scorecardI used ChatGPT for my résumé and got back poor results and pretentious gobbledygook
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I used ChatGPT for my résumé and got back poor results and pretentious gobbledygook

Rebecca Knight   

I used ChatGPT for my résumé and got back poor results and pretentious gobbledygook
Careers3 min read
I used ChatGPT to update my résumé, and I still have a lot of work to do.    Getty Images
  • I asked ChatGPT, OpenAI's chatbot, to punch up my résumé and the results were less than spectacular.
  • There were some helpful ideas, but it mostly offered flowery language and bland suggestions.

The internet positively teems with advice on how to write the perfect résumé.

Craft a strong executive summary. Use only robust verbs. And — most importantly — be sure to include key words including "strategic planning" and "forecasting" so your résumé makes it past pesky screening software.

But even with all that guidance, résumé writing remains a tedious task. "I can't wait to spend hours updating my résumé!" is not something you hear.

Luckily for us, we live in a new era of artificial intelligence. AI is already helping people write cover letters, update their professional headshots, and boost their productivity at work. I assumed it could offer helpful assistance for résumé writing, too.

Then again, maybe not. I recently asked ChatGPT, OpenAI's buzzy chatbot, to punch up my résumé, and the results wouldn't move me enough to hire an AI bot to tell my story. There were some helpful ideas, but there were also a lot of flowery phrases, needless superlatives, and bland suggestions, including: "Consider customizing and adding design elements that align with industry standards."

The upshot is that while ChatGPT can perhaps offer some inspiration, you still need to put in most of the work yourself.

Grandstanding gets gratuitous

The goal of a résumé is, of course, to lay out the story of your career in a way that makes prospective bosses want to hire you. It requires a certain amount of horn-tooting. You want to come across as a capable, skilled, and experienced professional, not a clueless blowhard.

ChatGPT didn't get the memo, it seems. I uploaded my pre-AI résumé — for the record, I'm a 40-something journalist who covers careers and the workplace for Insider — and asked ChatGPT to make it sharper, better, and targeted at potential senior-level editorial jobs.

Granted, my résumé was already pretty decent — I would be an embarrassment of a careers reporter if it wasn't. But I concede that it needed more oomph. In that sense, ChatGPT delivered in spades.

For starters, it suggested an executive summary for the top. My current résumé doesn't have one, and the jury is out on whether they're mandatory. ChatGPT apparently thought I needed it to excessively brag about my work and blow smoke up the backsides of my past employers.

It recommended I say that I am "accomplished at crafting compelling stories and delivering insightful editorials." It advised me to say I am "seeking editorial opportunities to leverage expertise in providing thought-provoking content." It also recommended I qualify my past publications as "reputable."

Further down, ChatGPT recommended I use words including "influential" and "prestigious" to describe my former employers. It advised portraying my stories as "well-researched," and "meticulously reported." It recommended that I refer to the college course I once taught as "highly regarded," and that I list my past contributions to coverage as "pivotal."

"Show, don't tell," is one of the rules of good writing. It applies to journalism, fiction, and yes, even résumés. So when a writer goes on about their own amazing prose, at a certain point, the reader starts to get suspicious. And because I work in a word-nerd field, the overwrought adjectives and adverbs struck me as a touch desperate. I have a hunch that editors and hiring managers might feel the same.

I do plan to incorporate some of ChatGPT's suggestions, though. I've come around on the idea of an executive summary, and some of the verbs it proposed, such as "collaborate" and "showcase," were an improvement. But I will toss most of the changes.

Gee, I can't wait to spend hours of my life updating my résumé!