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How Does Artificial Intelligence Impact The Job Search: Does it Help or Hurt Your Chances?

When someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of autonomous cars or smart home hubs, people can’t get enough. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities of these innovations. But it’s rare that AI in the context of the job search gets as much attention or enthusiasm—especially when you only think of it as the “robots” you have to get your resume past.

But beyond that, what is artificial intelligence in the context of job searching? AI is utilized in almost every aspect of the hunt, from optimizing job postings to uncovering salary insights to, of course, resume scanning software and applicant tracking systems.

What does that mean for job seekers? According to Jennifer Zamora and Stacey Perkins, career coaches at SoFi and Korn Ferry Advance, there are pros and cons to artificial intelligence’s impact on jobs and your search—and there are ways to work with it successfully. Here’s a breakdown.

How Does AI Help Job Seekers?

While many applicants associate artificial intelligence in the job search with resume scanning software and automated rejection emails, that’s not the extent of AI’s role.

Just think of how you typically browse for a job online today: You probably go to a job board or search engine, type in a few keywords, and see a relevant list of jobs populate. Often, those job listings are carefully curated by AI. These search engines and job boards gather historical data from job seekers’ past behavior, then use it to display the most relevant positions—taking into account considerations such as skills, professional experience, and even commute time.

This data may also give you insight into potential roles, so you can determine if they’re worth the time it takes to apply. For example, while companies have historically been tight-lipped about compensation until you get an offer, some job boards now aggregate data from millions of users and employers to provide estimated salary ranges.

“That makes the job search more efficient,” says Perkins. “When I talk to job seekers, they’re often frustrated by the number of hoops they have to jump through. AI can help alleviate some of those.”

How Does AI Hurt Job Seekers?

While AI can create a more efficient and personalized search process, the automated application process that follows can easily overlook certain types of job seekers.

“It doesn’t always pick up individuals who don’t fit neatly within the box of that particular job description, like someone with a blended background or someone who’s a career changer,” explains Zamora. “It’s more optimized for someone with a linear path.”

That’s typically because automated systems are looking for particular keywords; if you’re trying to highlight your transferable skills rather than specific experiences listed in the job description, you may not be able to include the precise terms you need to appeal to the system.

Plus, while you may be able to get an idea of an organization’s people and culture, you won’t be able to completely understand whether you’ll be a good fit until you start talking with other humans who work there.

“The emotional and the cultural fit is tough to gauge using AI,” says Perkins. “You still need the human element at the end to make that decision.”

What Does AI Mean for Your Job Search?

Despite the challenges, a job search that incorporates AI isn’t impossible to navigate.

“You just need to be aware that it’s part of the process; it’s not the whole process,” says Zamora. That means, yes, you need to try to incorporate keywords from the job description into your resume so you have the best chance possible of appearing in recruiters’ search results.

“But you also have to leverage your network,” says Zamora. “You have to get in front of the people who are making the decisions—especially if you don’t fit within that box and have a skill set that’s not identifiable through the AI process.”

Zamora recommends starting on LinkedIn and looking for the recruiter from the company you’re applying to or someone within your network who could introduce you to that person. That will give you the opportunity to craft and send a well-written cover letter explaining why you’re a great fit for the role—especially if that doesn’t fit neatly within the keywords required by the system.

You may also get to have real, human interactions with that person—which can sometimes be a better gauge of cultural and emotional fit.

Ultimately, artificial intelligence’s impact on jobs and the job search goes both ways. AI can help you find relevant positions and provide insight into potential jobs—but you have to be willing to work within the application process that comes down the line.

According to Perkins, “AI isn’t going away. It’s a part of our world, and we have to figure out how to maneuver with it.”

Navigating the job search process can be confusing and stressful. If you’re a SoFi member, sign up for a complimentary one-on-one session with a career coach, who can help you successfully get through every step in the process. Not a SoFi member yet? Head to SoFi.com to learn more.


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