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The pitfalls of AI when looking for work

No matter how keen you are to find a new position, writing that all-important cover letter can be daunting.

As recruiters, we regularly hear from candidates who say it’s challenging to present their hard and soft skills in a noticeable cover letter, in a clear, concise, compelling way.

These candidates know their expertise and knowledge. They know their capabilities and what they can bring to the table. But for some, formulating it all in a highly noticeable cover letter is tough. Some candidates may even fear sounding arrogant or coming across as bragging.

Artificial intelligence content

What about using artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot such as ChatGPT to help? You might feel that using an AI cover-letter generator will be quicker, less frustrating and create an impressive end result. A growing number of platforms are on the market to help, as any quick online search reveals.

But are AI cover-letter generators all that they claim to be? Can they really help? Or can using them to create material for your job search do you more harm than good?

This expert article does not deny the power of AI technology. It explains that it’s far from perfect for cover letters. The article lists key pitfalls to using AI when searching for your dream job.

What are the key pitfalls?

  • An AI cover letter can only repeat what you’ve already said in your resume. A top-notch cover letter has a different purpose, however. It aims to expand upon the content of your resume, not just copy, paste and reiterate what’s already there. AI cover letters, in other words, can be highly repetitive.
  • Your cover letter should tell a story and that’s something only you can do. AI cannot round out and summarise your overall talent in a more narrative way. A computer cannot dive deep into your psyche. If you’re not careful, therefore, your cover letter may come across as impersonal and aloof.
  • Although it might be a pain, and take time, your cover letter should be tailored to each position you apply for. It should highlight how your combined hard and soft skills add value to an organisation and makes you the perfect person for the position. No matter how smart AI can be, it’s not that intuitive.
  • An AI-generated cover letter may not sound like you and that is what recruiters and employers are looking for in a cover letter. They want an idea of who you are and what you stand for. Can a computer really achieve this? We say no.
  • AI cover letter sites are marketing endeavours. They pitch the benefits they offer because they want you to use them. They’re therefore biased and certainly won’t explain why it’s not a good idea to use them.

Does this mean I can’t use AI at all for my cover letter?

If you decide to use AI to produce your cover letter, make sure you only do so for the initial draft.

Draw inspiration from how AI has presented material and what material it has presented. Then put in the effort to reshape your cover letter and make it your own. There’s nothing quite like that human touch and personality shining through.

Remember that you might need to edit the AI-generated draft multiple times to get the best final results.

If I do not use AI, should I just populate a cover-letter template?

Cover-letter templates hold some value for jobseekers. They can, for example, give you an idea of what to include in your letter and in what order.

They often explain what to include in a ‘pack-a-punch’ introductory paragraph. Then how to build content in the following body paragraphs. Then how to write a strong closing paragraph.

However, cover-letter templates can come across as formula-driven to many employers. This means – as with AI-generated cover letters – you need to invest in editing (at least a couple of rounds) to get a great product.

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