Published: 9 January 2023

The growth in the use of Artificial Intelligence is difficult to ignore. It seems to be everywhere and seemingly capable of some remarkable things. Is it any real use for job seekers, though, or is it still more of a gimmick at the moment?

What do we mean by AI content?

Artificial Intelligence has come on in leaps and bounds. Practically speaking, when we talk about AI content, we mean the use of computer-generated text (or image) information that is created by a few prompts. You may have played around with some sites, such as ChatGTP, to see what the fuss is all about and have been quite impressed with some of the content it provides. So, what are the benefits and drawbacks of AI content for job seekers, and is it really that useful?

AI does have its uses

Let’s put this in perspective and look at the elements of the process you would normally go through to apply for a job that would require a written element. AI works by utilising what is known as Natural Language Processing (NLP) to mimic human communication by analysing existing content. In this case, job advertisements, examples of applications, and other related documents.

Initially, you would more than likely be making your first contact with a CV sent to your recruitment partner. While much of this is down to listing fixed information and skills, there are elements where you are working with a more ‘prose writing’ based response. Your personal statement, work experience and hobbies and interests spring to mind. While these are not exactly expected to be a novel, they do have an element of free expression. AI could potentially write these for a candidate and tweak them for individual job applications.

When you are applying for the job itself, AI could potentially be utilised to write a covering letter or personal statement. Assuming the right prompts are used, the text it produces should be based on the same NLP process and therefore utilise thousands of related documents to produce optimised content for your application.

For jobs that require a written overview of previous experience and skills, the ability to search the internet and extrapolate relevant information could well be very useful. The AI should be able to retrieve and incorporate suitable examples, histories and details for things such as technical skills or software proficiencies and arrange them into a well-written piece of information.

Finally, and possibly most importantly for job seekers who are not confident with writing, the AI should be grammatically correct. The fear factor of making common mistakes when writing is very real, and AI should be able to use fixed, acceptable language rules to ensure that any written responses do not contain spelling or grammatical errors.

So, does it work?

This all sounds great, but it comes with a very big warning. Firstly, let’s look back at that section about how AI works. It refers to the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) which is an excellent example of how AI can underperform in itself. AI is looking for references to your prompt. However, acronyms and buzzwords often have different meanings, and that can lead to the wrong responses. NLP itself, for example, is a very different term outside the technology world. It is an accepted acronym for Neuro-linguistic Programming, which is a controversial practice of negative thought therapy sometimes considered a pseudoscience and a quasi-religion. Similarly, when it comes to qualifications and common names, multiple meanings could be an issue. Natural Language Processing, therefore, needs effective context to work, or it can potentially make some big mistakes. AI that is searching and using content to create a response with little or no filter can be less than reliable. That can lead to bias and misinterpretation. As a result, you need carefully proofread any returned text for unsuitable or unwanted opinions or even discriminatory content.

CVs are limited in their use of free-form writing, and where they do require it, the content you put in there is usually personal and unique to the candidate. The same can be said of covering letters. This is an opportunity for you to present yourself as a candidate and also show your personality. Your application is all about who you are, what you can bring to the role, and why that matters to the potential employer. Expecting a machine to be able to do that is a little difficult to imagine.

Finally, there is that question of correct language use. While it is certainly true that AI will use the right form of grammar, a word processor will also usually offer corrections and give you the option of whether to use them or not. If you allow the AI to write larger amounts of text for you, there is a danger of presenting yourself the wrong way. Worse, you could accidentally suggest you have better written language skills than you actually do.

Even the best AI-written text can be, well, artificial feeling. It still tends to be a little inhuman when you read it. The core purpose of the job application process is all about finding the right human being and placing them with other people in the right location. When you look at it that way, it does seem to suggest that AI may not be a good idea.

So, I think right now, we would say to just use AI generators as a starting point. A sort of idea machine that will inspire you to write a better version that will work for your prospective employer.

Let’s let the AI have the last word by asking a popular online NLP-based generator ‘reasons using AI for job applications is not a good idea’. The first item in the list of responses is:

‘1 - Lack of human touch: AI systems do not have the ability to understand and interpret the nuances of language and communication, which is an important aspect of the hiring process.’

That about sums it up. Right now, AI is good but probably not human enough to pass muster on an application.


Contact us if you want to chat through your current job options and how to spruce up your applications.