ChatGPT & Generative AI

Teaching CTE Students About Work-Related Uses of AI

Teachers can show students responsible uses of AI for situations like preparing for interviews and writing résumés and cover letters.

March 15, 2024
skynesher / iStock

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) can better position career and technical education (CTE) teachers to prepare their students for the future. From helping students hone interview skills and articulate their abilities on résumés to fine-tuning cover letter copy customized to a particular job description and enhancing professional and industry language, there are many ways to leverage AI tools to build students’ career readiness in the CTE classroom.

Before using AI with your CTE students, remind them that they should not add personal information into AI, including business names, their name, the name of your school, locations, phone numbers, or other personally identifiable information. Students and teachers should always consider that online tools collect information, and in order to keep student information private, refraining from inputting this information into AI platforms is paramount. 

It’s also good practice to require parent or guardian permission and notify parents or guardians of AI integration in the classroom. Teachers should share with parents and guardians projects their teens will work on and explain how (and why) they will use AI to complement their workflow. Transparency is key to a successful implementation.

Sharing with Students the Benefits of Using AI in CTE

Establish the “why” with your students by considering the role of artificial intelligence when preparing a job application.

Share that, when prompted well, artificial intelligence can review a job posting and extract the details that students might want to include in their résumé, cover letter, and/or interview. Students can paste their résumés into the AI platform (deleting any personal information) and ask the AI to act as the prospective employer. Then, the AI tool can suggest different additions or omissions based on the job posting or description. 

Students can also interact with AI as if it were an interviewer and prepare to answer questions on the spot. The AI can ask students questions and help them think of specific responses for those questions, unique to the student’s résumé. This will increase students’ confidence entering the interview process. 

Ethical Uses

Emphasize ethical use of AI. Students should not simply copy and paste the information from AI into their résumé or cover letter. It’s crucial to communicate that students can use AI to help build the items mentioned above, but it is not a replacement for original thinking and writing. 

Insist that students edit and add to the AI’s responses. Prompting AI to ask them questions, rather than provide answers, is another way to prevent students’ rote copy-and-pasting, positioning the technology as a guide or tutor. 

Avoid asking students to use AI to compose a full cover letter or résumé. Instead, use specific wording that prompts AI to develop questions that help students brainstorm and draft a cover letter or résumé. This step is meant to assist students in developing ideas and personalizing their tone. Students can even ask AI to help them “say this more clearly and concisely,” but they should edit the final copy to include their voice. 

Sample Prompt Exchanges

Notice how the following prompt asks AI to develop lists of questions to help students brainstorm: “I am a high school student in an HVACR class. I am preparing for an interview as a (job title) at a heating business. Ask me questions as if you were the interviewer.”

Once the platform generates questions, students can review them and gauge whether they feel fit to respond. When they find a question that is too difficult, they can use this prompt: “Can you develop questions to help me formulate a response to (copy and paste the question)?” The AI will share questions for the student to help them formulate a response. Students can also prompt the AI to develop a list of industry-specific terms to help them prepare responses. 

For cover letters, an AI-as-tutor prompt might look like this: “Can you develop questions to help me draft a cover letter based on this job description?” Students should input the job description for a position they’re interested in applying for. The AI will provide a series of questions to help the student develop a cover letter.

To further personalize a résumé to a specific job, students can prompt the AI to help them develop phrases for their résumé. Once students incorporate the phrases into their résumé, they can then put the text from their résumé back into the AI platform and ask it to provide feedback. 

Throughout these exercises, discuss with students the importance of editing AI output to ensure that it matches their voice, reiterating the importance of their original thought and personality. 

Enhancing Preparation

AI offers numerous possibilities for CTE students who, within just an hour, could use the technology to help them create a cover letter, build a résumé, and practice interviewing with an industry expert.

By practicing the above strategies while also honing critical thinking skills by checking for errors, adding industry terms and knowledge, and supplementing the text with their unique voice and tone, we can support students by building career readiness skills and preparing them to ethically use AI in their lives beyond school.

Share This Story

  • email icon

Filed Under

  • ChatGPT & Generative AI
  • Career & Technical Education
  • Technology Integration
  • 9-12 High School

Follow Edutopia

  • facebook icon
  • twitter icon
  • instagram icon
  • youtube icon
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
George Lucas Educational Foundation
Edutopia is an initiative of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Edutopia®, the EDU Logo™ and Lucas Education Research Logo® are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries.