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Leveling the playing field with AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a major topic of conversation as technologies like ChatGPT rapidly advance in quality and application. The use of AI technologies is not, however, new.

Jared Carlson, who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and returned during the pandemic “to be closer to family,” recognized that AI was used by large companies in their hiring processes. He and a childhood friend, Devin Owen, set out to develop a tool for applicants to also use AI and improve their chances of standing out among a sea of international applicants for certain jobs.

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Carlson attended Colorado Rocky Mountain School and told The Sopris Sun that the influence of teachers and experiences at that school shaped who he is today — with a broad worldview, appreciation for nature and commitment to be in service to others. In gratitude for such a supportive, educational experience, Carlson has oriented his life toward giving back to others, “creating a world that’s just and equitable and nice to live in,” he said.

During the pandemic, he was presented with an opportunity to leave his customer service job at a large company, helping farmers around the world “find themselves” with GPS tractors, and instead apply his international affairs education toward helping Owen launch Savviest.

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“I approach AI from a holistic, humanist perspective,” said Carlson. “How can we use this as a way to benefit the world?”

Savviest, an AI-driven résumé and cover letter creating tool, was developed to “help people tell their unique story,” Carlson said, recognizing that it’s exceedingly difficult for people to find stable work that meets their needs, especially with increased competition from a global workforce with technology that allows people to work from anywhere.

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It’s become common for companies that may receive hundreds of applicants for a job (or more) to use AI to efficiently filter for the most qualified candidates based on their skills and experience. Savviest works with a client to quickly develop a résumé catered to each specific job posting so relevant skills are more likely to be noticed. Carlson sees it as a way to “even the playing field.” Savviest also provides coaching assistance and job application tracking.

“What we’re doing is using AI to look at everything a candidate has written — experience, educational background — and condensing that down into a single résumé for a job,” explained Carlson.

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Earlier this year, Savviest was acquired by PAIRIN, a Denver-based career platform that will be utilized by the State of Colorado to help residents compete for work. In this way, the tool will become more broadly available for free, as a state service, which Carlson is proud to see.

“When we were thinking about selling Savviest, the most exciting thing was, how can we get [the tool] in more people’s hands?”

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Better yet, Carlson was hired by PAIRIN and continues to work on improving Savviest. “We’re very aligned with their mission,” he said about his employer, which also focuses on “upskilling” and “reskilling” for workers as the needs of modern industry quickly evolve. “Adaptability and change are key components of being successful these days.”

Carlson continued, “One of our biggest supporters throughout this entire journey has been Colorado Mountain College.” A major advocate for Savviest, “CMC is doing work to provide these skills for what’s needed for people to have good, well-paying jobs, and to feel some sort of stability in this unstable world.” Additionally, Coventure, Carbondale’s business incubator, helped Carlson and Owen launch their tool with sound entrepreneurial guidance.

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As AI and other technology change the skills required for an employee to be successful, there’s a growing need for people to have access to tools like Savviest. “And there’s a lot of opportunity to do good in this space,” concluded Carlson.

Tags: #AI #artificial intelligence #ChatGPT #Jared Carlson
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