Navigating ChatGPT – my foray into AI-written resumes and cover letters

ChatGPT has been a common water cooler topic in the Career Centre office, so Damian decided to see if ChatGPT could write a resume and cover letter.



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Damian Lachacz (he/him) is a Career Peer Educator in his final year as an English and Film Studies double major. He emphasizes the importance of career resilience and taking required rest in his advising sessions. He spends his free time watching niche movies/TV, writing reviews on Letterboxd, folding origami, reading the grittiest mystery novels and crushing his foes at board games.

The swift advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have certainly caught the world’s attention in the way that tasks can be completed more efficiently. This was certainly the case when tech startup OpenAI released their AI chatbot ChatGPT for public testing in November 2022. OpenAI’s product lineup continues with GPT-4, their latest cutting-edge language software.

ChatGPT has been a common water cooler topic in the Career Centre office, and I was interested in taking part in further research on the chatbot. So I was tasked with seeing if ChatGPT could write a resume and cover letter to apply for my position as Career Peer Educator. Here is how the chatbot responded to my requests:

Testing whether ChatGPT can write resumes and cover letters


From this test, I was able to get a good idea of how the ChatGPT AI would approach this task. The items listed in both responses are what an employer would typically hope to see on these documents. However, it does not go further than that. In addition, the request to provide what type of job the user is applying for indicates notably that a degree of targeting will be performed. Targeting is a common but effective process used extensively in advising sessions for clients at the Career Centre.

After seeing the program’s response, I provided the information it asked for. Worried about the impending technological singularity, I stopped at providing any personal identifiers such as my full name, address and contact. The chatbot definitely produced a cover letter and resume, but it did not fully stick the landing. 

The chatbot’s writing noticeably lacks any unique personality. A resume and cover letter is an employer’s introduction to an applicant, and so they should give a good first impression. For any prospective employee whose position involves a significant amount of written communication, it would not be advisable to cut corners on an application by using AI to draft their documents. This is because application documents are a sample of their writing, and someone applying for communication-intensive roles would not want to give the wrong impression on their application. A user could simply prompt ChatGPT to generate a template for application documents that the student could fill out themselves so that their own voice comes across.

An AI chatbot cannot understand context or create details or specificity without being prompted and may not be completely factual. ChatGPT can only output responses based on what it already knows in its language model or what the user inputs. Beyond listing out their skills and attributes, a job applicant should include how those were attained with specific details from their past experiences. These limitations could be avoided by researching the job and organization, editing and proofreading your own writing, as well as meeting with a human career advisor. 

There could be ways to use ChatGPT alongside other programs, such as CoverQuick. It is up to the individual to determine whether or not that would be more worthwhile than starting from scratch with some ideas about content and formatting. In addition, it could certainly be useful for some students that struggle with writing, if English is not their first language or they are unfamiliar with formatting documents for job applications.

Specific use of ChatGPT in a professional setting is still an ethical grey area. In fact, Microsoft’s AI-enabled Bing search engine refused to write a cover letter due to its own ethical concerns. Nonetheless, the best practice would be for a user to disclose when AI has been used in their work.

Another important factor is that AI and chatbots are learning from any personal information we provide. It is dangerously unclear how much personal data is being collected and what they may intend to do with it. Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced with the privacy authorities of Alberta, British Columbia. and Quebec a joint investigation of OpenAI. European Union privacy regulators have also been investigating the company. Until there are further inquiries and regulations on ChatGPT and other large language models, it would not be recommended to disclose personal information to this technology.

Potential adjustments to the job market

As the use of AI becomes more prevalent, there could be potential changes to job applications and the way that employers use AI in a more aware and responsible way.

For job applications, employers may add AI detection programs alongside automated tracking systems (ATS). Additionally, this may speed up the phasing out of cover letters completely. As a result there would be more emphasis on job interviews, simulations, or other kinds of assessments to determine one’s competencies, soft skills and technical skills.

Some employers have been finding ways to use AI in a more aware and responsible way to aid in hiring. I attended a webinar by the US-based organization Modern Hire hosted by Eric Sydell and Matt Goff. They covered the emergence of responsible use of AI in detail and a return to quality of hire. This return is in response to the Great Resignation, which affected the US and other countries during the pandemic. Statistics have shown that the Great Resignation did not impact Canada to the same extent, as the job-switching rate remained below pre-pandemic levels. Modern Hire believes that as more companies shift away from the impact of the Great Resignation, they will move focus from quantity to quality of hires and ensure they remain in the organization longer. Modern Hire offers services to use AI in parsing interview responses and determining quality candidates. Similarly, Canadian-born is a renowned assessment program used to help make recruitment decisions for Canadian organizations.

If AI is here to stay, it must be used responsibly by job applicants, employees and employers alike. These are still uncharted technological waters that must be navigated carefully. An article found that ChatGPT wrote biased, sexist and racist performance reviews. While it may be easy enough to increase efficiency with these programs, the human element of work and ethical quandaries need to be considered.