Job seekers have been using technology for decades – but has the career equivalent of online dating really advanced with the times?
Today, most job seekers rely on popular search engines to direct them to open positions that align with their preferred location, role and salary. They type in a couple of basic search terms like “engineering job near me,” wait to be served up a list of open positions, trawl through them and apply for those they feel are the closest fit.
If someone’s out of work and needing an immediate position, they might apply for jobs that aren’t quite what they’re looking for, hoping that if they cast a wide enough net, they’ll increase their chances of success. Then, they sit back and wait, hoping they’ll receive some form of positive response to at least a few of their applications.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
I believe many people are so used to this formula that they don’t grasp how broken and unsatisfactory it really is. If you take a step back and contemplate it objectively, you’ll see that it’s a deeply inefficient and somewhat bizarre courting ritual.
Given the super-charged, data-infused digital world we live in, you might be forgiven for thinking, “Surely there’s a better way.”
For most people, the term AI conjures up images of robots and machines crunching numbers somewhere in the cloud, endless lines of code and speeds and feeds. That doesn’t seem very “human,” right?
But the truth is that AI is more human than you think, and it can play a helpful role in building your career – if you let it.
Let’s go back to the broken job-search ritual so many of us get caught up in. What if we could approach job hunting more intelligently?
The good news is, we can.
Three Ways AI Can Help
1. Candidate-Company Matchmaking
What if, rather than simply connecting with job openings that meet your (basic) keyword searches, you could connect with companies that have positions open in your line of work and where you’d be a good fit based on your skills and experience?
With an AI-powered analysis of your resume, you can do just that.
Job boards that leverage technology to help their members find the perfect employer have features that allow you to upload your resume so it can be read by AI. The information on your resume is then combined with that of millions of other job seekers.
With the resulting data set, AI can compare your skills and experiences with those of members similar to you, and see where those members found a good company match. Instead of simply looking for open positions, AI assesses the fit between the person who’s looking for a job and the companies that have relevant positions available.
2. Workstyle Games
The best job boards take this a step further by using AI to understand your ideal work style based on an engaging personality test. When you sign up as a member, you’re invited to play a “workstyle game.” While you’re playing, advanced algorithms observe your keystrokes and how you interact with the game.
The AI platform merges this information with open positions, then suggests which companies would offer you the best work style, personality and cultural fit. This is a critical addition to the AI analysis of your resume.
Job seekers should be matched with companies that not only align with their skills and previous work experience, but with their long-term goals and ideal work environment. This ensures that job seekers find a fit for their skillset and their personal and professional preferences, leading to a more harmonious pairing of employer and employee.
3. Follow My Leader
AI can give you visibility into the career journeys of other workers who have skills and personalities similar to yours. It also lets their paths inspire and guide you.
Say you’re a software developer whose ultimate goal is to work at Apple. You can check out the companies where people now at Apple worked before they took on their job, and after they moved on to next. This allows you to create a shortlist of companies that would be an ideal fit in terms of culture and skills, and on which you should concentrate your job search.
This functionality also allows you to become more intentional about taking the “long view” to your career. Doing that helps you plot out a series of stepping stones (and potential employers) that will ultimately let you arrive at your preferred career destination.
What Are the Odds?
AI opens the door to a holistic, less linear approach to job searching. It also helps you expand your thinking beyond “the next job.” It allows you to reconsider what it is that you really want to do instead of trying to shoehorn yourself into positions that might not be right for you or align with your personality, work style and long-term goals.
Ultimately, a machine that has access to billions of data points has a far greater chance of success in predicting what your next career choices should be. It certainly has a better chance than relying solely on intuition.
Of course, career decisions are always going to be personal ones. Whether or not you choose to explore the opportunities that AI surfaces is up to you. But most of us would probably say we were glad to have options we didn’t pursue rather than never even knowing they were there for the taking.
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