ChatGPT is much in the news these days. Articles and news reports describing this chatbot’s effectiveness in writing or debugging computer programs, mimicking celebrity CEOs, writing business pitches and student essays, and answering test questions follow one another on almost a daily basis. So, can it help you write your resume?

Not really. While ChatGPT can provide some help, it’s not all you need. Let me show you why.

There are four distinct components to a good resume: a profile that presents your brand, job descriptions that describe your responsibilities in current and former positions, and accomplishment statements showing how effectively you carried those responsibilities out. The last component isn’t in your resume: it’s the job ad for the position you are applying for.

The first challenge involved job descriptions. While the chatbot can turn multi-page job descriptions into a professional-looking, bullet-pointed resume it is you, not ChatGPT, who must decide on which elements in job descriptions you must include and which you can safely leave out. Unfortunately, ChatGPT’s content selection has been repeatedly criticized as creating responses that are not fully responsive to selection criteria. On the other hand, a professional resume writer can effectively condense a multi-page job description into a three-or four-line job description that effectively emphasizes the responsibilities that your prospective hiring manager wants you to fill.

A second problem arises when considering how to identify your accomplishments. The best strategy is to look at each requirement of the target job description, then provide a story that shows your effectiveness in that area. Here,  since many of us find it difficult to remember most of our key accomplishments, ChatGPT is no substitute for your memory and judgment. Here too a competent resume writer can help by asking probing questions that help you remember big wins. For example, I once helped a client recall a major success in a business area she’d thought wasn’t relevant. But I suspected she might have a win in that area,  asked questions that uncovered it, recognized its relevance, and added it to her resume. She ended up getting five interviews in less than two weeks — for a job in which she had no formal experience

The third problem is that ChatGPT cannot help with presentation strategies. Study after study tells us that busy hiring managers spend between 6 and 20 seconds of reading time per resume. How will your resume get and keep their attention? Here too a wise resume writer will be able to help by deploying strategies in both cover letter and resume that will catch and hold your reader’s attention.

To sum up: ChatGPT may help you organize some of your data, but it will not help you with the critical resume challenges of compressing and focusing job descriptions, uncovering significant wins and presenting those wins in a way that captures hiring managers’ attention.

To your success!

Tim Cunningham
Principal Writer, Fast & Focused Resume Service