Writing an application with ChatGPT

Yes, it can be that easy today – a good prompt and skillfully fed with a CV and job advertisement ChatGPT writes pretty good-sounding cover letters. In recent months, the internet has been flooded with tips for cover letters using ChatGPT, and some career coaches are also advising applicants to rely on AI instead of their own writing talent. My perspective on the advantages and dangers of using ChatGPT for your own application.

I am fascinated by the possibilities that AI technologies offer us at an impressively rapid pace of development. But at the same time, I also see the risks as the downside of using AI and in this case for the application letter. Especially when, as in the application and recruiting process, the aim is for people to get to know people and find a good fit in the role of employer and job changer.

Or to put it another way: Anyone who lets ChatGPT write their application should not be upset that some matching algorithm automatically returns the rejection in the next second.

Your own clarity is the basis for strong applications

From my experience with around 2,000 job changers, it is less the stylishly designed CV and the pompously, seriously worded cover letter that lead to the new employment contract, but rather your own path based on self-reflection, conscious and consistent action and a good inner attitude.

Your own clarity about what is really important for the next step in your career and in a new job with an employer. Awareness of one’s own strengths and, from this, a good idea of ​​the ideal job playing field. Your own view of your existing professional experience and what makes this experiential knowledge valuable beyond industry and product knowledge as well as pure task and job descriptions.

If you don’t have this clarity, you can suck up the most beautiful resume templates from the Internet and fill them with generalities and also have ChatGPT formulate the appropriate cover letter for the target position – but all of this is for a targeted job search, the subsequent clarity in discussions with employers and also a conscious one No help deciding on the right next job.

Writing an application with ChatGPT: When self-reflection falls by the wayside

Even though many employers today do not include a cover letter as part of the application (which I consider to be a mistake in these cases ), I see every day in my work with applicants how important and valuable this process is for them, right through to the finished document . It is not the writing itself or the formulation of linguistically captivating sentences, but rather putting it on paper and saying for yourself what will be important in the future, what the specific ideas and expectations are of a new job and employer, the manager or a team.

If we get to the application documents in career coaching, then I could write the cover letter for many of my clients myself and completely for them. Because we worked together to develop a picture of the right target positions or employers and I got to know them intensively as people with their strengths and personalities. But I don’t do it. You have to create the first version of a CV and cover letter yourself – I then do the finishing touches. In my experience, self-reflection and the transfer of this knowledge into the application documents are the real key to success in the application process and the best protection against blind signing , signing an employment contract too quickly or without thinking.

“Hey, ChatGPT, write me a cover letter!” not only falls far short of all of this , but I also fear that our ability to self-reflect will continue to atrophy over time and at the latest over generations as we increasingly hand over self-responsibility to artificial intelligence becomes.

ChatGPT produces good superficial pablum

Back to the present. ChatGPT generates new things based on old things. Even if the deadline for the database gets closer and closer to today with each new ChatGPT version, there are still structures and snippets of content that the AI ​​combines quickly and cleverly to create something new.

The results are good, no question. But the cover letters from ChatGPT that applicants now bring to me for coaching are boring, superficial monotony compared to the texts that we develop together in the process. Well-written texts with a clear structure, but impersonal, formulaic and without added value beyond the CV. If you manage to feed ChatGPT with the job advertisement, you will also find the keywords from the requirements, including gibberish about the employer, in the cover letter. I understand every recruiter who decides to stop reading such cover letters.

ChatGPT as inspiration, people make the difference

I hope it’s clear by now that I’m not demonizing ChatGPT and its use for applications. However, I think it’s dangerous to give up on your own thinking – according to the motto “ChatGPT knows how to do it and can write better texts anyway.” … and … ” Everyone does it that way these days anyway” … and … “Cover letters are unimportant anyway, they won’t be read anymore . ” With these thoughts in mind, even the effort of feeding ChatGPT isn’t worth it.

From my experience, ChatGPT does a great job when it comes to structure and inspiration on a topic. I formulated various questions and provided more or less information and had very different cover letters generated. Trying this out and getting a feel for a suitable structure and good formulations can be particularly valuable for those people who have less talent for speaking and writing.

For me it is (currently still) the combination of technology and common sense that has the best effect, at least for something like a personal letter accompanying the CV, which is intended to make a reader curious about the person behind the application – and that’s all a cover letter is shows.

If you like, you can generate a good-sounding cover letter with ChatGPT and add personal details that make the difference and make a reader curious about the person. By the way, ChatGPT itself also shares this opinion 🙂

Application: Say what’s important instead of just a collection of empty phrases

I tried it out and fed ChatGPT a random job posting for the position of “Marketing Manager – Focus Leads” at HelloFresh. As a reader, I would have lost interest in the first version after the first sentence, because it began like this:

Dear Sir or Madam,
I read your advertisement for the position as Marketing Manager – Leads at HelloFresh with great interest.

More tired standard formulations and zero information content are not possible and it should be no secret today that such an introduction is a turn-off. So I gave ChatGPT a second chance and asked to write a new version with a more modern introduction:

Hello HelloFresh team,
“We at HelloFresh want to change the way people eat forever…” – this passionate introduction to your job advertisement grabbed me straight away!

That’s better – although of course it was invented by the AI ​​and this trail of slime is a bit too ingratiating for my taste. If I were the recruiter and found out every day that my company slogan was the reason for an application, I would quickly – very quickly – get very bored.

Thanks at this point, ChatGPT 🙂

Because in fact, this may be the honest truth and real motivation to change, which ChatGPT cannot know, but which makes an applicant really tangible:

Dear HelloFresh team,
after almost ten years as a marketing manager in the administration of the city of Cologne, I have become bored and not only long for more variety in my job, but also for a different industry with products that I am truly passionate about feel. Your job advertisement sounds like this and is therefore perfect.

My conclusion

ChatGPT is a powerful tool and I’m excited to see where AI technologies will take us in the future. The cover letters that ChatGPT generates sound good at first glance. If you want to pack the keywords from a job advertisement almost perfectly subliminally into an application letter, you can do this in a matter of seconds with ChatGPT. But this is not the cover letter approach I take and recommend to applicants. Because the added value for a reader who knows their own advertisement is zero and every cover letter with knowledge of the possibilities of ChatGPT is even more without knowledge.

For me it’s about more clarity beyond a CV and a look into the future. An AI cannot achieve this clarity as a result of self-reflection – if we do not first feed it with the results of our thinking. In addition, the process of developing your own application is extremely important, almost more valuable than the finished document. This is where I see the greatest danger in using ChatGPT. Self-responsibility, the ability to reflect and making conscious decisions as the boss of your own life will atrophy the more we delegate our thinking to an artificial intelligence.

ChatGPT can inspire and summarize, create structure and write error-free. But only we know ourselves as the people behind an application. With the real motivation to change, the expectations of a new job and employer as well as personal strengths and talents. That’s the core of a cover letter that’s still worth reading. Everything else is well-written monotony.

(Cover image: Generated by AI with Midjourney)

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