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ChatGPT: What to know about AI cover letters

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In today’s competitive job market, candidates need to make a good first impression to stand out. And for a growing number of jobseekers, that means using an artificially intelligent chatbot to write and edit their job applications.

ChatGPT, which was made freely and publicly available by the OpenAI artificial intelligence lab in November, is a chatbot powered by machine learning. People can ask questions, and it provides a quick answer based on “a huge human-generated text dataset,” as ChatGPT will tell you.

ChatGPT features are remarkable and are already transforming how students write essays and how teachers assess and plan lessons. He can write surprising raps, mystery poems and detailed cover letters based on the information you provide. It gives people answers that are not only grammatically correct, but with an understanding of how hiring managers want to read it.

As an example, I asked ChatGPT to write a cover letter for a barista role that highlighted their passion for coffee and their customer service experience. In less than a minute, I received a detailed reply:

For job hunting, you can also tailor ChatGPT responses to your unique needs by copying and pasting your resume into the chat feature and asking them to create cover letters based on that resume and the role you want.

“The more specific you are for ChatGPT, the better your results will be,” said Gabrielle Woody, college recruiter at financial software company Intuit. “When I type ‘I’m a job seeker looking for a software engineer role at a startup. How Can I Feature My App’ on ChatGPT, it comes with recommendations on how to highlight skills, technologies, and industries someone has worked in.”

Ashley Pancoast, a Wilmington, North Carolina-based data analyst who is currently looking for a job, asked ChatGPT questions such as, “How can the resume be improved to match the job description?” to help tailor your cover letter and resume. Pancoast said the number of interview returns they’ve gotten has increased by using ChatGPT for help. They see ChatGPT as “if it was a professional I was consulting to give me feedback”.

“I mostly ask for the key skills that are listed in the job description and then to summarize things easily for me,” Pancoast said. “Since job searching takes a long time, it just makes things go faster.”

For Pancoast, ChatGPT is useful for generating potential job interview questions they haven’t thought of either. “If I have questions, I can ask, ‘Can you explain this key competency further? How would it be at work? I also asked, ‘What interview questions might they ask me for this job description and I might think ‘OK, where does my experience line up with this?’”

Recruiters think it can be a good starting point. But they caution against using it without edits.

The results of job applications written by ChatGPT are strange and may mislead humans. There have been cases where companies have recommended people using ChatGPT-generated job applications for a job interview.

“I suspect a lot more candidates are using it, and I honestly couldn’t tell who is and who isn’t right now –– I think that’s part of the power of using a tool like this that will create responses around your specific examples,” said Bonnie dilber, recruitment manager at application automation company Zapier.

Jerry Lee, COO of a job search coaching company, claimed on TikTok that he received seven callbacks in two days after using ChatGPT to write applications for 190 jobs.

Some job seekers see ChatGPT as a way to level the playing field in a job search process that can feel largely out of a candidate’s control. As one comment on Lee’s TikTok puts it: “They use automation, so do we.”

Recruiters said they are fine with job seekers using ChatGPT to automate parts of an application as long as they add their own voice.

“A lot of recruiting uses standard templates and automated responses, schedulers, etc.,” Dilber said. “I love any tool that helps a job seeker take the same approach to their search. But just as a great recruiter starts with models and then adjusts for the role and the individual candidate, a great job seeker must do the same.”

Tejal Wagadia, a recruiter at a large tech company, said ChatGPT cover letters can be a good place to start. But at the end of the day, it’s a computer program that can’t do more than repeat what you say on a resume. And one of the biggest mistakes you can make in a cover letter, experts say, is being generic and boring, as if you’ve just copied and pasted a template.

Wagadia said that when he tried to put specific resume and cover letter templates to adapt the ChatGPT response, he still created a generic cover letter that would not be useful for a recruiter to evaluate a candidate.

“The letter of introduction he gave me was full of profanity,” Wagadia said. “It’s saying words like ‘dedicated’, ‘highly efficient’, ‘productive’, ‘detail-oriented’ – things we think of as non-quantifiable words that don’t really add anything to your resume.”

As such, Wagadia said that the fact that ChatGPT can do a good job of writing subjective cover letters demonstrates the limit of using them to evaluate candidates. She personally feels that a portfolio of one’s work can give recruiters a better look at a candidate’s writing style.

In addition to the use of subjective words, a disadvantage of ChatGPT is that it cannot verify itself. As ChatGPT explains to users: “TThe system may occasionally generate incorrect or misleading information and produce offensive or biased content. It is not intended to give advice.” But their answers may surprise you, just as they surprised me.

When I asked ChatGPT to write me a poem about how job seekers are using ChatGPT for their cover letters, he immediately replied, in part:

“It is a tool worth trying,

To make your words fly high,

No more writer’s block, no more sighing,

Your letters will be sharp, like a spy.

But don’t forget to give your touch,

Make it personal, that’s the key,

Don’t let the machine do too much.”

Whether you’re an AI-powered chatbot or a job seeker, these are good words of moderation to live by when looking for a job. At best, the AI ​​tool can refine your answers and provide inspiration for writing. But ChatGPT still cannot fully replace your own voice. This might help you get a callback, but you’ll have to do the job interviews.

Learn from Pancoast, who asked ChatGPT to point out strengths in their job application responses and note which qualifications Pancoast may not have mentioned. Pancoast said he appreciates the stimulating conversations that ChatGPT provides, but is also aware of limitations in his responses.

“He doesn’t know me,” Pancoast said. “It has my resume, it has my cover letter, it doesn’t have all my life experience, but then again, it just gives you things to think about.”