Should you trust ChatGPT with your CV?

CV expert Emma Alkirwi argues that there are big risks to trusting ChatGPT to write your CV.

Image of a cv on a tablet indicating how to avoid age discrimination


We have been bombarded over the last months with articles about how ChatGPT is affecting everything from essay writing to applying for jobs.  Some jobseekers have started to use AI to create their application documents – in particular, CVs and cover letters.

There is certainly a place for certain AI tools when preparing your CV and cover letter. For example, Grammarly can be used very effectively to check your spelling and grammar to make sure you aren’t sending application documents that include mistakes.

However, there are risks associated with using AI. Italy recently banned ChatGPT from being used in the country due to concerns around potential GDPR breaches, and experts are warning that the tool could be used for cyber attacks.

For jobseekers, there is a completely different set of concerns. We have broken them down below.

Outdated layout issues

Tools such as ChatGPT pull together information based on what you have asked, and data that is available on the internet. This means that the responses it provides you with may not always be up to date.

For example, when we asked ChatGPT how to structure a CV, we noticed three immediate mistakes in its recommendations:

i. It suggested including a professional picture – as graphics are not picked up by recruitment scanning software, the inclusion of an image could mean that your CV does not pass the first round of application screenings.

ii. It suggested writing about your education before your experience – unless you are a recent university graduate, your work experience should always come first as it will be much more relevant to the job you are applying for.

iii. It suggested including references and their contact information – we would never recommend this as it takes up valuable space on your CV. You only need to contact referees when you have been offered a job.

A professional CV writer will always be up to date on best practices for structuring your CV. If in doubt, we recommend you talk to them instead.

Generic content 

The quality of content you get from an AI tool completely depends on the prompts you put into it. For example, if you ask ChatGPT to create a CV for an HR manager, the information it gives you will not be personalised to you – it will pull facts and suggested examples from across the internet instead.

This means you need to be really clear and feed it specific examples of your experience. It can take a lot of trial and error to get it right.

Employers expect to see a bespoke CV for the job they have advertised. This means you will still need to put time and effort into making edits to ensure that you are tailoring the information included to each specific position – and make sure that the content generated is accurate.

Additionally, AI technology may not pick up on technical language or terminology that is associated with certain careers. A professional CV writer, however, will usually specialise in particular industries, and so will understand the language they need to use to talk about your experience and skills.

Missing context 

There are a lot of reasons why you may not have a ‘traditional’ CV. You could have switched industries, taken a career break or had a few jobs in a short period.

None of this should detract from your ability to get the position you are interested in, but it needs to be explained effectively to the prospective employer. AI technology may struggle to understand the nuances behind your employment history, and so may not portray it correctly.

Impress humans, not machines

More than anything, your CV needs to be written with the reader in mind: your prospective employer or recruiter.

As you know, employers don’t just want to learn about your education and your experience. They want to get a feel of who you are from your documents, so they gain an understanding of how you will fit into their team. You need to include a bit of a window into your personality, especially in your cover letter.

Your documents need to have a human touch to make that connection and give you the best chance of being invited to interview.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services. If your biggest problem with doing job applications is time – or perhaps you need advice on how to highlight your experience and skills – CV Guru says working with a professional CV writer might be a good option for you. Not only does a professional writer understand up-to-date best practices, but they can pull together your most relevant experience in an engaging way to demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate for a job. If you’re not sure if working with a professional CV writer is for you, why not check out CV Guru’s free CV review service? All you need to do is upload your document and one of the team will come back to you with personal feedback on how you can make improvements.

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