A guide to embracing the future: Artificial intelligence in career centres Part 2

In our latest ongoing series, we are looking at the impact AI is having on universities, and in particular career centres. In part one, we explored what Chat GPT is, its origins, and some ways it is being utilised. Now let’s take a dive into how it is impacting career centres and recruiting in part two.

How could students use AI to achieve their career objectives?

Students can, and are, utilising Chat GPT to build resumes, CVs, prepare for job interviews, and writing cover letters to name just a few. Writing for the Times of Higher Education, Teck-Hua Ho from National University of Singapore said “By using data from job postings, course catalogues and students’ CVs, AI can help people address skill gaps and plot their educational journeys.” Ho explains that AI can be used to assist students in better understanding what skills they need to develop to achieve their educational and professional goals. He explains that AI can make the student journey more efficient and enjoyable. In fact, beyond Chat GPT many Universities are now using Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) platforms to help students close skill gaps.

We asked Chat GPT to answer this question to see what it would say and here are the responses obtained:

I can certainly assist you in your job search process! Here are some ways I can help:

  1. Resume Review: I can review and provide feedback on your resume to ensure it showcases your skills and experiences effectively.
  2. Cover Letter Assistance: I can help you craft a compelling cover letter tailored to specific job applications.
  3. Job Search Tips: I can provide advice and strategies on how to search for jobs effectively, including using job boards, networking, and leveraging social media.
  4. Interview Preparation: I can offer tips and practice questions for job interviews to help you feel more confident and prepared.
  5. Career Guidance: I can provide information on various industries, job roles, and career paths to help you make informed decisions about your career.
  6. Skill Development: If you want to acquire new skills or improve existing ones, I can suggest online courses or resources to enhance your qualifications.
  7. Company Research: I can help you gather information about potential employers, their values, and work culture to aid in your job application process.
  8. Job Market Insights: I can provide information on current job market trends and industries with high demand for specific skills.

Remember that while I can offer valuable assistance, landing a job ultimately depends on your dedication, persistence, and active engagement in the job search process. Let me know specific questions you have or the type of job you are interested in, so I can better tailor my advice to your needs.

As demonstrated by Chat GPT, it can be utilised as a tool, not an end all be all, to providing students with career readiness skills. At the end of the day, students still need to prepare accordingly for an interview, and actually show up for the job or internship to do the work.

Here are some areas in which AI could be incorporated within a career centre according to the Boulder Colorado career services team with the use of tools:

  1. Creating a resume
    AI can suggest keywords such as strong action words and relevant skills that map to the job requirements that a student is applying to. There are numerous tools out there, like Symplicity CSM, that can help students begin to shape their CVs.
  1. Creative a cover letter
    Similar to student CVs, writing a good cover letter can take significant time and effort. To save time, many students already use tools such as Chat GPT to begin shaping their first cover letters. Caution, these should always be reviewed, edited, and personalised by the student.  

  2. Job matching between student profiles and relevant jobs and internships
    Machine learning algorithms can match keywords, skills and previous experiences to promote opportunities to students. This can save students time, promote a more positive user experience and increase employer engagement with universities. The more adequate the applicants an employer receives are the more chances are that they will use the same channel to look for additional candidates in the future
  1. Student to employer outreach
    Although Generative AI tools do not provide personalised outreaches, they can support students that reach out to employers proactively or that respond to emails from them. Communicating in a timely professional tone is critical. A review is always necessary before sending out any response.

  2. Preparing for interviews
    Well-prepared interviews contain a significant amount of research and practice. Generative AI tools can form a good source of potential questions that may be asked during an interview. These tools do not replace creativity however, they do help students practice and structure their responses.

How do recruiters rate AI generated content and how do they use it?

Initial feedback of using Chat GPT for cover letters has been mixed . Some employers remarked that the cover letters generated from ChatGPT lacked personality, although hiring managers still followed up. Some recruiters even mentioned that the content appears to be “too dry” and “too junior.” AI companies such as Portlander actually are advising students to not use ChatGPT to write cover letters as it lacks capabilities in personalizing content and integrating tone of voice. The tool cannot pick up on details that help make cover letters stand out to potential employers.

However not all feedback has been negative, Hirevue tested a natural language processing tool and encouraged students to submit video interviews instead of written CVs and cover letters. The result was that they reduced their hiring time by 90 percent and the diversity of new hires increased by 16 percent.

Using AI in recruiting isn’t anything new. A 2021 Harvard Business Review report “Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent,” noted that 99% of Fortune 500 companies already uses some type of AI assisted software to sort and identify talent. AI can also be “harnessed to hone the company’s understanding of discernible variables in the background of current employees that correlate to their success. That data can then be translated into a new and powerful framework—hiring on the basis of skills and demonstrated competencies, not credentials.”

On Hires, a global recruiting and staffing agency found that:

  • As of early 2023, 90 percent of companies have engaged with some form of AI in their recruitment practices.
  • 90 percent of Enterprise use AI based software to automate workflows and reduce administration time.
  • 95 percent of HR Experts are convinced that AI can greatly facilitate the application process for job seekers.

However, there are growing concerns that AI still has a long way to go to remove innate biases and removing discriminatory hiring practices.

In short: Use of AI in recruiting isn’t anything new when it comes to sorting and filtering talent. What is new is how students and institutions are utilising the tool to identify and apply to positions.

For career centres, it makes sense to evaluate existing offerings and, where appropriate, redesign some of the standard career services offerings to students and alumni. Adjusting to higher education in the era of Chat GPT also demands that institutions pay attention to their role in building capacity to understand and to manage Chat GPT and AI. This must be balanced by the understanding that, at least for now, Chat GPT cannot replace human creativity and critical thinking and it is on these strengths that higher education has flourished.

*Co-written by Helena Okolicsanyi

Student Services, Career Services, UK, UK students, UK universities, Information Technology, AI, chatgpt, career centres, artificial intelligence

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