Using AI to Help Write Your Resume
You may be one of the estimated 100 million people relying on ChatGPT as your newest life hack. Ask the artificial intelligence tool how to make chocolate mousse, and you’ll receive a simple eight-step recipe with both U.S. and metric measurements. But have you thought about using AI to help write your resume or cover letter?
Whether you use ChatGPT or one of the many free and paid AI resume tools available, AI can help you write a solid first draft of your resume and other job applications materials—if you understand its limitations.
What is ChatGPT?
The free, publicly available AI tool ChatGPT was released by OpenAI in November 2022 and quickly took the world by storm, alarming writers everywhere. The tool is not without its limitations—notably, its knowledge base ends at September 2021, so don’t look to it for current events—but its results can be impressive. A pilot subscription model launched in February, offering users even faster chat results and priority access for $20 per month.
Immediately upon launch, job seekers began using ChatGPT to write resumes, and the initial results are promising. In February, the company ResumeBuilder.com released results from a poll of more than 1,000 job hunters who had used ChatGPT in their job search:
Overall, 88 percent said they were somewhat or highly likely to keep using ChatGPT because it saves time. It would seem AI is firmly entrenched in the hiring world.
What to consider before using AI to write your resume
Before you send off a ChatGPT-generated resume, it’s a good idea to have a solid grasp on the tool’s plusses and minuses. On the plus side, it’s always easier to revise a first draft than to stare at a blank sheet of paper. If you have serious writer’s block, typing “write an <insert position here> resume” into ChatGPT is an excellent first step. The results will give you a decent starting place, complete with some of the keywords your target company’s applicant tracking system (another form of AI!) will scan for.
But what you don’t want to do is submit a ChatGPT resume as is, simply filling in the blanks with specific company names. First of all, ChatGPT will return similar results for everyone who asks it for a specific type of resume. You want your resume to stand out from the crowd.
ChatGPT may also include outdated elements, such as a resume objective, in its results. That type of flowery language takes up space. The hiring manager knows you’re seeking increasing responsibility in a specific field. After all, that’s why you applied for the job.
One resume point ChatGPT gets right is the inclusion of specific data points to illustrate workplace accomplishments. Unfortunately, a high percentage of the stats returned in ChatGPT results are drawn out of thin air. Leaving them in would either be extremely careless or outright lying. What you want to do is look for real-life examples from your own professional experience to replace them with. The ChatGPT-generated “stats” can serve as inspiration.
One way to make ChatGPT useful in the process is to “reverse engineer” it. Instead of asking ChatGPT to write a resume, ask it to write a job description for a specific position. Then compare the ChatGPT results to the job posting. The keywords the two documents share are ones you’ll definitely want to include in your resume and/or cover letter.
Whether you decide to try ChatGPT or stick with the old-fashioned human touch, don’t forget the golden rule of resume writing: Have a friend, not a robot, proofread your work. Spell-check is a form of AI, and it still mixes up “from” and “form.”