As career experts, we recognize the transformative impact of technology on work. It’s essential to remember that your humanity remains a vital asset in your professional journey, complementing rather than competing with artificial intelligence (AI). In simpler terms, AI and your human skills can coexist and even empower your career.
While AI’s role in improving resumes has garnered recent attention, there are lesser-known AI applications that can positively impact your journey. Whether you’re already navigating the current AI landscape or just beginning to explore its potential, there are a few unconventional AI applications that can make all the difference.
“Depending on what you need, you use the right tool. Thinking of AI and these other [AI programs] like Chat GPT, it would be silly to not use them. It would be just pushing away all of the opportunities that it could give us. That’s not to say that it’s going to be perfect. It’s not to say that there isn’t going to be work that’s needing to be done after this. It’s a tool. It is not the end all be all. Use the tool as it’s expected to be used: as a resource, but then use your mind to make sure that it [the result it gives you] makes sense.”
– Matthew Rodgers, career expert at edX
1. Career exploration and skill-alignment
Finding work that aligns with your professional goals, interests, and passions can be difficult, especially when you have no idea what’s out there. AI tools can help you discover potential career paths and align your skills with the right positions, expanding your horizons and enhancing your competitive edge. Here’s how:
- Role discovery: AI can generate lists of roles in areas of interest or suggest field crossovers and job titles you may not have considered, regardless of your career stage.
- Pivot identification: If you’re considering a career change but don’t know where to start, AI can draw parallels between your current skills and those needed in another profession, broadening your horizons.
- Skill-matching: AI can align your skills with job requirements, ensuring you apply for positions where you have a competitive edge.
- Theme analysis: AI can identify recurring themes in your interests and recommend career moves that resonate with those trends.
“That’s what I’m recommending that my students speak to. When you are in an interview or are having a conversation, and you don’t have any experience in this field. That’s one of the things that I love using AI for. Draw parallels between this profession and that profession, and it does. It comes up with quite the list. So It’s actually pretty cool.”
– Irene Tirella, career expert at edX
2. Networking and relationship-building
We’ve said it time and time again: Networking is crucial for career success, but it can often feel burdensome. AI tools simplify networking and relationship building, allowing you to focus on fostering genuine human connections. Here’s how:
- Communication support: AI can provide conversation starters, follow-up suggestions, and even establish a cadence for communication to keep conversations flowing.
- Industry leader identification: AI can connect you with thought leaders and innovators in your industries and areas of interest, helping you stay agile in the rapidly changing professional landscape and be well-informed in relevant industry topics.
- Network expansion: AI tools like Crystal Knows and Meet Frank can recommend new connections based on your goals and interests, helping you grow your professional network.
- Personal brand optimization: AI can refine your online presence, making it appeal to potential connections and ensuring that your personal brand translates as intended.
3. Gap analysis and skill development
AI plays a vital role in self-reflection, helping you recognize opportunities for professional growth beyond career exploration. It evaluates your skills, recommends relevant courses to fill gaps, and provides insights on job performance and project outcomes. Here’s how:
- Skill assessment and development: AI can evaluate your skills, compare them to your desired career path, and recommend relevant courses or training to close skill gaps. It also can suggest learning resources aligned with your career goals.
- Performance analytics: AI can analyze your past job performance, project outcomes, and feedback. This might help you focus on enhancing your skills where they matter most for your desired career outcomes.
- Gap-based career planning: AI can create a personalized career development plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Ask your tool of choice to outline steps and milestones tailored to your career goals and suggest effective paths to achieve them.
Remember that no one knows you better than yourself. Trust your gut and adjust AI prompts if they suggest paths or skills you don’t agree with. Use discretion and cross-reference AI outputs with other sources.
4. Data gathering
Research is essential for a successful career journey, but it often takes a back seat due to other responsibilities. AI can streamline data gathering for market and company research, providing insights on trends, industry news, company profiles, and salary data. It saves you time and helps you make informed career decisions. Here’s how:
- Market research: AI-driven tools can monitor and analyze market trends, industry news, and competitor activities, summarizing vast amounts of information to save you time.
- Company research: AI tools can compile relatively comprehensive profiles of companies, including historical data on their culture, values, financial health, employee reviews, and media appearances. This will help you to make efficient, informed decisions about company fit and alignment with your career goals.
- Salary insights: AI tools can provide salary data for various positions, taking into account factors like location, experience, and industry. This information might set the stage for you to negotiate compensation effectively and make informed decisions about job offers.
“I think that the hard part will be based on the lag time. There’s always going to be a concern for how relevant the data [from AI] could be. The key here is that it’s not your only source. It is one of your sources. Ask the questions, see what the answers come through, and use your mind to recognize [if] you agree with the answer that was given. Maybe you’re gonna get a great response. If it’s just putting out what seems to be garbage, it probably is that we’ve asked the wrong question. So, if we use it as the tool, we’re gonna be stuck. If we use it as one of the tools that we use and we can cross reference and cross check it with other things, that’s going to be the best. It’ll be wonderful, but use the mind that’s been given to you to its fullest extent and don’t allow it just to be in the box of what AI has for us right now.”
– Matthew Rodgers, career expert at edX
5. Interview preparation
The unknown can be intimidating, especially when preparing for high-stakes interviews or job-related challenges. AI can provide personalized interview response training, problem-solving support, and mock interviews to boost your performance and reduce anxiety. Here’s how:
- Response training: AI can offer personalized training for interview responses, ensuring your answers are clear, concise, and tailored to the job or industry. It can help to guide you through behavioral interview questions and help you craft compelling and relevant narratives — think the S.T.A.R. method.
- Potential problem-solving: As we mentioned earlier, AI has the unique ability to sift through vast data. This gives it the ability to research and analyze a prospective employer’s values, culture, and interview patterns. Let AI help you craft meaningful responses that prove your willingness to solve an organization’s problems or consider its pain points.
- Interview practice: AI-powered platforms can conduct mock interviews, offering feedback on your performance and allowing you to practice problem-solving and articulation in a risk-free, judgment-free environment.
“There’s all sorts of stuff out there on the internet that’s public knowledge, people that are, spokespeople for the organizations, you can Google them too and see if they said anything on YouTube or whatever, any types of [company] presentations. So, what I’ll do is take bits and pieces of [those presentations] and work with Chat GPT to pull out the main pieces. In [your] interviews, If you can find the pain points and address them, you’ll be way ahead of the game.”
– Irene Tirella, career expert at edX
In today’s rapidly evolving professional landscape, AI doesn’t have to be just a buzzword; it can be a powerful catalyst for your career success. By wholeheartedly embracing these AI strategies, you’re not simply adapting to change — you’re actively embracing it. With your individuality and humanity at the core of all your career decisions, use technology as a tool to collaborate with rather than resist. This approach will set your career journey on an exciting, fulfilling, and less manual track.