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5 Ways Tech Tools Can Help You Get Hired After 50

ChatGPT and other AI programs can help with your resume, cover letter and job search

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After decades of being the subject of science fiction, artificial intelligence — which uses computer science and large amounts of data to perform tasks, solve problems and communicate — is becoming mainstream. Among other uses, the technology can be found in many workplace tools, ranging from human resources tools and accounting software to customer service and marketing platforms.

Since the launch of the AI tool ChatGPT in November 2022, widespread curiosity has emerged about the potential of generative AI, which is AI that can create text, images and other media components upon request. Because it’s essentially a chatbot, ChatGPT can seemingly carry on conversations, answering basic requests (a recipe for chicken soup) to more complex assignments (a short essay on your favorite book).

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But for job seekers, especially those age 50 and older, these tools may offer help in landing that next gig. Older applicants often encounter age bias in the hiring process, either because they are not considered tech-savvy by recruiters or because the technologies that screen resumes filter out resumes that don’t include the keywords the employer is seeking.

While ChatGPT and similar technologies are new, there are signs that these tools can offer a boost to applicants who use them. A recent survey by ResumeBuilder found that nearly half of respondents (46 percent) said they used ChatGPT to write their resumes or cover letters for them. Of those, three in four (78 percent) got an interview when using ChatGPT to write application materials for them, according to the research.

If the thought of learning another technology platform sounds off-putting, rest assured that many AI platforms are user-friendly, says career expert Amanda Augustine. Referring specifically to ChatGPT, she says, “The platform is so easy, so intuitive. You shouldn’t be intimidated by this technology, because it’s actually very easy to use.”

Some AI-powered tools are very specific in their purpose, while others can answer a wide range of questions and even generate documents and images. They can help you gather information, track your job search progress, put your best foot forward and prepare for the interview process in a variety of ways.

But it’s important to remember that the tools are just that — tools, says Ryan Miller, director of client success at Employment BOOST, a resume-writing and career coaching firm. “We characterize tools like ChatGPT as a very, very good supplement to the job search,” he says. “But, at the end of the day, you still have to show up and prepare effectively, represent yourself and market yourself well.”

Here are five ways the tools can help older adults in their job search.

1. AI can find, optimize and manage job opportunities

Many job-search platforms use AI to help you find opportunities and ensure that you’re using the right keywords and phrases for them. Tools like Talentprise and Talentpair use AI to analyze your resume and suggest relevant job opportunities, while others, like Jobscan, use AI to help you optimize your resume to get past automated applicant tracking systems used by many companies to select candidates for interviews. Such tools can help you find opportunities, then ensure you have the right keywords and skills highlighted.​​Remote job coach Jordan Carroll, author of Remote for Life: How to Find a Flexible Job and Fast Forward to Freedom, says tools like Teal can help track job opportunities and applications, as well as help you build your resume with the right keywords. “This is the one of the first steps that we can really use AI to help us because you can plug job descriptions into something like ChatGPT or Teal, which will give you lists of keywords,” Carroll says.

2. AI can help write resumes and cover letters

Some AI tools can even do the heavy lifting of writing your resume and cover letter for you. Of course, you shouldn’t just send along whatever the tool creates — even AI needs a good editor, and you want to be sure it got everything right. But Augustine says the tool can help you find just the right way to turn a phrase.

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“I really like it because if somebody has trouble wording things — just isn’t sure if something sounds professional — you can very quickly ask for advice and it will provide you with sample text you can use, whether it’s a response to an interview question or it’s answering a question via email or inquiry,” she says.

3. AI can help you with company research

“ChatGPT and other generative AI has really made it so not having done your homework on an application or a potential opportunity that you're going for is almost criminal,” Miller says. Simply ask the tool questions about the company — its history, marketing priorities, stock prices, latest news — and you’ll get a range of information within seconds. In seconds, you may get a variety of leads on information about the employer, such as a review on Glassdoor, information from the company’s website and other useful data that you can confirm by using a search engine or by asking a corporate recruiter or company contact, she says, which can save time.

4. AI can help you practice interviewing and negotiating a salary

Augustine says that tools like ChatGPT can help you predict the types of questions that might be asked in an interview. “Interviews are conducted by humans, so it’s never going to be a perfect fit. But it can also help just prep yourself,” she says. And, in the same way that it can come up with the right way to phrase a cover letter segment or resume entry, it can give you content that might be helpful in answering interview questions.

AI also can help you gather information for salary negotiations — but don’t rely on it entirely, says Andres Lares, managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute and coauthor of Persuade: The 4-Step Process to Influence People and Decisions. “AI is about gathering information efficiently and effectively, but it isn’t necessarily the best negotiator. So, you want to use it as a resource,” he says, but not to give you a script to read word for word.

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5. But you have to use the AI tools effectively

Clearly, there are many AI-powered tools that can help you with your job search. To get the best results, the experts have a few tips.

  • Choose your tools based on your needs. There are so many tools, the options can be overwhelming. Miller advises choosing the tools you use based on your needs. You may need a tool that tracks your applications rather than one to do research. Make the best use of your time by choosing accordingly.
  • Be specific in what you’re asking. The information you get, especially from generative AI tools like ChatGPT, depends on what and how you phrase your question, which is called a prompt. Think about what you want to know and be logical in how you ask it, including adding context or background details when they will help refine the response. Carroll has created a collection of sample prompts as examples.
  • Fact-check AI results. There’s an important caveat to using generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard: make sure the information they give you is correct. Such tools often have disclaimers that the information you receive may be erroneous or even made up. So, why use them? They can still give you leads on information you may not find in other places, Augustine says. Another tip: When you write your prompt, ask the tool to provide a bibliography of where it got the data to make it easier to verify. 

Used properly, AI-powered platforms and generative AI can help you save time, gather information, stay organized and even gain an edge when you’re job-hunting. And those are advantages any job seeker can use.

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