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Why It Can Be A Mistake To Use ChatGPT For Your Resume

Why It Can Be A Mistake To Use ChatGPT For Your Resume

Since launching to the public in November 2022, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has experienced explosive growth, effectively ushering in a new era of Artificial Intelligence. ChatGPT reached one million users within five days of release, making it the fastest-growing consumer internet app in history. Within one month of release that number had grown to 100 million active users, eclipsing growth records set by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Today ChatGPT has 180 million monthly active users and receives around 1.6 billion visits per month. Following a similar trajectory, government spending on AI is set to sharply increase, from $1.8 billion in 2023, to a proposed $3.1 billion in 2024.

We’re now starting to see AI incorporated into a broad range of consumer-facing tools, from post and search suggestions on LinkedIn, to enhanced functionality from Microsoft’sMSFT +0.3% Copilot. Inside enterprises adoption is moving at a much slower pace for two main reasons: the pace of development, and the procurement cycle. While there have been a number of solutions that have come to market in the past year, it is still a very new field. Furthermore, purchasing and implementation cycles can take anywhere from six to eighteen months, so it will likely be some time before we see large scale adoption of AI-enabled enterprise tools.

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Microsoft, which also owns LinkedIn, has made investments totaling $13 billion into OpenAI. While Microsoft doesn’t actually have an ownership stake in OpenAI, it provides access to their tools via its’ Azure services. This goes some way to explaining why Microsoft have been able to roll out AI enhancements to their own suite of products so quickly.

Isn’t The ATS Using Artificial Intelligence?
For all the reasons detailed above, the short answer is “not yet.” In addition to these logistical and practical hurdles there’s a further legislative barrier for the widespread use of AI in hiring decisions. As I’ve already written, I believe that Artificial Intelligence will transform hiring for the better, but we’re still some way off from that. What that means for you as a job seeker is that your resume continues to have two primary audiences: the recruiter, and the hiring manager.

It is therefore your goal is to craft a resume that accurately summarizes the bones of your career journey – what you did, where you did it, and for how long you did it. Your resume needs to be visually appealing to the human eye, and easily digestible by the human mind. Recruiters and hiring managers will be scanning through what you’ve written, looking for confirmation of whether you’ve done the things they need you to do in their open role.

ChatGPT (+ Claude, Gemini, Eliza and Perplexity) can do amazing things, but what none of these tools have yet mastered is sounding authentically human. Not only is it immediately obvious to the trained eye that a resume has been written with AI, but it actually makes it harder to figure out if someone has the skills needed for the job. Although the tools are getting better every day, they still have a tendency to generalize and produce “flowery” language that just doesn’t do you any favors. Furthermore, the tools don’t actually know what you did in your previous roles, so often obscure rather than illuminate what recruiters (and hiring managers) need to see.

Shouldn’t I Be Customizing My Resume For Every Role I Apply To?
A well-written resume should serve its purpose more than 95% of the time: only a small subset of job applicants have the sort of career journeys that would warrant different versions of their resumes. The rise of tools like ChatGPT has created a new mythology that is consistently reinforced on social media, despite being completely erroneous. The idea that you should ask ChatGPT to rewrite your resume based on the specific job description you are applying to is predicated on a fundamental misunderstanding of what a job description is.

In large enterprises job descriptions are typically owned and managed by the compensation team because they are closely tied to pay bands and leveling, and are at best updated annually, but typically even less frequently. Occasionally HR business partners take an ownership role, and depending on the guardrails inside the organization, recruiters and hiring managers may, or may not, be allowed to make minor changes to them.

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As a result there is usually quite a bit of difference between what a job description says, and what a hiring manager (and therefore the recruiter) is actually looking for. The “minimum criteria” on a job description is typically the only part that can be taken at face value, and you either meet those criteria or you don’t. No amount of resume re-writing can change the fundamental facts of your career journey. The huge asymmetries in the hiring process (you have no idea what the hiring manager is actually looking for and you cannot rely on a job description to tell you anything beyond the basic qualifications for the job) mean that any customization is usually wasted effort.

How Can I Use ChatGPT For My Resume?
ChatGPT is great at helping you find more precise language, and at maximizing real estate by making your sentences more succinct. Remember that a well-written resume devotes as much space to results as it does to responsibilities. ChatGPT can help you sense-check whether you’re striking the right balance.

As already noted, it’s a good idea to take what ChatGPT produces and use that as a jumping off point, ensuring that the final version is rephrased in your voice. In Europe resumes are called CV’s, an abbreviation for “curriculum vitae” which is Latin for “the course of one’s life”. At its core that’s what your resume should be – your version of your career journey to date. While ChatGPT can help you with that, the only person that can authentically bring that to life is you.




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