Generative AI for Careers Services: Friend or Foe?

Speaker: Danny Mirza, Coventry University

Date: 30th August 2023

On August 30th we were joined by guest speaker Danny Mirza from Coventry University, who explored the potential of Generative AI for career services.

Danny is a Tech-Savvy Career Development Professional in the UK Higher Education Sector, known for his expertise in career branding, marketing, and engagement through innovative technologies like GenAI tools and applications.

He is a rising voice in the careers scene, consistently pushing boundaries and exploring new frontiers. Danny's exceptional work has been recognized through awards such as the Employability Enhancement Award at London South Bank University, and he has been nominated for three awards this year, including Professional Services Staff Member of the Year at UON, Outstanding Newcomer at AGCAS Annual Awards, and Content Marketer of the Year at the Higher Education Marketing Awards 2023.

Key takeaways

  • The current limitations of career services
  • Unveiling the role of AI in career services and its potential benefits
  • How to prompt properly
  • The best ways to start implementing AI into career services
  • Use cases of AI in career services
  • Student feedback on AI implementation

The Current Limitations of Career Services

Career services, although invaluable, have faced some hurdles. Administrative tasks, like report creation, have long consumed precious time. Here, AI emerges as a powerful ally, efficiently handling these tasks and liberating career professionals to engage more effectively with students.

Another challenge lies in scale. Providing personalized career guidance to every student can be daunting. One-on-one appointments should be reserved for in-depth sessions, not routine tasks like CV writing, which AI can adeptly assist with.

Moreover, career consultants often juggle diverse fields, posing limitations. AI can bridge this gap by offering specialized insights and industry-specific advice, enriching the support offered to students.

Concerns on Privacy

As we explore the world of AI, it's crucial to address privacy concerns. Institutions are committed to ensuring that data is handled securely and in compliance with regulations. Trust is built through transparency, and students can rest assured that their data is handled responsibly.

"Some people ask me: Danny do you know what goes into generative AI? What is the technology? Who owns it? What happens to the data? These are valid concerns, but we use Google all the time and unless you come from a tech background do we know how Google operates? No. So we trust a body, we trust these capitalistic companies to do great and not to do wrong. We trust in these things and like every technology there are bodies right now working on regulating AI too."

How to Prompt Properly

Crafting effective prompts is an essential skill when it comes to leveraging AI for career services. The quality of your questions directly impacts how well AI understands students' needs and delivers tailored advice accurately. Institutions must invest in developing well-crafted prompts that encourage students to provide comprehensive information about their career goals, interests, and concerns. Here are some valuable insights into prompting effectively:

"AI is only as good as what you put in it, so if you think there is a need to rephrase AI and the output isn't good enough, it means the prompt wasn't good enough."

When it comes to interacting with AI, the input—your prompt—is the driving force behind the quality of the output. If you find that the AI's responses are not meeting your expectations, it's a clear sign that your prompt needs improvement. Crafting effective prompts is an iterative process that evolves as you gain a deeper understanding of AI capabilities.

"You need to write proper big, long prompts and give it a big context as to what/who you really are. I use the CLEAR strategy for this. You need to provide the context limited to the question, elaborate on what you're asking, give it some assumptions so it doesn't give you everything, and then redirect."

The CLEAR strategy is your blueprint for crafting prompts that get the results you desire. Let's break it down:

  1. Contextualise: Begin by clearly establishing the context of your request. Tell the AI who you are and what role it needs to assume to address your query effectively. For example, "I am a higher education advisor responsible of helping students with job interviews"
  2. Limit to Question: Next, focus your prompt by specifying the question you want to ask. This narrows down the AI's response and ensures it stays on track. For instance, "I want you to create a workshop plan that covers essential aspects of job interview preparation."
  3. Elaborate: Provide detailed information about what you're asking for. Here's where your creativity comes into play. Think about the various elements you'd like the AI to include. For instance, "I want you to include a section about researching the company, common interview questions, and the STAR method."
  4. Assume: Set clear parameters by adding assumptions. These guide the AI's response and prevent it from providing an overwhelming amount of information. For example, "The workshop will last 90 minutes and will be conducted in person."
  5. Redirect: Conclude your prompt by redirecting the AI's output toward a specific goal or action. This ensures that the AI doesn't just provide information but also takes a practical step. For instance, "Create a worksheet for this workshop."

How to prompt with AI

The Best Ways to Start Implementing AI into Career Services

Danny highlights that the integration of AI into career services requires a strategic approach. Rather than a top-down approach, it's advisable to start from the top button. Senior leadership plays a pivotal role in familiarizing themselves with AI technology and shaping a clear vision for AI's role in career services.

Subsequently, institutions should initiate a process of experimentation. Workshops and training sessions for career professionals help them become acquainted with AI tools and their capabilities. A pilot program with students follows, allowing practical testing and refining of AI solutions in a real-world setting.

Importantly, a well-structured business case should be developed to showcase the potential benefits and return on investment. Tangible evidence of AI's impact on career services is crucial for securing necessary resources and funding, making the transition to AI-driven career development effective.

Use Cases of AI in Career Services

Now, let's explore the practical applications of AI in career services:

  • 1-1 Appointments: AI enhances one-on-one sessions, providing support in CV refinement, interview preparation, and LinkedIn optimization. It also assists in crafting personalized action plans aligned with students' unique goals.
  • Career Workshops: AI transforms career workshops into engaging experiences, from designing plans and incorporating games to creating impactful presentations.
  • Career Events: AI streamlines event management, from logistics to networking, elevating the overall event experience.
  • Career Strategy: AI aids in devising effective career strategies, generating subject-specific plans, crafting authentic assessment tools, and producing tailored mini career handbooks.

Student Feedback on AI Implementation

Student Feedback on AI Implementation

Let's turn the spotlight on Danny's experience with AI integration:

After just five months, Danny's efforts have yielded impressive results, with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 9.7 out of 10. Students have noticed substantial improvements in their career development journey. Appointments and workshops have become more engaging, with students reporting increased control over their career paths and better preparation for one-on-one sessions. AI's personalized recommendations have boosted students' confidence in applying for jobs.

Danny's story underscores that AI is not a foe but a friend, enriching the career services landscape. It empowers career consultants to provide more effective support and equips students with the tools they need to navigate their career journeys successfully.

About the speaker and host

Danny Mirza

Coventry University (London Hub)


Sophie Thompson (Host)

CEO VirtualSpeech


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