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  • Writer's pictureEllen Gardner

Looks like magic

Last week on LinkedIn I read a ‘how to’ piece on writing a cover letter using the AI tool ChatGPT. The process seemed remarkably easy, starting with putting this simple instruction into the chat box: ‘Write me a personalized cover letter explaining why I’m a great candidate for this job (name of company and job description)’. Voila, a first draft is created.

From that point, you continue to tweak the letter asking it to use metrics from your resume or action-oriented language. In just a few minutes you’ve got a passable cover letter.

Sounds like magic right?

In many ways it is. The tool is receiving a flurry of press because of how far the technology has advanced in creating original copy. If you have to write the same kind of text over and over again with minor variations, this tool could be the answer to your dreams.

You might reject this device on principle (like I did in the beginning), but it’s here and is going to enter all our lives in some way. If you are inclined to try it, understand that as with all technology, there are drawbacks and unintended consequences. My thoughts on this tool will undoubtedly change as it continues to evolve, but here are some ideas on how to use it now and not lose your own creative voice:

• The tool is not a good fact-checker – it relies on previously published information, some of which is not true. Consider what it spits out critically and always verify the information.

• Tools like ChatGPT don’t use original information, they just repurpose existing content. With your writing you can go deeper – do interviews, do primary research, use quotes. The tool can’t replace you when you’re creating original content.

• One writer advises using ChatGPT as a ‘light assist’ which I think is great advice. It can be useful for people whose native language is not English or to correct grammatical errors. It’s great at converting passive voice into active voice sentences. But it cannot insert your original, human voice.

If the technology takes the pain away from writing that excruciating cover letter, go for it. But don’t blindly trust this new tool. People still want to read truthful, interesting content that only you can write.

Have you tried using ChatGPT? Tell me about your experience and I’ll share it with the group.

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