you can be in your prompts, the better the responses you will receive, (but as a reminder, do NOT enter any personal information into ChatGPT, under any circumstances)!
Before you begin using AI for your job search, it is helpful to clarify what your objective is, prepare a summary of your skills and experience, and prepare to provide all the necessary information. If you’re not sure what information you may need to provide ChatGPT, don’t be afraid to ask. Here’s an example of a prompt you might use:
“I am a recent marketing and communication graduate that wants to work in sales in New York. I want you to help me [write my resume, write my cover letter, search job titles]. What information about me do you need to do this?”
Once you enter the proper information into ChatGPT, there are numerous ways you can leverage this tool for your job search. Below are some tips and strategies for using AI to enhance your cover letter or resume, summarize job descriptions, and pull job listings. However, please remember this is only one tool, and there are many others out there. Take what is helpful from AI, and always make sure to put it in your own words.
Once again, please note: Do NOT enter any personal or sensitive information (passwords, financial information, full name, phone number, bank account numbers, health information).
ChatGPT can help you write and edit your cover letter based on a summary of your skills and experiences and a job description.
Try the prompt, “Please edit my cover letter using this job description and my resume.” (Note: You can create a new line in your prompt by hitting Shift+Enter at the same time.) Copy and paste your cover letter, the job description, and your resume into the text box, and then hit Enter.
ChatGPT will then generate an updated, more competitive version of your cover letter based on the job description you entered. This is a great tactic for better aligning your application to your desired position and coming up with some new ideas for your cover letter.
ChatGPT can also help you tailor an ATS-friendly resume for various job titles.
Try adding the prompt, “Please tailor my current resume (see below) to [position] at [company].” Then copy and paste your resume and job description into the textbox.
Once you hit Enter, you will receive an updated, tailored version of your resume that better highlights the skills outlined in the job description.
ChatGPT can also help you edit your resume to better reflect your professional experience. Try using the prompt, “Please summarize my professional history below into succinct bullet points.” This will generate some new ideas and give you some additional support in pulling together lines for your resume.
Summarizing Job Descriptions
Job descriptions can be long and hard to understand, but ChatGPT can easily summarize its main skills and qualifications so that you can better update your resume and cover letter.
Copy and paste the job description in the text box with the prompts, “Summarize the most important skills from this job” or “Tell me five keywords used in this job description that I should highlight in my resume.”
Identify Skills and Gaps
It is essential in the job search process to compare your skillset to the desired skills on the job description. Enter the prompt “Compare my resume with the following job description to evaluate my capability and skill gaps for the [Job Title] role.”
ChatGPT will be able to compare your skillset to that of your targeted role and list out some hard and soft skills to inform your growth and self-reflection. This may also point out skill areas that you can better highlight in your resume and cover letter.
“ChatGPT is not connected to the internet, and it can occasionally produce incorrect answers. It has limited knowledge of world and events after 2021 and may also occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content. We’d recommend checking whether responses from the model are accurate or not. If you find an answer is incorrect, please provide that feedback by using the “Thumbs Down” button.”
“Dos and don’ts of career searching with ChatGPT” prompt. ChatGPT, 30 Jun. version, OpenAI, 7 Jul. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.
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