Using an artificial intelligence tool to write your résumé could give you an edge in the job market. According to a recent working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, job seekers who received “algorithmic writing assistance” to help them craft their résumés were 8% more likely to get hired than those who didn’t use this tool.
The study involved nearly 500,000 job seekers in 2021, and the AI assistance was particularly helpful for job seekers who were at the bottom of the spelling distribution, or those with more misspellings. The AI tool provided feedback about spelling, grammar, and word usage to help job seekers improve their résumés.
Emma van Inwegen, a PhD candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management and one of the paper’s authors, said that if two people with identical skill sets and histories have better writing on their résumé, the person with better writing is more likely to get hired. This suggests that employers do care about résumé writing.
While the paper didn’t study ChatGPT specifically, the findings suggest that using AI in the job application process could give some candidates an advantage. Since launching in November, ChatGPT has taken the world by storm, reaching over 100 million users by the end of January. Some workers are exploring ways they can make their lives easier by using AI tools to assist with résumés and cover letter writing.
However, if millions of job seekers begin using AI tools to craft their résumés, it may get harder to stand out. If everyone starts using ChatGPT on their cover letters and résumés, employers will no longer be able to use writing quality to try to understand something about the worker who applied. This could ultimately “ruin” writing as a signal of job performance, and companies may begin to value strong writing skills less when parsing through candidates.
The researchers found that in the short-term, the best writers may continue to have an edge in their applications. But as these technologies improve and more people adopt them, AI writing assistance could homogenize writing in cover letters and on résumés, making it easier for employers to ascertain which workers would be a good fit.
While this new AI-assisted world may make things more difficult for job seekers, the researchers found that employers may not be any worse off when it comes to hiring right now. Even though the use of AI tools may have obscured some candidates’ writing abilities, they found “no evidence that employers were less satisfied” with the candidates they ultimately hired.
This suggests that some companies may be limiting their candidate pool more than they need to, and the wider use of AI tools could help businesses that are experiencing hiring woes and need help finding talent. If you increase the quality of the writing in résumés, employers should be able to find more workers who can do the job they’re looking for.