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We’ve been wondering what the social norms are around proofreading job applications. (Specifically in EA, if that makes a difference.)

Most EA orgs have Google Forms where you tell them all sorts of things about yourself, your experience, and your knowledge of their field. They don’t explicitly say things like, “Feel free to do online research to answer these questions but please don’t ask third parties” or “Feel free to google the answers but do not ask humans or even GPT-4 for help.”

So is it okay to ask friends to proofread such answers? Is there maybe a graduation where proofreading spelling and grammar is fine but not proofreading content? Thank you!




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Proofreading a job application seems completely fine and socially normal to me, including for content. The thing that crosses a line, by my lights, is having someone (or GPT-4) write it for you.

As a counter-opinion to the above, I would be fine with the use of GPT-4, or even paying a writer. The goal of most initial applications is to asses some of the skills and experience of the individual. As long as that information is accurate, then any system that turns that into a readable application (human or AI) seems fine, and more efficient seems better. 

The information this looses, is the way someone would communicate their skills and experience unassisted, but I'm skeptical that this is valuable in most jobs (and suspect it's better to test for... (read more)

Dawn Drescher
Thanks! Some of these as questions such as, “According to the article in the description, we can distinguish between natural, incidental, and agential s-risks. Which type should be the priority of the Center on Long-Term Risk? Why?” Different norms might apply to such questions as opposed to, “Why do you want to work for us?” or “What is your experience in the capybara space?”
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