If you want to sell anything at the moment, whether it’s business software, personalised headphones or career resources, then Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be a key marketing hook.  Is the hype around AI deserved or simply a cute marketing ploy to persuade customers to pay a premium?

The answer is that while AI offers genuine game-changing opportunities in the way it processes information and crafts its responses, the results are only meaningful if it’s applied using the right principles and with human judgement.  Otherwise, the advantages of AI are lost.

When I wrote the first edition of my book You’re Hired! How to Write a Brilliant CV in 2009, it seemed radical at the time to suggest that people had to curate their CV in a way that would appeal to employers hiring for specific jobs, rather than simply provide a record of their employment history. This book quickly became the UK’s best-selling CV book and subsequently remained there for a very long time as candidates adjusted to the idea of having to ‘sell themselves’.

Later editions of the book updated this advice for a job market where most people now had access to a computer, where digital recruitment was growing and where candidates needed to develop a ‘personal brand’.  New tactics were needed to ensure that candidates were visible to recruiters and that their CVs and applications cut through the competition and landed them on the shortlist pile.

The brand-new edition of my book, retitled Standout CVs, published in December 2023, is written for a post-pandemic world where the workplace has changed and where AI and its immense language-crafting capabilities will increasingly become an invaluable go-to tool for candidates.

AI is already raising the bar in terms of the standard of candidate applications, opening up career opportunities for individuals who otherwise may be overlooked because their written or self-promotion skills are not as strong.  It is potentially a great levelling up resource for those without access to personal career support.

In Standout CVs, I also show how easy it is for candidates to use AI to research target jobs, sectors and their requirements.  Unlike conventional internet searches, which result in a list of suggested websites that you can then click on and read, AI synthesises information from many different internet sources and presents you with a very readable summary. 

You can then ask AI to use this information combined with an individual’s specific career history and achievements to compose an ideal CV for this type of role.  The AI will provide an excellent written structure and ideas which you can then personalise further.

It sounds marvellous – and in many respects it is.

However, the fundamental principles of CV writing and marketing yourself as a candidate still apply.  Firstly, it has to be authentic. There’s no point misrepresenting yourself, otherwise you might not only be quickly found out, but could even be prosecuted for fraud.  Your CV and applications have to be substantiated with evidence providing real-life examples of the very capabilities that the employer is looking for.  AI can produce a very positive, impressive-sounding CV but without this detail, it will seem glib and superficial.  Employers will be on high alert for this type of ‘AI-washing’.

AI can also be a ‘blagger’ and make things up, so you always need to check its accuracy by looking at sources.  It makes mistakes.  While the grammar and spell-check functions are very helpful, turning a clumsily written sentence into something more fluently expressed, it often defaults to Americanisms, for instance, using ‘color’ instead of ‘colour’.

You can choose the language style you want, e.g. formal or conversational, but sometimes the phrasing can seem pompous or inappropriate.

All of these show that while AI can be enormously helpful, candidates still need to use their judgement to create an authentic and appealing version of themselves in their candidate-marketing materials.

To this end, it feels more important than ever that when we as career leaders offer individuals career advice, we show them not only how to use the latest technological tools that will help them, but also explain the importance of the fundamental principles of marketing themselves to an employer.

It will always be essential for individuals to determine their own strengths and interests so that they can apply for the right roles for them in the first place.  They will always need to show how they match the job requirements.  Candidates also need to understand the levels of diligence and professionalism required for a successful application.

None of these fundamentals can ever be fully delegated to AI.  But once they are in place, AI can be used very successfully to provide useful ideas and a written framework for candidates to personalise.  This will be a major help to many people who are looking to market themselves to potential employers and progress in their careers.


To find out more about how to write a CV that sticks out from the crowd, you can buy a copy of Corinne Mills’ new book, You’re Hired! Standout CVs.