Jobs/Employment

AI for job hunting: Smart idea or risky business?

Artificial intelligence can now do much of your job hunt for you, even writing application essays, but experts say using AI comes with risks.

AI for job hunting: Smart idea or risky business?
Keith Srakocic/AP
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping into almost every job, even the job hunt itself. So if you're working on applying for a new job soon, getting help from artificial intelligence may be tempting.

But employment and security experts say you need to be very careful.

Free AI programs can now write your resume, fill in applications, and even write essays for you.

Dave Hatter of Intrust IT Security says the advantage is that "in many cases, I am going to get something that's probably 60% to 90% complete in a matter of seconds."

But he says that is no guarantee of quality.

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Risk of relying on AI

He says tests show that AI sometimes generates untrue facts.

"Sometimes it hallucinates, where it can't explain how it came up with an answer," Hatter said of the term used for AI gibberish. "Sometimes it just makes stuff up out of whole cloth."

In addition, if your AI essay is too good, he cautions, your prospective boss could realize it wasn't you who wrote it.

"I go in and represent something as my work, especially in an interview, and you start asking questions that I probably can't answer, that's not going to go well," Hatter said.

FlexJobs career expert Toni Frana says AI can be a resource to get you started on the application process.

"It can help you add some additional action verbs or think of different ways to write about your key accomplishments," she said.

But, she says, an AI-generated resume should never be the final product.

"You must as a job seeker, continue to tailor your application materials to really set yourself apart from those applicants who don't take the time to do that," she said,

Bottom line: don't rely on AI to do most of your job hunting for you.

"I would not recommend people take whatever it spits out and just use it as is," Hatter said.