Levelling the playing field Benefits of AI tools in the job application process

Magdalena Fosshaug, Senior Adviser & Ciaran O’Connor, Adviser
Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills

Karriereveiledning.no, the digital career guidance service in Norway, has integrated some Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools into its services. These aim to level the playing field in career development by providing accessible assistance to individuals, regardless of their digital literacy or language barriers.

AI-powered cover letter drafts and interview training

The inspiration for these tools came from insights gathered through career guidance chats, revealing that writing a cover letter to a CV is a significant challenge for many. To aid them, a cover letter tool was developed. Users can paste in their CV and a job advertisement and the tool produces a tailored cover letter draft for that position. This not only saves time but also addresses accessibility, catering to individuals with low digital competence, reading and writing difficulties as well as non-native speakers. Before the launch, a legal assessment was conducted, both to evaluate privacy and to clarify to users how their data is handled.

Complementing this cover letter tool is an AI-driven interview training feature. Users can paste in the job description for the position they have applied for and receive a set of interview questions, allowing them to practise articulating their competencies relevant to the job. This tailored practice not only enhances their interview skills but also fosters a deeper understanding of the job they are applying for.

Advantages of AI-powered tools

The advantages of these AI-powered tools are many. They contribute to social inclusion by ensuring an equitable job-seeking process, minimising the impact of poorly structured cover letters or typos by potentially excellent candidates. Additionally, they facilitate career learning, providing insights into building a stronger application based on individual profiles.

Some users report a high volume of job applications during their job search and there is an increasing demand for tailored cover letters. Crafting tailored cover letters is a time consuming process often leading some people abandoning the pursuit and instead opting to submit generic cover letters for multiple positions. For these users, the tool provides a prompt and flexible solution to create tailored cover letter drafts in minimal time.

Is using AI cheating? And can you trust it?

In theory, you can ask anyone to write a cover letter for you – whether it's someone in your network, paid services for tailored applications or by using e.g. ChatGPT. In terms of trusting AI, the answer is: not entirely. In the absence of information, the tool may invent elements that could lead to overselling or misrepresentation. Therefore, users are advised that the cover letter service provides only a first draft. Users are encouraged to check if the cover letter aligns with their actual education, experience and personality. This is crucial to ensure that the cover letter accurately reflects the user and their skills.

User testing for enhanced career guidance tools

User testing revealed positive feedback, with the participants expressing their satisfaction. Comments like "It was impressively accurate!" and "A solid starting point" emphasised the tool's utility. Testers also recognised the importance of refining the generated text to align with their unique narratives.