Should You Use ChatGPT to Write an Executive Resume?
Like most pioneering technologies, generative artificial intelligence has sparked excitement in every industry. Especially novel is its large language model (LLM) interfaces, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which have prompted speculation about the possibility of finally being able to chat with computers and ask them to generate content that formerly had to be produced by a person. While its power to interact is indeed impressive, its capacity to exercise true creativity and true understanding is rudimentary at best. Generative AI can only repurpose data and resources it has been fed; it has no power to actually create.
On projects like executive-level resumes that need to showcase a personal voice and career narrative, while at the same time developing and highlighting a person’s professional brand, generative AI cannot successfully replace human writers, but it can provide those writers with some helpful tools.
How Generative AI Would Build an Executive Resume
Given generative AI’s ability to research and write, it’s only natural to wonder about its ability to prepare a resume; professionals have been experimenting with systems such as ChatGPT for this purpose since it became available to the public.
The question, however, isn’t whether it can write a resume, but rather whether it can write one well, especially for those at the executive level. A well-written resume is more than an organized list of one’s career history and accomplishments. Although it’s a given that all resumes should look professional, read concisely, and convey a person’s professional history in a compelling manner, executive resumes typically require more focus, fine-tuning, and finesse to make a candidate stand out among a highly competitive pool of peers.
As AI technology becomes more prolific, trusted, and integrated into workflows, the implications for how it can alter the world of writing, research, and automation are profound. At the same time, this technology does still require prompting and interaction in order to produce useful content. To write a resume utilizing ChatGPT, you would first need to gather all necessary information for the resume and then provide a prompt. This could be something as simple as: “Write a resume for me, a senior vice president of business development, with the following career history [past positions, education, etc.].”
Following this, the AI would generate organized content with a professional summary section, bulleted accomplishments, and additional elements. In other words, a resume! What this artificially generated resume lacks, however, is real impact.
Pitfalls of Using Generative AI to Write an Executive Resume
An effective executive resume provides the reader with the immediate impression that the candidate is an experienced professional with a clear mission statement, and it communicates the success they can bring to their next employer. In addition, it strategically uses relevant keywords and industry terms while presenting information in a streamlined manner to allow busy recruiters to read and understand the content quickly.
Content aside, aesthetics also plays a significant role in the reader’s perception of both the document and the candidate. Sleek design, organized layout, and sufficient use of white space all distinguish an effective executive resume. Generative AI, although able to draft and organize written content, does not have the capability of creating a resume design or layout. Furthermore, simply cutting and pasting AI-generated content isn’t a sufficient solution: the layout and writing must be intertwined to produce an optimized resume that both looks and sounds appealing.
Some leading AI researchers such as Robb Wilson have tested whether AI can produce a well-written resume. The conclusion was that, although it was able to properly organize ideas, there were inaccuracies, inconsistencies, less-than-stellar writing, and no personality. In other words, as you might expect from a technology system at its present stage, it was able to communicate the very basic “nuts and bolts” of a resume but not a compelling, well-written document critical to the effectiveness of resumes for high-level positions.
Along with researching the thoughts of opinion leaders within the AI community and resume-writing industry regarding this topic, we thought it would be enlightening to ask ChatGPT ourselves. In answer to the prompt “What are the downsides of having you write an executive resume?” ChatGPT listed the issues surprisingly well. The consensus among both humans AND AI is that, although there are some advantages to utilizing AI to generate resume content, there are numerous downsides to the process that make it an unwise option for you, if you are an executive looking to optimally communicate your professional brand:
- Lack of Personalization: AI-generated resumes lack the personal touch and unique qualities that can transform a resume from a career summary to a professional brand and career narrative.
- Limited Context: Although ChatGPT has a very large storehouse of information at its virtual fingertips, it doesn’t truly understand you and is likely to produce fairly generic content that will not help you stand out among the competition.
- Potential Errors: This is related to #2, but the system’s limitations make it capable of producing errors with respect to explanation or context. Yes, humans can make these errors too, but collaborating with a professional executive resume writer rather than AI is likely to minimize them.
- Over-Reliance: It’s tempting to see AI as a quick alternative to the arduous and involved process of planning and writing your career documents, especially if you are pressed for time or not a naturally great writer. It is essential to bear in mind that AI is still just a technology tool. A professional executive resume writer will challenge you to think at a deeper level about your accomplishments and what they mean to you. AI cannot guide you in this regard.
- Ethical Concerns: There are those (including potential employers) who might not be thrilled about the idea of a future leader of their organization not being straightforward about relying on AI to communicate their professional brand and may discount AI-generated resumes on these grounds.
- Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Concerns: Professional executive resume-writing services will present your information in formatting, layout, and language that is designed to pass ATS system screening. AI-generated resumes are not necessarily going to be presented this way, so there is the possibility of the document missing relevant keywords and scoring low on such scans.
- Time & Cost: Although AI might allow you to generate a resume faster, gathering and reviewing the information, as well as formatting it into a visually pleasing document, will still require a significant investment of time and perhaps resources—and may still result in a mediocre-looking (and sounding) resume.
- Lack of Human Judgment: At the executive level, a resume is a statement of your professional brand, supported by a concise summary of your career history. Unlike a professional resume writer, AI doesn’t have the developed human judgment and intuition that can help you, the job seeker, make nuanced decisions about what to include, omit, or reframe in your document.
Are There Any Benefits to Leveraging AI for the Resume-Writing Process?
Although it’s clear that relying on AI to produce an executive resume is unwise, are there any potential areas where ChatGPT could be useful in supporting the resume-writing process? Placing aside for a moment the issues with the system’s ability to produce compelling, personalized writing, perhaps generative AI could make the resume-writing process more productive and efficient. Three areas come to mind almost immediately:
- Organizing or condensing large amounts of raw information. This is especially useful if you are looking to streamline a long existing resume or have a jumble of disorganized talking points to consolidate.
- Generating a list of keywords that can be leveraged and emphasized to align a resume with a desired position and industry. Other web-based systems exist for this purpose, such as Jobscan, but their efficacy hinges on the quality of a target job description.
- Quickly reformatting a large amount of information such as a long list of publications, or organizing a list of things, such as technical inventory, by type. It also has the ability to align the list with specific writing style guidelines.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that this information should always be double-checked, as generative AI occasionally makes false assumptions or introduces inaccuracies into the writing.
A powerful new technology that has the potential to change how people work, research, and produce creative content, generative AI promises to boost efficiency by enhancing how resumes are researched and written. The writing itself, however, should still be left to the experts, as the drawbacks far outweigh the advantages.
Not only can a professional resume-writing service provide you with a targeted, effective professional branding document, but it can also offer insightful strategic guidance to assist you in achieving the next stage of your career journey; these are benefits that can’t be provided by an online search prompt.
For more career success strategies and tips on creating a compelling executive-level resume, visit www.executiveresumewriters.com.
Download the Infographic for the List of Pitfalls of Using Generative AI to Write an Executive Resume
How We Help Professionals Like You
We work exclusively with executive-level professionals like you. By leveraging our decades of experience and our proven process, our clients get hired faster and negotiate higher compensation packages. Our approach is to uncover your unique talent brand, the things that truly make you the best candidate for an executive position.
The Power of a Professional Executive Resume
What does your personal brand say about you? Experienced executives leverage our team of certified resume writing experts to position them as the expert in their field.
You need more than just a resume; you will also need a cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and professional biography.