“I’m looking for ideas” – 3 ways to use AI for career exploration

Looking for ideas AI

In the next blog in our AI and Careers series, we’re going to show how you could use a generative AI tool like ChatGPT to start you off on career searching.

Many students, alumni and early career researchers aren’t sure where to start when it comes to deciding what to do as a career. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when you’re starting with blank slate! Here are 3 ways you can use AI to help.

1.      Ask it “What shall I do?”

The prompt is all important when it comes to getting AI to work well for you. I borrowed this one from Chris Webb

Example prompt: Please could you take the role of a career research tool, I will give you a list of my strengths and interests and I am hoping you can work backwards, giving me some ideas about what roles and industries might suit me.”

The beauty of this approach is that you don’t have to do loads of deep thinking before you get started. Just jot down a few ideas and see what it says.  If it returns suggestions that you don’t like the look of, add another sentence or two to explain why those options don’t appeal to you and get it to try again. To follow up from the prompt above, try finishing the following sentences and see what comes up.

I study [subject and level]. I would like a job that’s closely/slightly/not at all connected to my subject.

I love …

I am good at…

I have considered [job or career] because [things that attract you] but I am not sure about [things that put you off]

I know I don’t want to do [job or career] because …

In answering these questions you can draw on a range of experiences including your studies, extracurricular activities, casual & professional work experience and personal interests.

It’s likely that the AI tool will return a list of potential jobs and brief details about what they involve- you should always check the information with some reliable sources! Good places to look are https://www.careers.cam.ac.uk/careers-sectors-az and https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles. You could also look up people doing that job on LinkedIn to find out more about who they work for and what else they have done.

2.      Ask it “What am I good at?”

The first suggestion is all very well but what if you’re not sure about the sort of things you enjoy and are good at, to start with? Here’s a prompt you could try.

Example prompt: I want you to behave as a coaching tool to help me reflect on my skills and strengths. Please ask me about three experiences I have had where I have performed well and enjoyed myself. I want you to ask the questions separately for each experience, giving me time to answer each one before moving on. Please ask at least one follow-up question in each case in order to help me dig deeper into which aspect of the experience was the most fulfilling. After you have asked me about all three experiences, I want you to summarise any common themes and qualities I have demonstrated across all of them giving me a better understanding of my skills and strengths.”

If you’re struggling to think of three experiences, you can add an additional prompt to ask it to help you think of one.

3.      Ask it “Tell me more about…”

If you have found a job that looks interesting, from prompt 1, talking to friends & family or seeing what other students have done or after attending a careers event, you can use an AI Tool to investigate further

Example prompt:

Can you take on the persona of a [job role] and describe how your day went yesterday and what you did and didn’t enjoy?”

To dig deeper, you can cut and paste the job description or person specification from a vacancy and ask it to suggest other similar job titles and employers.

Example prompts: “I am going to give you a job description I’m interested in, and I would like you to suggest other, similar job titles and employers that might also interest me.”

“I will share a job description of a senior job I would like to do in the future, can you suggest some specific job titles, employers or companies where I could get work experience to help me go in that direction?”

Be aware that most Generative AI tools reflect and exacerbate cultural bias in the that they’re trained on. You can add further prompts to specify whether you would like it to focus on a particular country, geographical region or on a particular bit of the job description that matters most to you but this bias is likely to still have an impact so you should critically evaluate the results you get. The free version of ChatGPT currently only uses data up to 2021 so you should also be aware that it might not have the most up to date information.

And if you’ve started looking at possible careers and next steps and would like to talk to a human about it, come and find us at a Careers Service pop up or book an appointment.


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