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Writing cover letters isn’t just tedious. It’s soul-crushing. You might spend hours obsessing over the tone and adding in bulls--t keywords like “self-starter” and “data-oriented,” only to never hear back from the company. And then you’ll do it again, writing until your wrists are sore and your eyes are bloodshot. 

But there is a better way. With the advent of generative artificial intelligence, job seekers can now write personalized cover letters in seconds instead of hours. In this guide, we’ll explain how to use ChatGPT to write a cover letter while also addressing the downsides of AI-generated job applications.

Why Should I Use ChatGPT?

Companies don’t have time to read hundreds of cover letters and resumes, so they rely on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan and rank potential hires based on keywords they include in their applications. So if you want a shot at landing a job, you’ll have to send out customized cover letters and resumes.

To cut down on the busy work, you can ask ChatGPT to write each cover letter for you and then edit the results. Is it the most honest way to apply for a job? Maybe not. But if companies use AI to read through applications, then why not fight fire with fire?

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OpenAI To Offer Commercial Version Of ChatGPTPhoto credit: Leon Neal / Getty Images

How Can I Use ChatGPT To Create a Cover Letter?

Chat GPT can’t think — at least not in the way that we do. That said, it’s very good at generating text that sounds like it was written by a human. But when it comes to getting the AI to do something complex (like writing a cover letter), there’s a bit of a learning curve. We’ve highlighted a straightforward approach below:

Step One: Make an OpenAI Account

To access ChatGPT’s free bot, make an account with OpenAI. Apart from your email, you’ll need to provide your full name, birthdate, and phone number.

Step Two: Ask ChatGPT To Write Your Resume

There are many ways to approach this step, but the general idea is that you need to provide ChatGPT with the job listing and your work experience. The below prompt serves as a starting point, though you can modify the word count, style, and other parameters to fit your needs. Once you have your prompt, simply enter it and copy and paste the resume and the job description below.

Using the resume and the job description listed below, write a persuasive cover letter in 250-400 words for the [insert position] at [insert company]. Highlight how my skills and experience align with the job's requirements.

Step Three: Refine the Letter

Within seconds of entering your request, ChatGPT will spit out a convincing cover letter. You can use ChatGPT to make adjustments with the below prompts, or you can write your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

A few helpful prompts to polish your letter include:

Rewrite the above cover letter in a [insert style].

Condense the above cover letter to [insert word count].

Rewrite the above cover letter and include [insert experience].

Rewrite the above cover letter and include the following keywords:

Step Four: Proofread and Edit

It may be hard to believe, but you’re smarter than ChatGPT. So proofread the final product and ask yourself whether the cover letter actually addresses the employer’s job description.

Step Five: Streamline Your Process

After you’ve generated several cover letters, you’ll have found out what prompts work for you. Document and streamline the process so that you can save even more time.

@realalexcleanthous Cover letters are how you stand out when applying for your dream job. Here’s how to use ChatGPT to write a customized cover letter in 2 min. #chatgpt #coverletter #jobtips #dreamjob #openai ♬ original sound - Alex Cleanthous

Warning: Companies Are Flagging ChatGPT Applications

Employers have already caught on that applicants are using ChatGPT to write cover letters, generate writing samples, and pass coding tests. Some companies don’t notice (or care), while others are using AI detection software to throw out inauthentic applications.

Anecdotally, our ChatGPT cover letter passed as “human-generated” according to two free content detectors. But when it came up against Winston AI’s more powerful tool, it earned a 0% human score.

The upshot is that you’re taking a risk by submitting an AI-generated application. If that doesn’t dissuade you, here are a few things you can do to circumvent detection tools:

  • Run your cover letter through a paraphrasing tool.

  • Rewrite, paraphrase, and edit portions of your AI-generated cover letter.

  • Only use ChatGPT for inspiration, edits, or a portion of your letter.

The Bottom Line

So should you use ChatGPT to write your cover letters? Yes, but only if you’re A) willing to accept the risks and B) use the saved time to send out more applications. Otherwise, you’ll want to rely on a machine far more powerful, creative, and original than ChatGPT: your brain.

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