Artificial Assistance

Our career expert says it’s best to use AI for finessing job application materials — not creating them. 

Sompong_Tom | iStock | Getty Images

Artificial Assistance

Our career expert says it’s best to use AI for finessing job application materials — not creating them. 

ChatGPT can write a cover letter. Rezi can create a résumé. Jobscan can test how that résumé will perform in an applicant tracking system, ensuring it has the right keywords to get sorted into the yes pile. But do hiring managers want to see what artificial intelligence can do or what applicants can do?

A survey of 1,000 job seekers conducted by Resume Builder earlier this year found that nearly half, 46 percent, were using ChatGPT to write their resumes and/or cover letters. While 78 percent reported getting an interview with AI-generated materials, 11 percent didn’t get the job after an interviewer found out about their use of AI.

Mike Caldwell, executive director of TCU’s Center for Career & Professional Development, shared advice on how to use AI in the job search. 

You wrote a memo to college students explaining how AI might impact their job search and used AI to write it. Is this our future?

It very well may be. Since doing that, I’ve also learned a lot about how you can prompt it to even write in a particular voice or a particular style and do much more beyond just creating a rough draft.  

How accurate was the advice that it generated?

It was pretty accurate. AI does some things very accurately, but it will sometimes veer into inaccuracy. The deeper you get into it, it will tend to sometimes make up things, it will just start auto filling words that would seemingly follow. So there certainly is the danger of creating content that really is just using the context rather than facts. 

How is AI helping job seekers?  

The most useful thing is that it helps with pulling together ideas or details. So you could say, “I am graduating with an accounting degree at TCU. I want to move to Houston; what employer should I be looking at?” And it can give you a really good, robust list of employers that you might target. And then it can also help you start to draft responses. So, for example, you’re going to Houston, and you have an interview with a company, and you ask, “What are the typical interview questions I might have? How should I respond to those questions?” I think that’s the biggest piece — the research and preparation.  

Mike Caldwell is the executive director of TCU’s Center for Career & Professional Development. For more information about careers, visit

Is using AI to craft a cover letter OK?  

A lot of employers will use the cover letter as a writing sample; when someone has used an AI system to create a cover letter, that person on the other side really has no idea about your writing skills. Now that said, this is the area that I think everyone’s trying to wrestle with right now. It could be acceptable to take your cover letter you’ve written and put it into the AI system and ask for feedback. I think the challenge is, the person on the other side doesn’t know which of those paths you took. 

Is using AI for a résumé less problematic?  

I think so. It can be very useful to say, “Here’s my résumé, give me some feedback.” But résumés are also a little trickier — formatting is really key. And with most of the AI tools, formatting is out the window. Maybe the next iterations may address that. That said, it can definitely write bulleted descriptions. 

Are companies less likely to hire someone if their materials were created by AI? 

I don’t know. It seems like the thing that is coming up right now is that people are asking, “How can we evaluate candidates on their skills using AI, rather than trying to weed them out by AI?” I think in some ways utilizing the system will become a skill in and of itself.  

What are the limitations of AI when it comes to its uses for job seekers?  

I noticed one thing when I was doing résumés — AI added “references upon request,” which probably 95 percent of career counselors would say, “Never put that on there.” It’s just kind of pointless. Some of the information may be outdated. ChatGPT, for example, some of the information only goes up through 2021. It also may not know things that are not necessarily publicly known or widely available. The limitations are with those things that are a little bit more advanced, specific or more recent. 

Can AI hurt job seekers? 

It could hurt you if other candidates are using it and you’re not. There may be someone else who is really using it effectively to do a lot of great research and planning and preparing their job application or for their interview. On the flip side, if you’re not going back and editing, that could definitely hurt you. If you submitted something that has false or inaccurate information, or included the little blurb that said it was created by AI, that may weed you out of the process. 

How can job recruiters use AI? 

If you’re hiring for a role, rather than going to your boring 10 interview questions that you’ve always used, feed your job in and say, “Create 10 really helpful interview questions for me that will help me evaluate candidates for this role.” It might create better questions. An employer could use it to evaluate colleges: “I’m looking for candidates for an engineering role. What are three schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area I should reach out to?” 

Do you have any thoughts on AI’s potential to harm job security?  

I’m telling you all these things that can help you — why not create this chat bot or greatest career counselor in a box? I’ve been following the writers’ strike. One of the requests from the writers in the union was that the production studios would agree that they would not utilize AI to create or draft scripts. They said they would not commit to that. I think it will be interesting to see how that pans out. Who owns the copyright — does the AI own the copyright, or does the person who prompted AI own the copyright for a written work?  

What are you telling students and alumni about AI?  

I’m trying not to say, “Oh, this is going to be the greatest thing ever” — or “Oh, this is going to be the end of everything.” I’m trying to be fairly open-minded and neutral and take in as much information as I can. I think with students it’s helpful to think about, “How can I use this to help me be better at what I do rather than help me not do something?” I definitely don’t have all the answers. I’ve learned a lot from just following a few people and seeing how they use it. It’s really fascinating to me how you can prompt it to help it learn, giving it context, that then helps you get good information. It’s like the internet, it’s like social media — there’s always this tide that turns in terms of people worried on either side, and I find that things generally land somewhere in the middle. There’s probably some unintended consequence out here that no one’s thinking about yet. We’ll see where it is in a few months.  

For more information about careers, visit