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6 minute read

AI Tools Are Great for Your Career, But Here are Some Limits to Consider

Chris Lau, principal career coach at Workforce Singapore, shares why Singaporeans should have a balanced approach with using AI tools.

ChatGPT, among a plethora of artificial intelligence (AI) tools available in the market, has certainly caught the attention of the post-pandemic world much like revenge travelling has.

Like most major technology disruptions, ChatGPT has proliferated into every aspect of our lives, including job searches.

Early adopters have wasted no time in using its prowess to dress up their resumes and prepare for interviews. According to a recent survey by the online tool Resume Builder, 46% of jobseekers are using ChatGPT to write their resumes, with seven in 10 of them reporting a higher response rate from companies.

This technology has brought us efficiency, and great convenience and changed the way we live and work. However, we need to remember that the human touch remains indispensable in navigating the complexities of a job search.

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The job search landscape is evolving

I started my career in the mid-1990s and spent over a decade in various regional marketing roles before eventually becoming a career coach with Workforce Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower.

For today’s young digital natives, the process of a job search back then might be an eye-opener.

It began with browsing through the “appointments” section in the newspaper on Saturday and then spending the weekend customising resumes for each application and stuffing printed resumes into envelopes for snail mailing.

Today, job portals allow one to easily search for available positions. Applicants can then filter by job functions, desired pay range and work locations.

They can also receive personalised job recommendations based on the skills and experience indicated in their profile, past applications and searches. Applications are only just a click away.

The professional networking platform LinkedIn has also made job search more intelligent and faster.

By signing up and creating a profile, one can directly receive job openings and connect with people you know and those whom you want your profile to be seen.

This was how I transitioned into a role as a career coach in 2016. I grew my network on LinkedIn and connected with many people, including career advisory practitioners, which allowed me to learn about the job of a career coach.

ChatGPT, through generative AI, has gone further upstream, empowering jobseekers to craft better resumes and even prepare for interviews.

With algorithms that can analyse patterns, predict trends, and match qualifications, one could enter the job description and ask ChatGPT to generate a list of key skills relevant to the job role.

Similarly, those exploring new career opportunities or adjacent job roles could use the CareersFinder (beta) feature on the MyCareersFuture job portal for personalised upskilling and career recommendations.

CareersFinder empowers you to discover your upskilling and career needs through personalised jobs and skills recommendations. Explore it now! 

These tools have empowered individuals to gain insights into potential career trajectories and the corresponding skills required, while also considering their unique profiles and career aspirations.

However, even the most advanced AI system is not without its limitations.

The output churned is based on how recent the data it is trained on.

ChatGPT’s data is built on web scraping, and its output may not be the most updated. As the job market is constantly evolving, relying on outdated information may lead to misinformation.

If you are using ChatGPT to reconstruct your resume, here are three best practices that you should adopt:

  1. Build the resume in sections instead of churning out an entire resume in one go. It is recommended for resumes to be customised for specific job applications. Hence, building it in sections — when listing your career summary, work experience and skills — ensures it is tailored to the job description.
  2. Be specific with your keywords to provide a better focal point to your resume. You could, for example, instruct ChatGPT to write you a professional summary using a list of selected keywords to highlight a certain focus you want it to.
  3. Check for relevance. Edit it to better fit or reflect your personal unique context or tone of voice

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While ChatGPT might be an efficient tool, it is not able to detect dynamic communication nuances and undertake complex decision-making that humans are capable of.

Using this tool for interview preparations is thus not a good idea.

While it can suggest generic questions and provide feedback to your responses, it cannot take into account each individual’s unique situation that would result in a certain career journey decision, for example, personal circumstances such as caregiving responsibilities that led to someone taking a career break.

Above all, it cannot respond to non-verbal cues that are uniquely human and crucial in any interview.

The human touch still matters

Having been a beneficiary of technology myself, I acknowledge that it is an integral part of our lives.

But the important takeaway is that we should not use it instinctively without understanding its limitations.

The human element in a job search journey is essential because it encompasses areas such as networking and mentorship.

The relationships you build and maintain, along with the knowledge and assistance you gain from others, can lead to a more effective and successful job search process.

Find out more about WSG’s Career Matching Services and how our professional career coaches can help you in your career journey.

In addition, having another person to provide fresh perspectives and feedback on your strengths, unique attributes and experiences, as well as guiding you in making informed career decisions remain critically invaluable.

People and technology both bring different abilities and strengths to the table. The key is to understand how both can complement each other.

Those who require personalised career guidance and support in their job search can reach out to Workforce Singapore’s Careers Connect or NTUC e2i’s Career Centre.

Self-help resources for your career needs are also available on Workipedia by MyCareersFuture, available in multi-format content such as editorial and video articles, podcasts and quizzes. Here are some tips to maximise the benefits and get the best out of the coaching sessions:

  1. Assess yourself: Consider your strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations before the session. Be prepared to discuss your work history, achievements and other areas where you feel you need improvement.
  2. Clarify your objectives: Outline your specific career goals and challenges and communicate clearly. Do you need help with resume writing, interview preparation, job search strategy, or something else? This will provide a clearer picture of your needs.
  3. Set realistic expectations: Understand that career advisory and guidance is a collaborative process, and it may take time to see results. Be prepared to put in the effort and follow through on the recommended steps. Regularly review your progress and make adjustments as needed. Above all, stay open-minded.

This article was first published on Today Online.

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