Leveraging AI for Cover Letters: The Pros and Cons

4 mins read
Job Seeker advice artificial intelligence cover letter job seeker

In today’s competitive job market, crafting a compelling cover letter is an essential tool in ensuring your job application stands out from the crowd, and helping you to land your dream job.

You would have to live under the proverbial rock to have missed the arrival of general public-accessible artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) tools – ChatGPT launched less than a year ago, in November 2022. The potential uses of AI tools for the average person are wide and varied, including of course as an aid in the job application process. However, like any tool, they come with their own set of pros and cons. In this blog, I’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of using ChatGPT and similar AI tools when writing cover letters for job opportunities.


The Pros of using AI for cover letters

1. Time Efficiency

One of the most significant advantages of using ChatGPT and similar AI functions to craft your cover letters is time saved. An AI-powered tool can generate a well-structured, coherent cover letter in mere minutes, sparing you the time and effort required for extensive research and writing.

2. Consistency

These AI-powered tools ensure consistency in tone, style, and formatting throughout your cover letter. This can be especially beneficial when you’re applying to multiple jobs simultaneously, as it helps maintain a professional image.

3. Reduced Writer’s Block

Writer’s block can be a significant obstacle when writing cover letters. AI provides a starting point, helping you overcome that initial resistance and get your ideas flowing.

4. Language Assistance

If English is not your first language, AI can assist in crafting grammatically correct and coherent cover letters, increasing your chances of making a positive impression.

5. Keyword Optimisation

Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan cover letters for specific keywords. AI can help you identify and incorporate relevant keywords, increasing your chances of passing through these systems.


The Cons of using AI for Cover Letters

1. Lack of Personalisation

While AI can certainly generate a generic cover letter quickly, it often lacks the personal touch that will set you apart from other applicants. Personalisation is essential to demonstrate your genuine interest in the specific role and company.

2. Risk of Plagiarism

Overreliance on AI can lead to unintentional plagiarism. It’s crucial to thoroughly review and edit the generated content to ensure its unique, and aligned with your experiences and qualifications.

3. Limited Creativity

AI tools are limited by their programming and dataset. They may not be able to provide innovative or creative solutions to unique job application challenges.

4. Inaccuracy

While AI has come a long way in terms of natural language understanding, it can still make errors, misunderstand context, or generate inappropriate content. Relying solely on AI-generated text can lead to inaccuracies in your cover letter.

5. Overused Templates

Many job seekers are now using AI tools, leading to an influx of cover letters with a similar tone and structure. This can make it challenging to stand out in a crowded applicant pool.


The value balance

I believe that using AI when writing cover letters for job opportunities has its merits, primarily in terms of time efficiency and language assistance. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between the benefits of AI-generated content, and the need for personalisation and genuineness in your cover letter. At Madison, we talk with clients who comment more and more frequently on the fact that cover letters are beginning to look and sound the same— and therefore don’t feel genuine.  Because of this, employers are sometimes second guessing a candidate’s application, based on the fact that it appears the candidate hasn’t put the time and effort into making something personalised, real, and unique to the job they are applying for.


The right place to use AI tools

A good approach is to use AI as a starting point, allowing it to generate an initial draft. Then, invest time in customising and personalising the content to align with the specific job and organisation. This way, you can harness the strengths of AI, while ensuring that your cover letter truly reflects your qualifications, and enthusiasm for the role.

Remember, a well-crafted cover letter is a vital tool in your job search. It’s worth taking the time and effort to make it shine. AI can be a valuable assistant, but the human touch remains irreplaceable when it comes to making a lasting impression on potential employers.

So, whether you’re embracing AI for your cover letter writing or in my case writing a blog on using AI to create a cover letter, remember this: AI may be the future, but your unique human touch and creativity will always be the secret sauce that keeps things interesting (and employment secure) in the world of artificial intelligence.

Nāku noa, nā,

Sarah Harland
Regional Manager - Christchurch

With eight years experience helping to shape people’s careers, three in Melbourne, and five with Madison Recruitment, Sarah is now leading the Absolute IT and Madison teams in the Christchurch branch.

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