Job searching is a tedious process, no matter where you are in your career. Whether you’re gearing up for your very first job or you’re a seasoned professional looking to make a change, there are certain parts of the job hunt that will always be critical. A resume is a crucial part of the process and that’s not likely to change any time soon. However - the way that those resumes get created is evolving. Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools can help you piece together the puzzle that is a great resume. Here’s how ChatGPT can make resume writing simpler and faster.
Understanding Resume Basics
To have success and fulfillment in your career, it’s important to obtain a job that aligns with your skills, qualifications, and desires. One way to make sure that happens is by being truthful in your resume and throughout the interview process. That’s not always easy, because a lot of the advice out there about resume creation is really outdated. Whether you write your resume yourself from scratch or lean on a tool like ChatGPT, you need to understand what should be included. What are hiring managers looking for on a resume? How can you stand out from other applicants? What kind of information is important, and what kind is irrelevant and just taking up space?
According to Zety.com, a resume building service, the key parts of a modern resume are:
- A header with contact information - If you hope for the hiring manager to contact you at all, then obviously the header is vital. At a bare minimum, include your name, contact phone number, and email. Some people include an address but really just your city is fine. If you’re applying for remote work or willing to move, you can even leave that part off.
- A “profile”: resume summary or objective - Though labeling this section as “objective” has somewhat gone out of style, it’s still an important section. Here is where you describe why you’re applying for the job in the first place. If you’re an experienced professional, then use this area to summarize your relevant career experience. If you’re just starting out, describe what you’re looking for in your ideal career. This should be a short blurb that includes any keywords you noticed in the job description.
- Professional experience - Here is where you’ll take a deep dive into your relevant work experience. Your goal is to show that you have the necessary know-how for the job. Avoid generic descriptors and focus on the job you’re applying to: what is actually relevant in your history? If you don’t really have any relevant experience, you can dive into things that underline your key skills, such as an internship or volunteer opportunities. Make sure to use strong, active words and avoid sounding passive. This is also the area to give concrete examples and quantify results when possible.
- Skills - What expertise is needed to do well in this role? Those traits are what you want to demonstrate here. Again, the key focus should be on relevance. It’s also a good idea to list both hard and soft skills, rather than only technical proficiencies.
- Education - In decades past, many people included this section first. However, now it really belongs at the bottom of your resume, since your job experience is likely more recent and more applicable. Include your degree, school name, and graduation date.
As you draft your resume, it’s important to think about what the people reviewing it will be considering. What is their process? What exactly are hiring managers looking for when they review your resume?
First of all, it’s crucial to understand that resumes are often skimmed rather than read in full. Hiring managers are busy and filling the role you’re applying to is just one thing they need to do in the day. They’re going to employ some shortcuts. They will take a quick pass through your resume with an eye on keywords (in fact, many use software programs designed to pick out keywords and discard resumes that are lacking). They want to see specific words and phrases that they included in the job description. Many times they jump to the experience or skills section of your resume and scan for particular terms like software skills, certifications, job titles, success metrics, etc.
The next thing they want to do is verify if you’re qualified for the job. If they find the relevant keywords, they will begin looking for proof that you have the necessary skills and experience. For some jobs, this will be a specific degree or certification. For others it might be numbers based. For example, for sales professionals hiring managers will look for instances of beating quotas. They will be looking for real company names to get a feel for where you have worked before, and they will make a mental note of whether or not they have heard of your past companies. Additionally, demonstrating career progression is valuable. Have you grown professionally throughout your career? Or does it seem you’ve stagnated? They want proof that you are a person who cares about advancing your skills and knowledge, and that can show up in the form of promotions, training, or other extra-curricular activities.
Finally, keep in mind that professionals reviewing your resume will be looking for exaggerations. You’d be surprised how many people over-embellish their skills and career accomplishments. Hiring managers will view your skills section and try to gauge whether it’s a true reflection of your abilities based on what they see throughout the rest of your resume.
Related Post: Things No One Tells You About Your First Office Job
What is ChatGPT?
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a field of computer science that focuses on creating machines designed to perform functions that would normally require human intelligence. Many experts have compared AI to electricity, with AI being “the new electricity” responsible for completely transforming a variety of industries. ChatGPT has been described as a “quantum change” from previous AI models. But what does that really mean?
The “GPT” in ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer. The platform is a chatbot, originally developed by OpenAI and launched in 2022. Quickly becoming a global phenomenon, ChatGPT is an AI language model that can process and respond to language in the same way that humans would. The tool interacts with its users as though they are participating in a conversation. Trained through model human conversations, it uses a huge database of written work from around the internet. At its core, you can think of ChatGPT as a sort of calculator for words, answering questions and responding to prompts with text.
Most people find that ChatGPT can produce impressive responses to a variety of instructions and inputs. That being said, it occasionally produces odd or incorrect information, or misinterprets a question. It’s important that users understand how the tool ultimately works, along with its limitations. Everyone should spend time experimenting and must figure out the ways that ChatGPT can be most useful to them.
The tool can be used for a variety of applications, and there are many ways that today’s professionals will find it impactful. For example, ChatGPT can facilitate communication and resolve challenges in a quicker fashion than ever before. Additionally, ChatGPT can help professionals to produce well-written work faster and more efficiently. It’s also great for brainstorming ideas and producing initial research. In the future, we predict that professionals who learn and leverage AI and ChatGPT will eventually replace those who don’t.
How Can ChatGPT Help With Resumes?
You may not want to have ChatGPT write your entire resume, but it can probably do more than you think. When creating your resume, try using ChatGPT to help you generate ideas and bullet points for your role, or to refine and optimize the current points that you feel are missing the mark. Beyond just bullet points, it can assist you in answering questions about putting together your resume using best practices. As mentioned, a compelling resume is really like a puzzle. You have all the necessary pieces, but ChatGPT can help you put them together.
As you plan to create your resume leveraging ChatGPT, you can follow these steps:
- Find a resume template. First, you need to choose a program for writing your resume. Are you using Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Canva? These programs will have a template available already. You can also just do a quick Google search and come up with lots of editable templates to choose from. Then you can input the template into your program of choice.
- Log into ChatGPT. Visit OpenAI’s ChatGPT home page. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one, and if you do go ahead and sign in. It’s free to sign up and the process is simple.
- Enter text. You can have ChatGPT generate your resume from scratch. You just need to ask! If you want it to work on certain parts of your resume like the professional summary or an individual bullet point, ask the program directly. For example, you could ask ChatGPT “Can you write a short, professional resume summary about a tech reporter role?” Within seconds you’ll get a response with written text. This is where a caveat comes in. Although ChatGPT is perfectly capable of coming up with content that is ready for a simple copy and paste, you need to tweak the text so that it's truly personalized to your real experiences and also doesn’t look like it was written by a robot. Remember, employers are looking for what makes you unique compared to everyone else out there. Without input from you, the chatbot will only have access to generic prompts about your roles. Take things a step further to customize your document.
- Optimize your own text. If you took a stab at populating your chosen template before logging into ChatGPT - or if you have a working version of your resume already - then ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for enhancing it. Simply copy and paste the text and then ask ChatGPT to improve it. For example, ask the chatbot something like the following: “Can you make this resume bullet better: I manage accounting for an online store.” Within moments, you will get a more elaborate bullet point that may have a more professional tone or make simple sentences more complex. From there, you can keep tweaking by asking ChatGPT to act on further prompts like “make it shorter” or “can you add [this detail]”.
Review Your Resume Like a Hiring Manager
Once you’ve taken those steps, you’ll have a resume draft at your fingertips. How well it’s suited to your needs will depend. It’s important to note that ChatGPT is reliant on a data set that ended in 2021, so information following that date won’t be included. Further, as we mentioned, it’s not always 100% accurate. It’s based on information gathered from around the web, which is normally placed there by humans who all make mistakes. There is a certain degree of inaccuracy that you need to watch for, but you’ll be surprised how accurate and helpful the information provided by ChatGPT can be.
That’s why reviewing your resume is an important step in the process. Here is how resume-reviewers suggest that you review your resume before hitting “send”.
- Scan for overall presentation. Your resume should appear clean and professional at first glance. Are your organizational skills highlighted? You should also look for an organized layout, adequate information, and plenty of crisp white space for good readability. Make sure that the overall first impression being given is one of professionalism and quality.
- Check for grammar and spelling errors. Your resume should flow naturally and make it easy to read without distraction. Read through your resume and look for common typos or grammatical errors. Remember that auto-correct won’t catch everything. Use spell check tools but also read through with a careful eye. A resume that has errors immediately gives the impression that you’re not detail-oriented (which will not impress anyone).
- Look for relevant qualifications. Above all, the resume reviewer will look for candidates who can meet the job’s expectations. They want to see that you have the skills needed to perform the job well, and they won’t be right back in this spot hiring someone else in 6 months. For example, if the job requires a college degree, they’re likely to quickly glance at the education section to ensure you’ve met that particular qualification. When you read through the job description, pick out the top 3 or 4 basic requirements and make sure they’re captured in a noticeable way on your resume.
- Look for your career goals in the resume. Hiring managers want to know that you’re truly interested in the role and company, and why. This makes it easier for them to find dedicated employees who are more likely to do well and stay with the company. Review what you wrote for your specific career goals and what you’re looking for in your next position. For example, you might mention that you want a challenging position that can advance your skills. How does that relate to the role you’re applying to? It might mean including skills and software that you believe will be useful in the role. You could also mention how the company’s mission aligns with your own personal values.
- Review your experience. If there’s one thing that needs to come across in your resume, it’s your relevant experience. How is your prior experience applicable to the job you’re applying to? To ensure your qualifications match, do a review of your experience section and in particular the most recent employers. Hiring managers will do this to find specific characteristics and keywords useful to the role you’re applying to. The skills you’ve used most recently should be top of mind when people read your resume. Additionally, look for specific accomplishments or contributions in your previous roles. Hiring managers want to get an idea of what you can bring to the table, and you need to make sure that these areas jump out to a potential employer.
- Look for red flags. Your resume needs to accurately portray your skills and work history. Look for any red flags like unexplained work gaps or a lack of career progression. This is particularly important when you use ChatGPT because they won’t have the human context necessary to explain such blips. Spend some extra time looking for areas that you could potentially be asked about, and then add more detail if necessary.
- Do a final revision the next day. It can be difficult to give your resume an objective review after you’ve worked so hard on it. We suggest that once you’ve wrapped up and finished the preceding steps, you simply set it aside and don’t think about it for a night (unless, of course, there is a sense of urgency in the application process). Pick it back up the next day and review again with fresh eyes. Chances are you’ll find more wording choices you’d like to change, or a detail you’d like to add.
Related Article: Why Being A Good Multitasker Shouldn't be on Your Resume
Other Ways to Use ChatGPT in Job Searches
From what we’ve described so far, you might think ChatGPT is a writing tool. The truth is, it's so much more than that! You can use the platform for many aspects of your entire job search. Today’s job hunters can save valuable time and energy by leveraging ChatGPT for the following:
- Creating a LinkedIn summary - If you’re planning to change jobs or enter the workforce soon, having a LinkedIn profile is a must. One study found that 77% of job recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. If you aren’t sure what to write, give ChatGPT a try and see what the tool comes up with. To do so, copy and paste your resume into ChatGPT and then say “Write a LinkedIn profile summary using my resume." If you want, you can click “Try again” to get two more revisions, and then choose the one you like best to polish and publish.
- Writing a cover letter - Cover letters are a controversial topic, with many recruiters saying they hardly read them and some saying they are an important introduction. If you do want to create one but are nervous about your writing capabilities, give ChatGPT the reins. Find the job description and copy and paste the requirements and responsibilities into ChatGPT alongside your resume. Then input the following prompt: "Write a cover letter using my resume and a job description." Make sure to edit the document before sending it on.
- Following up with hiring managers - In a saturated market, your follow up makes a big difference. It’s a good idea to send an email about a week after your initial application - and don’t be afraid to send another after two or three weeks. Try a prompt like this: “Write a conversational 50-word follow-up email for an application for the [the job title you applied for] at [name of company where you applied] to [hiring manager name].” Copy into a document you can edit directly and then send from your email.
- Preparing for an interview - Many people dislike the interview process. Spending a lot of time preparing can help with this feeling. Create a list of the top questions you’re likely to be asked. There will be some generic and personal ones (like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”) but there could also be some that are specific to the role or the industry. Spend time asking these questions on ChatGPT and seeing what answers you get. If you want to, you can even copy and paste the answers into a document that you can edit, and then use that to practice. Or, if you’re convinced you’ll get some questions you simply don’t know the answer to, consider those beforehand and prompt ChatGPT for the answer. Even if you don’t memorize it, you’ll be able to summarize the material and feel more confident for your interview.
Above all, remember that technology was created to support your work - it’s not a replacement for doing the work. Only you know your specific work history and details. For example, which metrics matter to your organization and how you stacked up, or what it means to win a particular award within your company. ChatGPT can lend some valuable insight to various parts of the process, but it’s not a replacement for resume writing altogether. Machine learning is impressive in so many ways, but is bound to be less than 100% accurate. These programs do the best jobs they can with the information they’re given - which is sometimes not the full picture. By all means use ChatGPT to create your next resume - but put in the extra time to make it great. Your personal touch is what will make it stand out from the crowd, and position you for your dream role.