Main image of article Should You Use A.I. for Your Resumes and Cover Letters?

Sooner or later, every job seeker will face the question: Will you use artificial intelligence (A.I.) tools such as ChatGPT to write your cover letter, resume, and other application materials?

According to one survey from earlier this year, 46 percent of job seekers are already using ChatGPT to generate a resume or cover letter. What’s more, 70 percent of those using A.I. claimed they received a higher response rate from employers. “ChatGPT could become a proficiency and skill set that a candidate emphasizes on their resume, no different than Excel, PowerPoint and Photoshop,” Andrew Higashi, CEO and co-founder of ChangeEngine, told SHRM in late February.

But many recruiters and hiring managers aren’t sold on A.I. in the same way. Talent-management company iCMS recently issued a Class of 2023 report in which 40 percent of HR professionals said candidates using ChatGPT or other tools was a “definite deal breaker” in terms of hiring. However, that’s unlikely to stop candidates from relying on generative A.I.: “Almost half (47 percent) of college seniors are interested in using ChatGPT or other AI bots to write their resumes or cover letters, and 25 percent of Gen Z already use an AI bot to help write their resumes or cover letters,” added the press release that iCMS issued along with the report.

If you’re a job candidate debating whether to use automated tools on your resume and/or cover letter, keep this in mind: hiring managers and recruiters never want a boilerplate document. They want to read a resume and cover letter tailored to the job at hand, emphasizing how your skills and experience will make you a particularly valuable asset.

To that end, if you’re relying on ChatGPT or another tool, it’s vital to make a “human pass” on your resume and cover letter after the generative A.I. spits out some text. You’ll have to do this anyway, as A.I. remains relatively nascent and tends to make mistakes; but after you read it for spelling and grammatical errors, give it a second scan and note what the algorithm chose to highlight in terms of your background and qualifications. Did its choices align with the actual job? If not, you’ll need to do some additional editing.

For example, if you’re applying for an iOS developer job at a company that primarily builds mobile apps for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), you may want to make sure that A.I.-generated cover letter mentions your previous experience with SMBs, and that your resume lists all your iOS-related skills and experience first. A.I. can’t differentiate what’s truly important to a specific position; that’s your job (so to speak).

Although A.I. tools have a lot of hype at the moment, they’re a very long way from being able to do everything for us. Think of them as a useful tool, no different than spellcheck or Excel formulas—you still need to do a lot of the work yourself.