How Can AI Help With Your Graduate Resume & Cover Letter

Posted by GradConnection

As you embark on your professional journey as a grad, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) emerges as a key player in redefining the art of crafting resumes and cover letters.

AI has disrupted what it means to create things. They can create images, articles on nearly any subject (with loose accuracy, we’ll get back to that), and even the first sentence of what you’re reading now. A tool like ChatGPT is a Large Language Model (LLMs) which means it processes huge quantities of text data to understand the relationship between words.

As a graduate undergoing the graduate recruitment process, AI can be a tool to hone your application to give it the best chance of success. With that said, it’s important to remember the limits to which AI should be used throughout the job search i.e. as a tool only and not a complete replacement of your own personal input or effort. In this article, we outline some of the ways AI can lend a helping hand for your resume and cover letter.

How can you use AI to help improve your Graduate Resume or Cover Letter?

Generate a resume or cover letter outline

When searching for your first job in your chosen field you’ll need a professional resume and cover letter. But what if you don’t have one yet and don’t know where to start?

AI can help you take those first steps with your resume and cover letter writing with a guide. A tool like ChatGPT can generate the overall structure of your resume, or a keyword driven cover letter to get your application in front of recruiters. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this should be used as an outline only, and should be followed by refining through personal input based on the role and your own research!

Ask AI what keywords are relevant to the application

Due to applicant tracking systems (ATS) your resume might not even make it to the hiring manager if it doesn’t have the right keywords or if the formatting is wrong. This could have a large impact on your job application journey. For example, in 2023, 97.4% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS.

Using an AI may make the process of applying as a graduate easier by handling things like keywords and formatting for you. You may prompt a service like ChatGPT on what the keywords or ATS considerations for a certain industry are, or with more bespoke resume and cover letter AIs, they’ll automatically keep ATS in mind when creating and providing feedback.

Recent graduates can also simply copy and paste the job description into an AI and prompt it to extract the keywords from the job description. You can then work those keywords into your resume and cover letter or when addressing key criteria.

Using these techniques provides a foundation you can build upon to give your application a more personal touch.

Receive objective feedback

You might be used to taking your work to family, friends, and colleagues to get feedback but AI offers an impartial and faster alternative. You’re able to show your resume to an AI and it will give you feedback to act upon. How this will look depends on the AI so it’s best to choose the one that best suits your needs.

This process is even being used by major Australian Universities such as La Trobe through their CV360 service which gives you a detailed breakdown of your cover letter and what can be approved along with a score. You can then make the changes and the AI will rescore your cover letter. You may even be able to use it after you graduate! It may be worth checking to see if your university has a similar service.

What are some examples of prompts you can ask AI?

When choosing prompts for an AI such as ChatGPT it’s important to understand it only knows what you’ve told it so you need to be specific when prompting. For example, you may start with one of the prompts below and add relevant information to what you’re applying for. Once you read the response you may then iterate upon it by going “can you make that sound more formal” or “can you give me three versions of the first paragraph”. This process gives you a strong foundation to then add a human touch. Also, be polite - we’ve all seen the movies!

  • Can you write a resume/cover letter outline for [industry]?
  • What are the ATS considerations for a [industry] cover letter?
  • Can you give me feedback on my cover letter copied below for [job/industry]?
  • Can you tailor my resume/cover letter for the job description copied below?
  • Could you make the cover letter pasted below more concise?
  • My professional experience is X and the job description is below, could you write me a professional summary?

Which AI tool should you be using?

As a recent graduate you may choose to use AIs specifically designed to help with resume and cover letter creation. Where ChatGPT is a multitool of options, these specific AIs such as CopyAI and Rezi are a tool designed to excel at one task.

When deciding on which AI to use it’s best to consider their privacy policy, reviews from other users, if it’s free or paid, and what’s included in the free package. Your university may also have AI services you can access for resumes, cover letters, and interviews, even after graduation. You can even use multiple services and combine their outputs to taste! In the end it’s about choosing the tool that works best for you. Here’s some you could choose between:

What should you avoid when using AI for your Graduate Resume and Cover Letter?

AI is a powerful tool that can be a foundation for your own work but there are some factors you may consider to get the most out of it. 

  • Using AI without personalisation or further input: AI doesn’t know anything about you beyond what you tell it, and it can get things wrong, so it’s important to edit the AIs output, make it read more personally and ensure you’re not providing false or misleading information.
  • Not checking the AI output against company guidelines: The AI won’t know the guidelines for the application and getting them wrong can mean being rejected by the ATS system. For example, some companies don’t like photos being attached or need a certain formatting.
  • Not considering the recruiters view: AI is still being debated which means it may be frowned upon by recruiters if your cover letter or resume obviously reads like an AI created it. Plus, if it has the hallmarks of AI it may not stand out against thousands of other graduates using AI for their applications too.

In conclusion, brought to you by ChatGPT

In a nutshell, AI is changing the game for grads when it comes to whipping up resumes and cover letters. Whether it's ChatGPT, CopyAI, or Rezi, these tools are like our creative sidekicks, making the whole application process a bit less daunting. You can use them to draft up your resume, nail those industry-specific keywords, and even get some straight-up feedback. Just remember, when picking an AI buddy, check out their reviews and privacy policies. While AI is cool, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Give your application a personal touch by adding your flavor during the editing process, so it doesn't sound like every other grad out there. Cheers to tech making the job hunt a bit more interesting!


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