Making AI work in your career
How do you feel about the rapid development in AI? Fascinated? Terrified? Maybe a little bit of both?
Whilst the possibilities it offers are undoubtedly exciting, we’ve all seen the alarming predictions in the media about how AI could kill certain jobs – and this has left many of us feeling anxious about how our future careers will look in an AI world.
But artificial intelligence is here to stay. So rather than sticking our heads in the sand, hoping it’ll just go away (spoiler alert: it won’t!), how can we make AI work for us in our career instead?
It’s all in the mind …
We can start by changing the way we think about artificial intelligence.
Instead of worrying about whether AI will take our jobs, we should explore how we can use AI to help us do our jobs better, as well as open ourselves up to some of the new opportunities it presents.
Taking this more pro-active approach will also give us a competitive edge over those who shun AI, as more and more employers cotton on to its importance and value in the workplace. A recent study by The IBM Institute for Business Value predicts that ‘AI won’t replace people – but people who use AI will replace people who don’t.’
Facing up to AI
At this point, I’m going to hold my hands up – until recently, I was one of those people with their heads in the sand when it came to all things AI. As a Career Management Coach, I knew it was something I had to get to grips with, but I kept putting it off as I was a little afraid of it.
Perhaps you feel the same?
What changed it for me was reading the book I, Human by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. In it he describes AI as ‘just humble computer code designed to make human tasks more predictable’. These words immediately put me at ease and as I read on, I thought, ‘I get this now!’
As I dived further into the topic, I began to understand how working collaboratively with artificial intelligence can benefit our careers in so many ways – that AI is something we should walk towards rather than shy away from.
So let’s look at some of the ways we can work with AI to future-proof our careers:
1. Be curious
If hearing the term ‘AI’ brings you out in a cold sweat, I suggest you start by just seeing what’s out there and having a play. AI has already found its way into our everyday lives – think about when you use a voice assistant, your smart speaker, or the live chat function when shopping online. So why not explore some of the other AI tools that have been developed and are free to use? For example, Bing now offers an AI powered search engine, and eBay is rolling out a new feature which will allow you to use AI to generate item descriptions.
2. Boost your skills
As part of our ongoing career development, we regularly take steps to refresh our skills as well as learn new ones – so why not adopt the same approach to AI? There are lots of virtual learning platforms out there offering short courses for beginners – some of them free! Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn and Elements of AI are just a few you could try (and you don’t need a techie background).
3. Keep up to date
Check out free resources to keep up with the latest developments and trends – for example, sign up to Google alerts, read blogs and other online resources such as the tech sections on news websites, and familiarise yourself with AI terminology using an online glossary. Talk to colleagues and friends too to see what AI tools they’re using.
4. Make it work for you
Think about how you could use artificial intelligence in your current job to help you work more efficiently and effectively – at the same time, demonstrating to your manager a willingness to learn and adapt.
For example, ChatGpt can be used to perform all sorts of tasks, such as searching the internet, writing documents, responding to emails and social media posts, and planning and scheduling. Another AI tool – DALL-E – can quickly generate unique digital images from descriptive text.
If you’re on the hunt for a new job, create a section on your CV headed ‘AI / Tech Skills’. Under this heading, list any AI-related education and the AI tools you’re familiar with, along with examples of how you’ve used them to improve how you work.
A note of caution! Think carefully before using a tool like ChatGPt to write your job application and cover letter. If you get found out, a potential employer may not be impressed that you’ve tried to ‘game the system’.
5. Explore new opportunities
Developments in AI have created the need for new types of jobs, as well as a huge demand for new skills. Most of these jobs, for example cybersecurity specialist, smart-home design manager, and algorithm bias auditor, will require a technical background. However, AI is also opening up new opportunities in areas that are linked to tech but don’t require technical know-how, for example, ethics advisors and virtual-event planners.
6. Hone your human skills
There are some skills that are highly sought after by employers that AI can’t replicate – human skills such as problem-solving, communication, emotional intelligence and leadership. If we want to stay ahead of the game, it’s essential we focus on developing these valued skills in a world where AI does the techie stuff so well.
Here’s one idea to help you do this.
Each week, make an audit of the skills you’re using and note where the gaps are. For example, if you notice that in a meeting, everyone is solely focused on the tech and that no-one is really engaging with others, lean in and make a point of stretching both your human skills and those of the others in the room. You can do this in the following ways:
- Try saying ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ or ‘I’ to build a sense of kinship and send the message that you’re a team.
- Instead of referring to someone by their title, why not use their first name?
- Ask open questions to include everyone in the conversation, actively listen to their responses and then ask relevant questions that show you’ve heard them.
These three simple steps are all things you can do easily – but that AI can’t!
I hope you’ve found my suggestions on making AI work in your career useful, but if you’d like more guidance or advice on getting comfortable with being stretched so you can step up in your career, please do get in touch.
As a Career Management Coach and Mentor, I provide professionals with outplacement, career development and communication coaching to help them flourish!