Sorting through hundreds of applications for that most coveted role of Senior Network Engineer, you've found three candidates that fit the bill.
All have the relevant experience, yet:
- the first submitted just a resume;
- the second - an impersonal cover letter, solely written by the likes of an AI (e.g. ChatGPT);
- the third candidate has taken the time to study your organization and to align it with their unique skill set.
Highlighting that all three candidates have the same amount of experience...
...wouldn't a well-written cover letter sort of bias you to choose the one that shows the most care (and in some cases - enthusiasm) toward the job and company?
If you're applying for a job, hear us out!
The cover letter isn't just a professional narrative, but the greatest asset to demonstrate your:
- unique value and how your skills match the job;
- interest in the company and role;
- confidence in your abilities.
Your cover letter allows you to shape how your potential employers see your experience. It further highlights what you want them to remember from your resume.
The choice of writing a cover letter is entirely up to you.
But here's where an ethical question comes in.
What if you simply can't write your cover letter (and can't afford to hire an experienced cover letter writer to help you out)?
Would using ChatGPT to your advantage be counted as "cheating"?
Is it ethical to use ChatGPT to write your cover letter?
You've probably been living under a rock for the past six months or so if you haven't heard of ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer).
The free language model can supposedly do anything: from debugging codes to pointing out interesting destinations around you.
ChatGPT works as so: you write a prompt (a well-formulated, clear, and concise question or instructions). Within a few seconds, the AI chatbot provides you with a response to your query.
What is more, candidates have been using ChatGPT to restructure their resumes, prepare for interviews, and even write cover letters.
This guide will precisely focus on giving you the know-how of using ChatGPT for your cover letter with:
- Beginners luck: six structures to get to know the writing process;
- The most concise cover letter writing prompt;
- How to align your cover letter to the job;
- More advanced ChatGPT writing prompts for separate cover letter sections;
- Matching the style of the job advert to your cover letter…
… and so much more!
To answer the ethics question of writing a cover letter with ChatGPT, we’ve found a viral story for you.
One that presents you with the biggest “don’t”. Ever.
How not to write a cover letter with ChatGPT
Mandy Tang, a career coach and business owner, was sorting through job applications when she stumbled across a cover letter that covered every single one of her requirements.
Tang decided to check with ChatGPT what the case was. She pasted in her job advert and told the chatbot to write a cover letter for it.
ChatGPT then regurgitated her requirements: word for word.
So, here's the moral of the story.
Six cover letter structures to experiment with
How do you differentiate a well-written cover letter from a generic one?
The truth is that excellent cover letters are like diamonds in the rough.
Candidates use them to tell quick stories without diving too much into the nitty-gritty details.
Cover letters' main purpose is to catch recruiters' interests by finding the balance between:
- dedicated cover letter space and filler words/ language;
- key skills or achievements without repeating candidate resumes;
- showing authentic interest in the role while highlighting job keywords;
- being specific and personable, yet ticking all the requirement boxes by allowing recruiters to imagine what the candidates' potential would be if they joined the company.
Attaining that level of perfection in cover letter writing sometimes seems impossible.
Here's where the role of ChatGPT comes in.
To kick off this cover letter/ChatGPT writing exercise, we've prepared six structures for you to experiment with.
The end goal is evident: for you to find the one that matches both your experience and the organization you're applying for best.
Without further ado, discover the:
Standardized cover letter prompt
The structure outline commences with a paragraph, where you'd introduce yourself, mention the role you're applying for, and how you've learned about it.
The next paragraph would focus on how you can help the company grow.
Sign off with a paragraph about how excited you are for the role and/or company, and thank hiring managers for their time.
Here's the prompt to get you writing:
ChatGPT would next provide you with a template cover letter that follows this structure, which you could edit.
But to go one step further, paste in your resume:
Of course, this isn't the final version of your cover letter. You'll need to tweak the role you're applying for. But it's a pretty good starting point.
2. Best candidate structure
This cover letter structure is more focused on the specific job you’d be applying for and showcasing to recruiters why they should choose you.
Next, paste in your resume and the job advert itself to get a more personalized cover letter for the role.
The first cover letter ChatGPT produced was a bit too long.
That’s why we asked the chatbot to shorten the cover letter using this prompt:
What do you think of ChatGPT’s final writing:
This is one of the most exciting cover letter outlines out there. Yet, the cover letter is an exercise of focusing more on skill alignment and the organization you’re applying for, than yourself.
Now, it’s story time!
The prompt we’ve provided you with is a bit generic. If you want to go for the gold:
- jot down a few details for ChatGPT about the storyline you want to tell with your experience;
- focus on an industry-wide challenge that you’ve overcome via your experience;
- think about the narrative which would impress recruiters the most and include it in the prompt.
Feel free to edit and add to this ChatGPT prompt, so that your cover letter turns into a real modern-day professional fairy tale.
This framework allows you to present to potential employers your problem-solving skills from the get-go.
It's a very good one for more technical roles.
Here's the prompt you could use:
After a shortener prompt, here’s the final result that ChatGPT produced:
This structure is one of the most prominent and useful ones for you. It’d focus on a tailored sales pitch to the role you’re applying for.
It provides you with a very structured and easy-to-read end result:
These six structures are a good starting point for writing your cover letter. Of course, the more personalized prompts you provide to ChatGPT, the better the end results would be.
You’d ultimately need to tweak the text - here and there - but this chatbot provides you with excellent food for thought.
Moving on, within the next part of our guide, we’ll look at how the chatbot could help you write more specific cover letter sections.
How to use ChatGPT for cover letter writing
The full prompt experience
Okay, so maybe you're struggling with the whole cover letter writing process and need help asap from ChatGPT.
Once again, this is your reminder not to solely rely on technology to write your cover letter. Instead, use it as a starting point to get writing.
Here's a very useful prompt for you.
Once again, make sure to include all the relevant items in the job advert.
Here's what ChatGPT came up with:
It's a pretty good effort, but if you're writing a cover letter, you need to go above and beyond.
That means as a rule of thumb, you can surely take what ChatGPT has written for you. But you need to personalize it further to show your character and what makes you stand out.
Aligning resume and job advert
The cursor has been blinking like crazy for the past 20 minutes in your Word document. Looking down at the status bar, the word count is still zero.
You have so much you want to say about yourself, the job, and the company. Yet, your mind is like that blank page in front of you.
From where do you start writing your cover letter?
The first stage of the process is research.
The best candidates don't just go on and on about how skillful they are in Python and/or C++.
But rather - their cover letters show recruiters how their visions and the company's ones for the future align.
This is one of the most useful ChatGPT prompts to get you writing: discovering how your resume answers the company's pain points.
The experience-job advert alignment prompt
Here's the prompt we've used:
Once you get the good to go from ChatGPT, it's time to paste your resume.
ChatGPT has a bad tendency to fill in the gaps by fabricating any missing information. So, make sure you've pasted in all the information that's relevant to your application.
Next, you have to paste in the job advert. Once again, the more information you can provide to ChatGPT, the better the assessment will be.
We've provided the Senior Business Intelligence Analyst role in full by including:
- Key responsibilities
- Proven characteristics for success
- Personal traits
- Qualifications (both the must-have and the preferred ones)
- Any additional information (about both the company and its offer to candidates)
Asking ChatGPT if the role suits your experience is always a good idea. Here’s what the chatbot told us about Andrew Clark’s resume:
Find out more about the chatbot's assessment.
It started listing all the crucial requirements for the role that align with the candidate's experience. Those included:
- data analysis
- visualization skills
- collecting requirements
- defining reporting standards
- creating dashboards.
Into the specifics, ChatGPT looked into technical skills that it recommends being integrated within the cover letter.
Technical skills that matched the Senior Business Intelligence Analyst role are:
- dealing with large datasets;
- building advanced dashboards with BI tools (e.g. Tableau Desktop);
- data modeling experience;
- SQL and/or Python;
- experience with ETL (e.g. Alteryx).
ChatGPT didn't disappoint with key soft skills either.
The main ones it told us to focus on (based on priority):
- working collaboratively to develop reliable, robust, and self-serve reporting;
- curiosity and passion for learning;
- ability to see the big picture;
- operating with a bias toward action and ownership;
- ability to build lasting and meaningful relationships;
- commitment to quality;
- cultural awareness.
BONUS alignment prompt
Next, we decided to dive deeper into the skills' alignment with this prompt:
ChatGPT wanted us to focus on these four crucial areas to land the job:
- Data analysis and modeling: preparing budgets, variance analysis, identifying collaboration opportunities, and data modeling (data and platform integrations).
- Reporting and visualization: creating dashboards and reports; BI tools (e.g. Tableau Desktop).
- Collaboration and communication: working across functions, leadership, and communication across the board.
- Technical skills: SQL, Python, ETL tools.
One final tip from ChatGPT:
ChatGPT could help you start writing your cover letter with ideas of areas you can focus on.
Using ChatGPT to write various sections of your cover letter
What if you happen to have some experience in cover letter writing and just want to improve your cover letter?
ChatGPT is the perfect assistant that can do that for you.
This next section of our guide is specifically for those more advanced writers. It'll show you how to tailor individual cover letter sections.
Ultimately allowing you to have more control over what ChatGPT writes, while injecting more of your personal style.
Use these prompts to tweak individual sections of your cover letter.
Cover letter introduction and first paragraph
You could use ChatGPT to help you write about…
Something that impressed you about the company
Within the prompt, mention the role you're applying for and the company. You could also specify the tone of voice and your cover letter introduction length.
Here’s an effective prompt and cover letter introduction by ChatGPT:
A former colleague that referred you to this job
Referencing a colleague is a great starting point for building authentic trust between recruiters and yourself.
Apart from the generic details about the role you're applying for, you could also provide ChatGPT with instructions about
- words it needs to avoid;
- tone of voice;
- introduction length;
- projects you've collaborated on with your former colleague;
- give recognition to the colleague that recommended you.
Check out this prompt:
This is a great starting point, but you'll need to fill in all relevant details.
Your motivations for applying to this job
Perhaps you'd like to start the cover letter with some information about your interest in the role.
ChatGPT can help you restructure your thoughts (and subsequently interest) with this prompt:
A great achievement
In some cases, you'll want to kick off your cover letter with one of your greatest achievements.
Style it up with ChatGPT:
Maybe the most impressive item of your career is that national award you won last year, recognizing your contributions to string theory research. Or, perhaps, your client feedback remains at a steady AVG of 98%.
Kick off your cover letter with this "newsworthy" ChatGPT prompt:
Cover letters are usually about alignment between individuals and the company they’re applying for.
Stating how your ambitions and vision for the future correspond with the company’s ones can open many doors for you.
All of these six prompts can help you sort the information that you’d like to talk about.
But don’t solely rely on ChatGPT - you have all the talents and skills to present yourself.
Middle paragraphs of your cover letter
Now that you have the intro written, it's time to look at the body of your cover letter.
What these middle paragraphs aim to show is:
- that you've done your homework about the company;
- that you have the relevant skills and experience;
- how you'll help the company succeed, based on your past successes.
Here are three useful prompts you can tailor and experiment with.
1. The research prompt
You know the company; you love the company. What is more, the role you're applying for is precisely what you're looking for.
Want to formulate this more professionally in the body of your cover letter?
2. Highlighting relevant skills, qualifications, and experience
This is one of the biggest questions recruiters are looking to have answered while reading your cover letter:
Do you have the right skills for the job, right now?
ChatGPT can help you communicate this across:
When listing this prompt, be specific about the key skill requirements and your experience.
If you want to go above and beyond, you could paste in your resume and the job advert, as we did in the previous sections of this guide.
The new prompt would follow the style of that above and end with something along the lines of:
Once you get the “good-to-go” from ChatGPT, paste in all relevant information and watch the magic happen right before your eyes.
The future is the ultimate sales pitch of your experience.
Rather than focusing just on your strengths, you’d present recruiters with what they’d ultimately get if they hire you.
Ending of a cover letter and ChatGPT
One of the best ways to end your cover letter is with a promise.
Either of what you'd bring to the table or how this opportunity would help you grow.
Here are the best two prompts you can use to finish off your cover letter with a snap:
Edit your cover letter writing style with this ChatGPT prompt
This is one of the greatest prompts of all time - let’s say you’ve your cover letter is already complete, but you’re applying to a smaller company.
You’d need to fix the language to sound more easily accessible to the recruiters.
ChatGPT can do that for you:
You’d next provide your cover letter:
And in just a few seconds, you’d receive:
Including as much as possible from the relevant information would really help ChatGPT tailor and re-write your cover letter.
Three different cover letters based on seniority
Of course, we can’t end this guide without providing you with a few more concrete examples of using ChatGPT to write your cover letter.
So here’s what we were able to produce with the help of the chatbot for
Entry-Level Candidate Cover Letter Example
Mid-Career Level Cover Letter
C-Level Exectuve Cover Letter
- Prepare all relevant information in advance (that includes both your resume and the job advert) before you start writing with ChatGPT. Remember - the more information you can provide the chatbot with, the more personalized the end results will be.
- Experiment with ChatGPT cover letter writing: the best structure (or final letter) is the one that sounds the most like you while covering the company requirements.
- Use ChatGPT as a starting point - always double-check and tweak its outputs before applying for a role.
- Cover letters are mainly about alignment between your experience and vision to the role you’re applying for. ChatGPT can help you discover all of these patterns that are integral to a successful cover letter.
- ChatGPT can help you to write various sections of your cover letter (introduction, middle paragraphs, and ending), but also match the style of your text to the company’s one.