Like any tool, using AI, such as ChatGPT, can be a big help in your mid-career job search. But you must learn to use the tool effectively to maximize its potential, whether you are using it to help you apply for jobs, write your resume or cover letter, or prepare for your interview.
In this episode, you'll learn the pros and cons of using AI in your job search and why you should always use caution when using this tool. I'll walk you through the nuances of tailoring AI to serve your career needs and share the surprising impact that a simple 'please' or 'thank you' can have on the responses you receive. It's time to add that personal touch to technology and propel your career forward with insights that could make all the difference.
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As we kick off 2024, I've got a special announcement. For the first time, I am hosting a live five-day workshop, beginning on Monday, january 8th, called the 4Fs Framework for finding your next job. I've never done anything like this before, but I wanna begin the year by helping you, more than ever, figure out what's next for your career so you can get the job you want, because 2023 wasn't a great year for you professionally. Whether you're currently unemployed, unhappy in your job or ready for that promotion, this workshop will give you the career clarity you need to stand out from your competition and strategically position yourself in the marketplace. This five-day workshop is only $47, and after each live training, I'm doing some Q&A. So if you can attend live and look, I get it. I know you're busy. That's okay, because all registrants will have access to the workshop recordings for 30 days. Now registration is currently open and we begin on Monday, january 8th. So to secure your spot in the workshop, visit my website, johnnarrellcom and click on the Workshop tab at the top, or check the show notes for more information. I'll see you there. I recently asked my email community what topics they were most interested in learning about on the podcast, and today's topic was one of the top responses and, admittedly, it's been one I've been working on for a while. We need to talk about AI In 2023,. Ai dramatically impacted the way we work and how we look for new jobs, and, while it's a great and powerful tool, it is not without its shortcomings and faults. So today, I'll break down for you some advantages and disadvantages of using AI in your job search, and how it can help you build your mid-career GPS to whatever is next. Let's get started. I'm John Narrell and I'm your host. I help mid-career professionals find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. Now, while typically on Thursdays I have a guest, I don't have one this week, but I am honored to spend some more time with you and I hope you enjoy this video. I hope you enjoy it. I'll see you next week, but I am honored to spend some more time with you and talk about a topic so many of you want to know more about. Over the last six months especially, I've spent a lot of time looking at the pros and cons of AI in a mid-career professionals job search, and what I'm gonna share with you today is a combination of what I've learned along with my own thoughts and experiences working with my clients to help them navigate their job search as they find that job they're going to love. So, to begin, if you aren't clear about the types of jobs you are searching for or wanting, any kind of AI such as ChatGPT isn't going to directly help you narrow your focus and make your job application and preparation easier. Like any tool, if you can go with it with some specificity and clarity, it's going to help make that process easier. But if you're kind of randomly using ChatGPT, unless you're willing to spend a lot of time with it more than likely it's been my experience that's gonna get you a little frustrated and perhaps even more confused. So what I wanna offer you is that any kind of AI, such as ChatGPT, is a tool and tools help Tools can be extremely effective when you give it that personal touch. That means that when you're using something like ChatGPT, you have to read what it gives you, revise it and edit it accordingly. And one of the things I've learned, especially working with something like ChatGPT, is that you have to constantly prompt it to revise and refine its responses to get it where you want, and this can be a time-consuming process. So if you're not willing to give it the time it needs and think that you are just going to type in a question and it's gonna give you the answer and you're done with it, you are mistaken, so you have to give it that time. Now, one of the largest mistakes I see people make when using AI, such as ChatGPT, is that they ask it to do what is called a single prompt, meaning they're expecting to get a lot of information compacted into one response. And while AI will give you some type of response, I have found that you are better off using what is called a dual prompt, which can be much more effective in helping you get the information you want and your response to where you need it to be. So the way that would work is you would ask AI to do one thing and then ask it to do something else. The way that I like to think about a dual prompt, or just using AI for a specific request, is to think of it like building a house and layering each layer of bricks on the foundation, so you start off with the ground floor and then you go up another level and then you refine it and you go up another level after that. I have no construction knowledge whatsoever, so take that for where it is. But you're building those levels, one at a time. So ultimately, by the time you get to the top or the finished product, that is where you want it to be. The more specific you can be with any kind of AI tool, the better your response is going to be. But what I find is that you constantly have to use those additional prompts in order to get it there. Additionally, what I have learned and I've had this confirmed by several experts as well is that the nicer you are to AI, the better it's gonna be for you. It's kind of creepy, when you think about it, that I'm talking to a machine and I have to say things like please and thank you, or you're going to ask it if it understands. When I've played around with chat, gpt or used it for some things with work, I'll type in the prompt and I'll say do you understand? And it will respond to me and say, absolutely, I understand, because and it gives me the information. So I know this sounds really crazy, but you have to be nice to it. Don't call it mean names, don't call it inappropriate things. Be nice to it. Just think of it like you would if you were working with a colleague or a counterpart to help you produce a certain product. Now pay close attention to this one. You must make any AI-generated response personal and relatable. So, for example, if you are using AI to help you write a cover letter, it can often provide you with a response that is very eicentric or egocentric and doesn't focus on one of the key things that we have talked about on this podcast repeatedly, which is how your experience is going to help them. So, if you're using AI to help you write a cover letter, you may pick out some words or phrases, or maybe even a paragraph that you think you can use, but you have to make it personal and relatable. That means you have to put it into your own voice and tone. I have seen way too many job seekers think that AI is going to be the one thing that is going to save them a ton of time in the application process, and they believe they can then send out 10 times the amount of applications and what they were doing, thus increasing the chances of getting the interview. Well, the thing we have to keep in mind is that, if you are not personalizing your cover letter if you are not customizing your resume to the job posting. Ai can only help you so much. We cannot discredit the fact that you, as the human being, have to put your lens on things to make you stand out. So let's look at the data. What we know right now is that for a mid-career role, you can typically expect between two to 300 applicants per role. Now, some of these, or maybe even many of them, are going to come from a one-click apply on LinkedIn, where they're going to click that easy apply button and it's just going to regurgitate their LinkedIn profile and it's not necessarily going to be customized. So I'll give you another tip that I share with my clients, and that is if you are uploading your resume into a company's website, always make sure that you upload a Word doc and not a PDF. Applicant tracking systems typically do not like PDFs. It can't always unpack the formatting neatly, so don't do it. It may seem a little counterintuitive, thinking that someone's going to go in and you might be worried about oh, someone's going to get in and take my Word document and change it. Don't worry about that. You've got to play with the system as you have it right. Again, when you are customizing your resume and you're looking for those keywords and phrases in the job posting and carrying them over into your resume. You always want to make sure that you're being memorable. Where do your achievements and your results make you more memorable than anybody else who's applying for the job? How do you stand out? So if you're not customizing your cover letter and your resume, you are missing a huge component in this job application process. And again, mid-career professionals typically have a much better chance of getting a job when they're networking. Nevertheless, you're still going to have to upload a resume into their system to apply and start your record as you move forward in the interview process, failing to make this kind of connection and taking the time to really invest in this job application. If you don't do that, you are hurting your chances. So while you may hear people say that, oh, if you're applying for jobs, it's a numbers game, I'm going to challenge that with you right now, as we start off 2024, I want to offer you that, if you are clear on where your career is at, you are confident in your skills and abilities and you have clarity about where you can offer the most value to an organization, you do not have to apply to hundreds of jobs. In fact, if you pick 10 and you got three interviews and you landed one of them, you will not only save yourself a ton of time, but you will be able to get something a lot of job seekers don't get, and that is data and feedback about what's working well in your job search strategy, your networking and your interview process and how you can refine that in order to find that job you are going to love. Now you can use AI to help you work on things like an elevator pitch or even prep for an interview, by asking it to help you answer certain questions or give you a suggested response. Again, we are using the technology as a tool, but I want to offer you here that you don't want to be so dependent on AI that you can't think on the spot or answer a question during an interview. That may make or break your chances of getting a job. You never want to come across as being overly formulaic or robotic or overly rehearsed in an interview. If you go back to episodes 110 through 119, where I did an entire arc on interview preparation, we talked so much and, including my guests, we talked so much about how important it is to build that relationship in the interview. So you want to be able to do that. So you might be wondering well, john, look, you're not out there interviewing for jobs. How do you use AI? Well, I've used AI, such as ChatGPT, for various aspects of my business. I use it as a thought generator, so when I have an idea about something, I may go to ChatGPT and play around with it a little bit. Remember, it is pulling from public domain information, which means it's pulling from a variety of sources. I still have to fact check. I still have to make sure it's giving me that kind of credible information, and there have been times when I have used a different AI tool with my podcasting host to help me write the show notes. It doesn't always give me great results, as I've gone back and looked at the last six months and I've looked at some of the show notes. They're not always in my voice. Sometimes I've been a little rushed and I've been like all right, I'm just going to let this one go. It doesn't always have the keywords and phrases that it's going to help me optimize and get me better search engine optimization or SEO for my podcast. So I'm going to spend a little bit more time with the show notes this year. The other thing is it doesn't do a really great job of spelling neural. I had to really chuckle one day when my book editor so my same book editor for both of my books texted me one day and he's like why is your name spelled wrong in the Apple podcast show notes? That shouldn't be. I had a fess up. I said, well, I was in a rush, I just used chat GPT and I didn't check this. Use the AI with the system. It wasn't chat GPT and something else. So, yeah, I had to do a little mea culpa with my book editor, but he got it. We understood and we had a really interesting conversation about what he's seeing, about benefits and stuff of disadvantages as well with AI. So it is a conversation that is absolutely not going to be going away in 2024. But, in conclusion, here's what I want to offer you when you are thinking about using AI, such as chat GPT. Number one it's not going away. Number two when we get to December of 2024 and we look at all the things AI has done and grown this year, we're probably going to be blown away, maybe even a little more scared than what we are now. But as a job seeker, and especially as a mid career job seeker, trust me on this one you must be prepared to talk about it during your interview, share your experiences and your opinions about it At the mid career level, where you are expected to be a thought leader, a visionary, a strategic and creative individual. Failing to address this topic in some way, shape or form in your interview means you are letting other people do it, and I don't believe that's a smart move for you right now. You can have an opinion about it. You can be humble and be really curious about it. I'll give you this example. As many of you know, I had a 25-year career in education and, as I transitioned out of the classroom and took various administrative roles, I remember working for a state superintendent at the time when the common core standards for mathematics were being rolled out, and I sat in the room with the two gentlemen who spearheaded the creation of these standards. Whatever your opinion is about them, your experiences, your political beliefs they're not relevant in this conversation, because the professional struggle and challenge that was going on in that room was one of the most memorable events of my career. I remember sitting there with experts and them saying we're open to discussion, we're hearing you, we believe it needs to be in this direction, and when we would roll out the training and development for teachers within the district or at the state level. Or I would travel to work with teachers across the country and assessment specialists. One of the things we always said was we're struggling with it, but we're figuring it out, and so can you imagine what the conversations must be like if we were able to eavesdrop on what's going on with all of this AI technology. I truly believe in my heart. They are struggling with it as well and they will continue to struggle as this evolves. But have an opinion about it, be prepared to discuss it, be prepared to offer your thought leadership when called upon, because that's what we do as mid-career professionals, especially as you're looking for that seat at the table and aspiring to advance your career. This is one of those topics that is not going to go away, and I'll say this again when you're interviewing for that job or you're networking for it be memorable, find a way to stand out, have an opinion that is unique and different and a perspective that you can tag to yourself, and always, always communicate how your expertise and your knowledge is going to help them be better. We're going to continue to talk about this as well this year. So this is not a one and done by any means. So I hope you will continue to stay along and follow. But what's been your take with AI? What have you learned in this process as well? So feel free to drop me a note. You can email me at johnnarrillcom or message me on LinkedIn at johnnarrill. Would love to connect and have you part of my network and if you could do me one favor, if you've enjoyed this episode or you've been following this podcast for a while, would you do me a favor and kindly share this episode or podcast link with three of your friends or colleagues and invite them to listen, invite them to follow or subscribe wherever they get their podcasts. Help me organically continue to grow this podcast and reach more people. It is one of my biggest missions this year, in 2024, is to get this out to as many people as possible. I thank you for your support and until next time my friends, remember this you will build your mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how you show up matters Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the mid-career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple podcasts. Visit johnnarrillcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you in your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event, and don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at John Darrell coaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.