How to Use ChatGPT to Write Your Cover Letter

Alli Tunell

ChatGPT and AI are taking the internet by storm! 

At this point, you’ve probably heard of it, are a little unsure of it, and you can’t quite pin down how you’ll be able to use it to your advantage in your job search. 

Well, we’d love to help! In this article, we’ll explain one of the most helpful ways to use ChatGPT in your job search – writing your cover letter. Below, we’ll discuss ChatGPT, how to use it in your job search, and what prompts you should use to get the best results. We’ll even showcase examples of the best cover letters we asked ChatGPT to create.

Now let’s dive in and learn how to write the perfect cover letter with the help of ChatGPT in a matter of minutes. 

What is ChatGPT? 

ChatGPT is a remarkable new AI-powered chatbot created by the team at OpenAI Labs . Short for Chat-based Generative Pre-trained Transformer, ChatGPT uses advanced natural language processing (NLP,) to quickly and accurately generate human-like conversation in any given context.  

All you have to do is feed it relevant prompts like “write my cover letter using my resume below as a reference,” and it will create a beautifully crafted and relevant draft just for you.

How can I use artificial intelligence in my job search?

There are a ton of ways you can use ChatGPT in your job search. You can use ChatGPT to optimize your LinkedIn profile , write your resume achievements, craft a letter of interest and follow-up emails to hiring managers, and so much more. 

The fantastic part about ChatGPT is that it allows you to automate the cumbersome aspects of your job search, which gives you more time to be strategic about your application process. With the help of AI, you can craft personalized resumes and cover letters for every job you apply for.

Additionally, Teal recently launched an integration with ChatGPT inside our resume builder that will allow all members to generate professional summaries, write resume achievements, and craft compelling cover letters in seconds.

Not only will these assets be created quickly and easily with the help of AI, but they’ll also be crafted using your previous work experience and the job description you’re applying for. Doing so will allow you to complete a high-quality, tailored resume and cover letter that you can feel confident submitting. Sign up for a free Teal account today to start enhancing your resume and cover letter with the help of AI!

Things to consider when using ChatGPT in my job search

When using ChatGPT during your job search, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks. 

ChatGPT is still a VERY new technology that is consistently besting tested and reiterated. Currently, the platform is told to decline inappropriate requests but claims on its site that it may still sometimes produce harmful instructions or biased content. 

Also, it may accidentally generate incorrect information and needs to gain more knowledge of the world and events after 2021. When using ChatGPT, we suggest that you proceed with caution and, to be extra careful, assess the company's privacy policy to ensure you feel OK with how they use personal data.

Lastly, it is still vital to have real conversations with recruiters to stand out as a qualified candidate - in this case, ChatGPT cannot replace an actual conversation. Use your own writing for one on one contact as much as possible.

How to use ChatGPT to write your cover letter 

To get started, simply visit and sign up for a free account. All you need is an email address, Google account, or Microsoft account - it's easy and doesn't take more than a few minutes. Best of all, both the website and app are free to use. 

Due to the popularity of ChatGPT, there may be some traffic delays when signing up – if that happens, just wait a few minutes before trying again, and you'll be good to go!

Once you’ve logged in, follow the steps below to create an AI-powered cover letter.

The video below showcases the steps for using Teal's AI functionality to create your personalized cover letter. Sign up for a free Teal account today to create custom job search assets made with your resume and saved jobs in mind.

The best ChatGPT prompts to use for cover letters

The best way to see beneficial results from artificial intelligence is by putting in the actual legwork. You cannot expect AI to do everything for you at the click of a button. ChatGPT only works well with help and strategic direction from an actual person. 

That’s why thoughtful prompts are SO necessary. The input you give ChatGPT influences the quality of output you receive. The more detailed suggestions you provide, the more likely it will be able to customize the outcome for you. 

Below are four ChatGPT prompts that we love. We suggest personalizing these to your experience, the companies you’re applying with, and the job positions that you’re applying for. 

In each of these prompts, the creator is expected to provide context like a job description and their resume achievements or a professional summary to see the best possible outcome. You'll see above that we also directed ChatGPT to write a cover letter with 150 words or less. We noticed that most of the cover letters it created were a bit verbose, so we suggest using that word count limit for each out.

Below, you'll see an example of a cover letter that ChatGPT created for us on the spot using one of the prompts above!

Other ways to automate your job search

The job search is changing for the better with the help of artificial intelligence. Now, job seekers can finally have the advantage of creating customized cover letters for every single job they apply to. 

And that's not all, with Teal’s AI integration, Teal members can generate professional summaries, write resume achievements, and craft compelling cover letters in seconds.

And with all the cover letters and applications you’ll need to keep track of, it’ll become even more important for job seekers to organize their search. Fortunately, Teal offers a free Job Tracker and Resume Builder to help you automate and optimize your job search!

With all these tools at your whim, you can quickly sort and manage your job search and optimize and enhance your resume based on the roles you apply for. Sign up for Teal for free today to make your job search even faster, and far more strategic.

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Here’s how to get an AI to write a cover letter for every position you apply to

Chatgpt writes a dang good cover letter., what is chatgpt.

ChatGPT is Open A.I.’s newest venture into A.I. product offerings. You might’ve heard of Open A.I. last year when they really started off the boom of Text-To-Image A.I. models with DALL·E 2 .

ChatGPT is a conversational approach to the search engine, and it's proving a big hit. ChatGPT gained 1 million users in its first week and has caused Google, the search engine monolith, to consider implementing a more conversational approach to its search engine .

How can I use ChatGPT when applying for jobs?

Simply give ChatGPT a job posting description and ask it to write you a cover letter and resume. Within seconds you’ll get a resume and cover letter tailored just for that specific posting. This allows you to apply to jobs at the level of efficiency you need while still maintaining a level of customization for each posting. I and a lot of my other friends had to apply to about 100 jobs to get our internships, so efficiency is necessary when it comes to applying to jobs these days.

*A quick disclaimer: I do not condone using ChatGPT in your job application. I have never used ChatGPT in a job application and I probably never will. It is unknown how companies view the use of these technologies in your application (although it is easy to assume companies view it negatively) and I would never want to risk getting my application thrown out over it. It still is a valuable exercise and I’ll mention why at the end.

How to use ChatGPT to write a resume and cover letter

Let's go through an example. I will be using a UX posting as my audience is design centered but this can apply to any industry.

I found this random UX job posting on LinkedIn. (If the job posting is down when you are reading this I’ve posted a copy on google docs here ) I’ll copy and paste it into ChatGPT and ask for ChatGPT to write me a resume and cover letter.

Here is the cover letter Chat GPT wrote:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am excited to apply for the UX Designer role at Aha! As a self-motivated and detail-oriented professional with at least three years of experience in user experience at a high-growth SaaS company, I am confident in my ability to contribute to the Aha! UX team in designing a lovable customer experience.

I am particularly drawn to Aha! as a company because of its focus on delivering optimal usability and customer satisfaction, as well as its recognition as one of the best fully remote companies to work for. I am also excited by the opportunity to work with a team that has a deep understanding of customer needs and wants, empathizes with the customer perspective, and is dedicated to delivering delightful product experiences through the user interface, layout, visual design, copy, and interactions.

In my previous roles, I have consistently demonstrated a track record of major accomplishments and have a “get it done” attitude. I have experience collaborating with product management and engineering teams, crossing back and forth between UX and visual design, and delivering superb work that ships quickly. I also have experience in maintaining consistent visual standards and updating living style guides, as well as conducting user research and testing to inform design decisions.

I am excited about the opportunity to work with the Aha! team and help product teams at the largest companies in the world build lovable products. I would love the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications and enthusiasm for this role. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or to schedule an interview.

Thank you for considering my application.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Here is the resume ChatGPT made:

You can also view it in Google Docs .

What’s the point if I shouldn’t use it?

It’s simple, ChatGPT effectively pulled out some of the most important aspects of the job posting and really understand the intent of the posting. It crafted a cover letter and resume that expertly highlighted the company culture described in the posting.

In short, ChatGPT can help you break out of your cover letter template and highlight what from the posting is important to address yourself.

Let’s analyze the cover letter and resume to see what ChatGPT took away from the job posting.

Cover Letter Analysis

ChatGPT shows that demonstrating an understanding of a company’s work culture and showcasing that you are a good fit for it can make an impactful, effective cover letter - A lesson that we can take and apply ourselves next time we write our own cover letter.

Resume Analysis

ChatGPT shows that looking through the job posting and highlighting where your past experience overlaps with what the job posting is can help you present yourself as the perfect fit for the job.

Yes, we probably already understood that utilizing the job description to craft tailored applications for each job you apply to would be a good thing.

But many times, understanding that concept doesn’t mean you’ll execute it well. ChatGPT can help get your gears turning when it comes to sending in the perfect application. Try it out, see what you think, and let me know your thoughts.

ChatGPT’s negative implications for the hiring industry

It's not all sunshine and flowers when it comes to ChatGPT. This new technology is going to exacerbate some issues when it comes to hiring in the ATS-scanning era.

As jobs get easier to apply to, it can become too overwhelming for hiring channels to look through every application. We already see it when companies use automated ATS processes to sort through their applications. You can be rejected before a human even views your application.

What happens now? If everyone can apply to jobs with tailored resumes in seconds, how can applications be fairly processed? The workload could potentially get too costly for companies to hire through job boards. Will it drive hiring to focus more on referrals? How would that impact the accessibility of obtaining jobs for those who are not well-connected or breaking into a new industry?

Perhaps these pressures will eventually force a new process for hiring. Perhaps resumes and cover letters will become a thing of the past. What do you think will happen? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in learning more about A.I. technologies, Design, or career discussions please consider following me.

I always love to hear what others think in the comments; I like how some of y’all really challenge my thoughts. But before you do, please note that I do make some of my statements *slightly* more inflammatory to drive engagement and thought.

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We Asked ChatGPT to Write Resumes and Cover Letters. Here’s What It Got Right (and Wrong)

Rachel Pelta

ChatGPT for resumes and cover letters

Forage puts students first. Our blog articles are written independently by our editorial team. They have not been paid for or sponsored by our partners. See our full  editorial guidelines .

By now, you’ve probably heard about ChatGPT and the wild conversations and impressive output it’s producing. While, for some, it’s a fun diversion in the middle of an otherwise dull day, others are using ChatGPT in their job search — especially to write their cover letters and resumes . 

ChatGPT’s results are compelling. A recruiter put ChatGPT-generated documents to the test and found that the documents landed interviews. And one survey found that out of 1,000 job seekers, 46% say they are using ChatGPT to write their cover letters and resumes. Of those, 78% say they got an interview and 59% claim they were hired. In addition, nearly 70% of job seekers report a higher response rate from companies when they use ChatGPT to help them apply. On the downside, though, 11% report being denied a job offer when the company found out they used the chatbot.

So, should you use ChatGPT to write your resumes and cover letters? As our tests show, the documents ChatGPT produces are well-written but they may not be enough to help you land a job interview. However, ChatGPT can be a useful tool to help you outline and draft your cover letters and resumes.

>>MORE: Should You Use ChatGPT for Interview Advice?

What Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is poised to be a massive step forward in artificial intelligence (AI).

It uses natural language processing , making it easier to ask questions and receive relatively life-like responses. For example, you can ask ChatGPT, “Why do you think the sky is blue?” and it will attempt to reasonably answer your question as a friend might. This is different from other chatbots or search engines, where you might have to phrase the question “just so” to get an answer.

What’s more, you can ask ChatGPT to redo and potentially improve the answer by asking it to “try again” using the same inputs.

Our ChatGPT Experiment: Resumes and Cover Letters

We wondered if ChatGPT could be leveraged to save time during a job search. What would it produce if we asked it to write a few resumes and cover letters for us?

Chat GPT Resume Examples

We started with some resumes.

The deckhand on a pirate ship:

A ChatGPT generated resume for a deck hand on a pirate ship

An entry-level software programmer:

The resume ChatGPT created for an entry-level software programmer candidate

Entry-level financial analyst:

The resume ChatGPT created for an entry-level financial analyst

What’s interesting about these AI-generated resumes is that they are relatively unique to the prompt. For example, only one entry-level resume includes a GPA .

>>MORE: How to Write a Resume

However, these resumes also include things that are no longer necessary . They have a street address, and the lead deckhand resume includes a references section.

Chat GPT Cover Letter Examples

We gave ChatGPT multiple cover letter prompts to test its abilities. These are some of the best examples:

An entry-level investment banking job:

A picture of the cover letter ChatGPT wrote for an entry-level investment banker job

An accounting internship:

The cover letter ChatGPT generated for an accounting internship

When you have no work experience: 

A ChatGPT generated cover letter for when someone has no work experience

Lead deckhand on a pirate ship:

Cover letter for lead deck hand on a pirate ship written by ChatGPT

It’s fair to say that these are well-written cover letters. They follow general cover letter conventions, are polite, and explain why the writer is applying to the role. It also mentions a few skills that might be necessary for success in the role, despite us not mentioning any skills as part of the prompt.

What ChatGPT Got Wrong

While the resumes and cover letters ChatGPT generated aren’t half bad, they are exactly the kind of resumes and cover letters you would not want to submit as your application.

Let’s look at the lead deckhand cover letter, specifically the two middle paragraphs.

The second paragraph talks about the writer’s “several years of experience including time spent as a deckhand in leadership roles.” The third paragraph also mentions, “I have demonstrated strong leadership skills.”

While the writer should mention their leadership skills, especially because moving to lead deckhand is probably a step up the career ladder, there is no mention of how the writer used their leadership skills.

It’s the same on the pirate deckhand’s resume. It lists specific skills, like sword fighting, raiding, and treasure hunting, but nowhere does it say how the deckhand used those skills or why it matters to the captain or the rest of the crew.

This is precisely what recruiters say job seekers should avoid. “ChatGPT can give you a great foundation, but you do need to provide it with guidance, and plan on taking it from 80% to 100% yourself,” says Bonnie Dilber, recruiting manager at Zapier. “For example, when I initially asked ChatGPT to write resume bullet points, it did not include any metrics.”

Saying you possess leadership skills is fine, but unless you explain how you used them, the phrase is meaningless. You have to include an example of your leadership skills as a quantifiable result that made a positive impact on the team.

“Job seekers should use ChatGPT as a starting point to break the whitespace of a blank page and not as a way to create a finished resume,” advises Miles Jennings, founder of “For example, if you’re trying to be a graphic designer, ask it to write an amazing resume for an early career graphic designer. But then you take it from there. Put the output in a Google doc and edit it as much as possible.”

Dilber notes that after ChatGPT gave her the initial resume bullet points, she asked it to “rewrite these bullet points with examples of results and metrics,” and got a better response. But she also cautions that even with a “better response” you should take the time to review and rewrite ChatGPT’s output.

“You’ll always want to edit for accuracy to make sure you aren’t misrepresenting your work and to make sure it sounds like you. As an applicant, you want to stand out from the crowd. A lot of people are using ChatGPT so if you simply submit what it creates, it’s likely your resume and cover letter will be the same as everyone else.”

For example, in the second paragraph of the deckhand cover letter, you could say:

I have several years of experience working on ships, including time spent as a deckhand and in leadership roles. For example, I was once asked to lead a raid on a village that was rumored to have an extensive gold reserve. I selected a team of eight deckhands, created the raiding plan, and successfully led my crew in under the cover of darkness. Not only were none of my crewmates killed, captured, or seriously injured, we also recovered nearly 10,000 gold pieces.

The rewrite is a clear and compelling example of how you use your leadership skills and, more importantly, what the positive impact was for the entire crew.

>>MORE: How to Use the STAR Method for Interview Questions

What ChatGPT Got Really Wrong

Of course, part of the problem with the deckhand cover letter prompt is that it wasn’t specific. We simply asked it to write a cover letter. That’s a pretty generic ask, which is probably why we got a generic response.

For the next test, we asked ChatGPT to write a cover letter for a job opening at Forage and included some text from the posting that describes some of the experience our team is looking for. Here’s the prompt:

A picture of the prompt we used to create a cover letter for a Forage Business Development Representative job opening

And here’s what ChatGPT generated:

The cover letter ChatGPT generated for a business development position at Forage

Once again, the cover letter is decent. However, it parroted back what we pasted in the input section without any explanation or context.

For example, the second paragraph talks about the writer’s ability to conduct pre-call planning (a keyword from the job description). While ChatGPT attempts to explain why pre-call planning is important, the explanation isn’t specific. It won’t help this job applicant stand out from the others because it doesn’t include any particulars about how this writer conducts pre-call planning.

It’s a similar problem with the third and fourth paragraphs. The cover letter mentions specific skills from the posting but doesn’t explain how the writer uses them or include an example of when they used their skills to “grow my sales pipeline.”

>>MORE: Resume Keywords: What They Are and How to Use Them

The fifth paragraph also parrots keywords to the point it’s practically plagiarizing the job posting: “I have a consistent track record of achieving measurable inside sales goals in a sales environment where accurate entry and management of lead data in a CRM system is required.” Worse, the cover letter includes no examples of the measurable inside sales goals the writer achieved.

And this is exactly why job seekers should consider the first output from ChatGPT a very rough draft. “Remember that ChatGPT was designed around conversations and chat,” notes Jennings. “Be sure to continually edit its output. Experiment until you are satisfied with the results, but never rely on its initial output.”

And this advice is critical. It appears that ChatGPT was making things up to fill in gaps from the broad prompts we provided. The cover letter for the accounting internship says that the job seeker is proficient in QuickBooks, even though we did not include that information in the prompt. It’s possible that because the prompt was vague, ChatGPT pulled that information in as an example of what to include in your cover letter, but again, it’s something to be aware of.

Your edits should also ensure that ChatGPT is consistent. It does not appear to self-edit what it produces. For example, under the Awards section of the software engineer’s resume, one award was formatted with a dash, the other with a comma. While that may be the appropriate way to format these awards, it demonstrates that the program can be inconsistent.

Should You Use ChatGPT for Your Cover Letter and Resume? 

To be fair, ChatGPT says some results may be inaccurate. As noted above, the more specific the prompt, the more specific the output. When we asked ChatGPT to write a cover letter that included “the fact that I increased my high-confidence pipeline by 20% YOY,” it produced a slightly better cover letter:

how to make a cover letter with chat gpt

That said, while it’s fun to ask ChatGPT to create a cover letter and resume so you can pursue the pirate life, should you use AI for your cover letter and resume?

As the results show, what ChatGPT produces is often generic and broad, which may not be enough to land an interview. Copying and pasting parts of the job description isn’t helpful because ChatGPT parrots back the keywords without explaining why or how you do those things.

“Nothing ChatGPT writes will be as strong and engaging as what a human could come up with,” notes Dilber. “If you’re looking for a role as a content writer, for example, you will lose a lot by not producing your own work.” And Jennings concurs. “You should never let ChatGPT write any finished document for you.”

If you’re having trouble getting started, are struggling with writer’s block, or can’t seem to find the right words, ChatGPT can be helpful in providing you a draft to work with. It generates clear outlines that give you an excellent starting point for creating application materials. However, don’t rely on it to generate the perfect application.

“I think ChatGPT can help you customize your content quickly,” says Dilber. “[You can] take one cover letter and have ChatGPT convert it to a cover letter for another role or company, for example. It will certainly accelerate your ability to apply to more roles with a customized application. And that can speed things up if you’re trying to submit lots of applications. But that doesn’t mean the quality of work it produces will be better than what you can create yourself.”

And Jennings agrees. “It’s a creative editor, a guide, and a (very) smart friend. But understand that it’s up to you to deeply personalize your own writing, especially with a highly individualized document such as a resume or cover letter.”

Want to learn how to write a resume without AI? Consider enrolling in Forage’s free Resume Writing Masterclass.

Resume Writing Masterclass

Learn how to craft a resume that stands out from the crowd, highlights your abilities, and lands interviews.

Avg. Time: 5-6 Hours

Skills you’ll build: Resume writing, building your professional brand, writing a summary, how to quantify your achievements

Image credit: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

Not really. Most recruiters say it’s no different than going to a human resume writer and asking for their assistance.

That really depends on the employer! Just remember that one survey found 11% of people who did use ChatGPT were denied a job offer once the employer discovered it.

There are ChatGPT detection tools , so anything is possible, but they aren’t always accurate. This may change as detection tools become more sophisticated.

It’s not technically considered plagiarism, as the output is original.

While it’s not illegal to lie during an interview, consider what the consequences might be if you didn’t tell your interviewer and they found out after they hired you.

It is possible that cover letters could be very similar, which is why you need to edit and rewrite ChatGPT’s output to ensure it’s unique to you.

It may be OK to use ChatGPT for interview advice, but do so with caution since the advice can be outdated and inaccurate.

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How to Use Chat GPT to Write a Cover Letter

how to make a cover letter with chat gpt

Using ChatGPT to write a cover letter can save you time and help ensure that your letter is well-written and tailored to the specific job and company. With a little bit of information and guidance, ChatGPT can quickly generate a high-quality cover letter. It can help you with the structure and language of the cover letter and all it needs from you is a few personal bits and information about the specific job and company.

Here's how to get Chat GPT to write your cover letter

1.   First, you will need to have access to the Chat GPT model, which can be obtained through the OpenAI API. You can do this by creating an account on the OpenAI website and logging in. This will allow you to send requests to the ChatGPT model and receive its generated text in response.

2.   Once you have access to the ChatGPT model, you can start by providing it with some information about the job you are applying for, such as the job title and the company name. This will help the model understand the context of the cover letter and tailor its language and content accordingly.

3.   Next, give ChatGPT a prompt to start the cover letter. This can be something as simple as "Write a cover letter for the job of [job title] at [company name]." You can also provide additional information such as the specific responsibilities of the job, or the qualifications you have that make you a good fit for the role.

how to make a cover letter with chat gpt

4.   ChatGPT will then generate a cover letter based on the information and prompt you provided. The generated text will include an introduction, body, and conclusion. You can continue to give it more information or make changes to the letter as needed by providing it with additional prompts.

5.  It's important to proofread and make any necessary revisions to the letter before sending it off to the company. As with any text generated by AI, there may be errors or phrasing that may not be ideal. Make sure to review the letter and make any changes you think are necessary.

6.   Keep in mind that ChatGPT is a language model and it's output should be reviewed by human before submitting. As AI generated text may not be perfect and may not align with your thought process, it's always a good idea to have a human review the text.

Using ChatGPT to write a cover letter can be a valuable tool for job seekers. By providing the model with information about the job and company, and a clear prompt, you can have a high-quality cover letter generated in a matter of minutes. However, it's important to proofread and make any necessary revisions to the letter before sending it off to the company. Remember, ChatGPT is a language model and its output should be reviewed by a human before submitting. It can help you save time, but it's important to also add a personal touch and tailor the letter to the specific job and company to increase your chances of getting the job.

Here are some additional tips and tricks for writing a good cover letter

1.   Tailor it to the specific job and company: Your cover letter should be customized to the specific job and company you are applying to. Research the company and the job responsibilities and qualifications, and use that information to highlight how your skills and experience align with what they are looking for.

2.   Keep it professional tone: Remember, your cover letter is like a first impression at a job interview, so leave the slang and emojis at home and channel your inner English teacher to make sure your grammar and spelling are on point. Trust me, your future employer will thank you.

3.   Keep it concise: A cover letter should be no longer than one page, and it should be clear and easy to read. Avoid going into too much detail, and focus on highlighting your most relevant qualifications and experience.

4.   Use specific examples: Instead of making general statements, use specific examples from your past experience to demonstrate how your skills and qualifications make you a good fit for the job.

5.   Show enthusiasm: Express your enthusiasm for the job and the company in your cover letter. Let the hiring manager know why you want to work for their organization and what you can bring to the table.

6.   Proofread: Make sure to proofread your cover letter for spelling and grammar errors. A good cover letter is one that is well written and without errors.

7.  Show that you have done your research: Show that you have done your research on the company and the position by mentioning specific projects, products or services that the company is known for, and how you can contribute to them.

8.   End with a call to action: End your cover letter by requesting an interview or meeting, and provide your contact information so it's easy for the hiring manager to reach you.

By following these tips and tricks, you can create a cover letter that stands out and makes a strong impression on the hiring manager. And remember, using AI like ChatGPT to write a cover letter can help you save time, but it's important to also add a personal touch and tailor the letter to the specific job and company to increase your chances of getting the job. Good luck with your job hunt!

Did you get a call back? Here’s how to use Chat GPT to prepare for the interview .

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Can ChatGPT Save You From the Agony of Writing a Cover Letter?

how to make a cover letter with chat gpt

how to make a cover letter with chat gpt

Hands typing on laptop with cover letter on screen. A oversized ChatGPI screen overlayed in the background.

A chatbot powered by artificial intelligence is spurring intense ethical debates across industries from education to media, while striking fear in the hearts of many knowledge workers who worry they could lose their job to a computer.

But in certain corners of TikTok, some argue that ChatGPT, the darling chatbot released by the tech firm OpenAI in November, might actually help you land a job.

The powerful and free-to-use version of the AI chatbot can produce nuanced sonnets, complex computer code, well-cited research papers and just about everything in between on command. And, yes, it writes cover letters, too.

Within moments of inputting a boilerplate cover letter template — or simply after prompting the AI to create a cover letter from scratch — ChatGPT can produce a fresh one according to your instructions.

In a viral TikTok video, CEO Jonathan Javier of career consulting company Wonsulting recommends plugging a cover letter template into ChatGPT and letting the chatbot work its magic.

“It will make you a cover letter so you don’t have to waste your time anymore,” Javier says in the video , which was uploaded in early January and has already racked up more than 1.2 million views.

Submitting a cover letter that you didn't actually write might feel a bit like cheating. But the advice to use ChatGPT for your cover letter is typically paired with the notion that employers are demanding too much unpaid time and effort during the hiring process.

Job applications, which could require a resume , cover letter, references and multiple written responses to screener questions, may never reach human eyes. Employers often don't respond to most of the applications. And if they do, the argument goes, it’s probably going to be an automated email. So why wouldn’t you automate your cover letter?

"As a job seeker, you have only a limited amount of time to apply," Javier tells Money. Obviously, you want to have a killer resume, he says, but he advises applicants not obsess over the cover letter because that's the part of the application he says hiring managers are most likely to ignore.

Alison Green, creator of the work-advice site Ask a Manager , says that sentiment is valid, as job hunters really are being asked to jump through an ever-growing number of hoops and produce lots of unpaid work upfront.

“So of course people are looking for shortcuts, and of course there’s a bit of an F-you in there toward employers,” Green says. “People feel like: If I can game the system, why shouldn’t I?”

ChatGPT is no doubt an easy-to-use shortcut for cover letters, but is it a good idea to use? We asked Green and other workplace experts to weigh in.

Should you use ChatGPT to write your cover letter?

The question of whether to use ChatGPT to write your cover letter is really implicitly two questions: Is it ethical? And is it practical?

As for the ethical portion? Experts are split, but it’s certainly a gray area.

Alex Alonso, the chief knowledge officer at the Society for Human Resource Management , says that these types of ethical questions are “just now catching some momentum” among hiring managers as the industry begins to grapple with the use of AI during the hiring process.

As a result, there's not a firm consensus around the ethics yet. Alonso, who holds a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational (aka workplace) psychology, says "it's an 'it depends' answer."

He explains that in some cases a ChatGPT-written cover letter might be permissible, particularly in tech fields. Using it could show the employer that you’re familiar with the technology. However, he says you should always disclose that you used it.

“If you share that information and somebody feels comfortable with it, that's perfectly okay,” he says, but in other cases it could be unethical, especially in the case that you’re trying to pass off the cover letter as your own work.

(For what it's worth, ChatGPT itself also recommends going the disclosure route. "It's important to be transparent about the role that a language model like me played in the creation of a cover letter, and to make sure that the final product accurately reflects your own qualifications, skills, and experiences," the chatbot said when asked if using it for cover letters is ethical.)

Green, of Ask a Manager, also notes that the ethics become more of an issue depending on the field. In certain writing-heavy industries, she says, more weight is placed on the cover letter, and it’s often considered a sample of your writing.

"If you submit a sample of your writing for a writing-heavy job and you didn't write it — I mean, you're just setting yourself up for disaster,” Green says.

For Liz Ryan, CEO of the career coaching and consulting firm Human Workplace , the ethical question is basically irrelevant. Ryan views the ethical debate around ChatGPT as the next iteration of debate about using a resume writing service to help with your job application.

“It used to be scandalous,” Ryan says. “Like, ‘Oh, you paid somebody to do this?’”

These days, nobody bats an eye about using those types of services.

The downsides of using ChatGPT-written cover letters

The far more important question, at least according to the career experts we spoke with, is about the practicality of using ChatGPT to write your cover letter.

“The question is less about the ethics and more about whether it's smart,” Green says. “And I would say no, it’s really dumb.”

That’s because experts say a good cover letter doesn’t regurgitate your resume and is hyper specific to the job you want. It should rely on well-thought-out personal anecdotes that connect with the reader.

Ideally, your cover letter should “tell us a story because people are attracted to stories,” Ryan says. And that’s where ChatGPT can fall short. It doesn’t know your unique experiences and can’t make them up for you.

What it can do very well is spit out a few quick paragraphs that will make the eyes of even the most corporate of hiring managers glaze over in boredom. Ryan says cover letters get such a bad rap because they’re already rife with jargon and boilerplate language. Feeding that already stodgy language into an AI is essentially creating a dreadful, robotic feedback loop.

Javier concedes that point, too. Even his recommendation to use ChatGPT for your cover letter comes with an asterisk: the 80:20 rule, as he calls it.

"ChatGPT will get you to the 80% mark," he says. "The 20% mark will be up to you — or a mentor to help you edit it."

In other words, the examples ChatGPT produces are not ready to fire off to employers. At the very least, they will require fact checking because the chatbot may add in random stats and figures that don't reflect your actual experience. And the tone will certainly need some massaging too. (Javier recommends prompting ChatGPT to use a "fun and energetic tone.")

On the other hand, if you’re feeling tempted to submit a ChatGPT cover letter for a job you actually want, Ryan's advice is simple: “Don’t follow that instinct.”

“Unless you literally can't write in English, which in that case, go for it,” she adds. “Then it’s just Grammarly on steroids.”

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OpenAI Chat GPT on website with caption 'Applicant CAUGHT using Chat GPT for cover letters' (l) woman speaking with caption 'Applicant CAUGHT using Chat GPT for cover letters' (c) cover letter with Chat GPT typing at bottom with caption 'Applicant CAUGHT using Chat GPT for cover letters' (r)


‘He really said copy paste’: Employer catches job applicant using ChatGPT to write cover letter

'don't use this.'.

Braden Bjella

Braden Bjella

Posted on Feb 1, 2023   Updated on Feb 1, 2023, 12:14 pm CST

Cover letters are the bane of many job applicants’ existence. At a time when people are applying to hundreds of jobs and getting few if any responses , requiring a cover letter means an applicant must spend even more time crafting something a prospective employer might not even read . 

Because of this additional work, many applicants have discovered workarounds to ease the job application process. For example, earlier in the year, a user on TikTok went viral after claiming he applied to over 200 jobs in 2 days using automation.

One of the ways this user automated the job application process was by getting ChatGPT to write his cover letters. Apparently, he was not caught doing this—but that wasn’t the case for an applicant for a job posted by TikTok user Mandy (@careercoachmandy).

@careercoachmandy he really said copy paste #chatgpt #coverletter #jobsearch ♬ original sound – CareerCoachMandy

According to Mandy, she posted a job on UpWork for a Resume Assistant. She says in comments that the job did not require a cover letter. Soon after she posted the job, however, she says she received an application with a cover letter that appeared at first glance to be a strong contender.

Quickly, she notes she became suspicious.

“[I] was like, wait a minute. Let me try something,” she recalls. She says she then put the job posting into ChatGPT and asked it to write a cover letter—only to receive the exact same cover letter sent in by the applicant.

“Are you kidding me?” she asks in the video. In the caption, she added, “he really said copy paste.”

The video currently has over 358,000 views.

In the comments section, many users took the side of the applicant, with numerous users sharing their cover letter gripes.

“Hire them because they are resourceful and don’t waste their fucking time on stupid shit like a cover letter,” one user stated.

“As long as they are speaking the truth on the things they have done which makes them a [quality] candidate, why not chatgpt,” another questioned.

“Who cares? Do you think people have the time to write you narcissists a cover letter each time?” a third shared. “Get a clue, find a grip.”

That said, some users said that while using ChatGPT is OK in some contexts, it may not be applicable for all job postings.

“Chatgpt adds so many random things to the point of being big lies you will get caught in. It’s great for a template but gotta edit and customize,” a commenter noted.

“Guys she said it’s for a resume assistant…so why would she hire them then? For any other job I understand but for this, she’s making sense,” a second added.

In a response video, Mandy largely agreed with these last two points, saying she was initially impressed by the applicant’s resourcefulness.

@careercoachmandy Replying to @ocynvdm ♬ original sound – CareerCoachMandy

She notes the cover letter created by ChatGPT got some details about the job incorrect and misstated her own accomplishments as those of the applicant. In a job like a Resume Assistant that requires attention to detail, not being able to see these obvious errors are big red flags for a hiring manager.

Mandy then posted a follow-up video saying that, as a career coach, she advises not spending more than 10 minutes on a cover letter and that there are a few basic templates users can follow to write a good letter in lieu of using AI.

“From an applicant’s perspective, cover letters are their own version of hell,” she details. “However, I will say that as a coach, from what I’ve seen, I can think of at least four or five people who, in their interview process, people have remarked on, ‘Oh, I actually really liked what you wrote in your cover letter.’ From that perspective, it does actually sometimes make a difference.”

@careercoachmandy Replying to @sunshineandvalentines ♬ original sound – CareerCoachMandy

Many commenters remained unconvinced.

“As a former hiring & talent ops manager i rarely read cover letters,” a user alleged. “99% are way too long.”

“12+ years in HR…we don’t read cover letters,” an additional user claimed.

“If someone asks for a cover letter I just don’t apply,” an additional TikToker said. “They’re ridiculous for people who don’t even read my resume.”

Update 12:13pm CT, Feb. 1:  In an email to Daily Dot, Mandy said she understood much of the criticism levied against cover letters, and noted that ChatGPT is not always a bad tool to use.

“I agree cover letters in 2023 are out of date!” she wrote. “They’re super antiquated and old school. It’s really smart that they used ChatGPT, but don’t miss the step of asking the AI to incorporate your resume as source material! I knew it was written by a bot because the cover letter was just verbatim repeating the job description, with no details about the applicant.”

The purpose of a cover letter can instead be expressed in a resume, she detailed.

“Instead of a cover letter, you could try incorporating some kind of narrative statement (providing that voice over) into your resume,” she stated. “I think borrowing the ‘headline’ from LinkedIn to give yourself some personal branding can help you stand out (for example, using the phrase ‘data scientist’ or ‘creative digital marketer’ right under your name on the resume).”

Daily Dot icon

Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine, and more.


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