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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

ChatGPT Cover Letter: Prompts and Writing Tips

10 min read
ChatGPT Cover Letter: Prompts and Writing Tips
Generative AI can help us in so many ways. Writing a cover letter is no exception – in this blog we explore just how ChatGPT can optimise your career story.

If you feel like you are lacking creativity when it comes to writing your cover letter, the generative AI capabilities of ChatGPT could help you to tell your career story. While the AI will obviously not be aware of your career story, it can certainly help you to refine how you tell it. 

ChatGPT already writes lots of cover letters. It understands the style of writing and knows the sort of content that should be included. This is a benefit for someone who may not write a cover letter very often, but it is important to edit and improve its output. A cover letter should be a personal sales pitch, after all.

ChatGPT can also offer suggestions for structure and content, making sure your cover letter adheres to best practices and stands out to employers. It can assist in brainstorming unique value propositions and achievements, making your application memorable. Its ability to provide instant feedback allows for rapid iteration, ensuring your cover letter is polished and impactful.

In this blog, we explore the process of writing a ChatGPT cover letter. We consider:

  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Benefits of using AI to write a cover letter
  • How to write a ChatGPT cover letter
  • Cover letter prompt writing
  • Risks with a ChatGPT cover letter.

Lean into ChatGPT to enhance your creativity. After all, you do not have to accept what it suggests for you. Its perspective may prompt you to make that crucial change.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an advanced language model developed by OpenAI, designed to understand and generate human-like text based on the input it receives. Utilizing the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture, it's capable of engaging in conversations, answering questions, and even creating content ranging from essays to poetry. 

The model is trained on a diverse dataset, enabling it to respond to a wide array of topics. ChatGPT's ability to generate coherent and contextually relevant text makes it a powerful tool in AI-driven communication, content creation, and more, constantly improving as it learns from interactions and feedback.

When everything that you write looks and sounds the same, ChatGPT can help you to tailor thoughtful and individual cover letters for each role.

The benefits of using AI to write your cover letter

If the idea of leveraging AI for content creation seems daunting, you're not alone. ChatGPT still does not have the best reputation for creating compelling “human” content. Having said this, sprinkling the following strategies into your cover letter writing could give you that marginal gain that your application needs. Every job search is time-pressured – using generative AI can take the strain. 

Keep the process simple. The reality is that job searching often involves crafting more cover letters than anticipated. Starting each one from scratch is time-consuming, which might limit the number of applications. Embracing ChatGPT for this task could dramatically increase your efficiency.

Revise your story. The ease of editing and revising with ChatGPT might lead you to refine your professional narrative more than expected. That isn’t a bad thing. If a phrase or sentence doesn't quite capture your essence, AI can suggest numerous alternatives, helping you construct a compelling narrative tailored to each job application.

Change the structures. ChatGPT's exposure to various cover letter formats allows it to offer numerous templates. This flexibility enables you to find the perfect format without the hassle you might encounter with human feedback. Only you know when something looks right – and you don’t have to come up with the alternatives yourself.

Brainstorm when it counts. We've all experienced sudden bursts of inspiration without the means to jot them down. With ChatGPT, your smartphone becomes a digital notepad, allowing you to explore and store ideas wherever you are, ready to be polished when you're back at your desk.

How to write a ChatGPT cover letter

Using ChatGPT is fairly simple, so we’ll get into the specifics of how to use it to improve your cover letter writing process. How do you use it to tailor your application to the role, while at the same time retaining your unique voice? Here are a few suggestions around how to approach the task:

Feed it with worthy material

What you put into ChatGPT dictates what you get out. If ChatGPT is going to do a decent job of writing a cover letter, you first must decide which parts of your career story you wish to tell. You can certainly give it the job description and ask it to summarise the most important skills and attributes for the role, but you are the expert in terms of your own story. 

Cut down your resume to the essential aspects that illustrate your fit and then go from there. Once you have enough to share, it can get to work on giving you options. Never accept its first attempt – it is designed to evolve with your preferences.

Give ChatGPT a framework

ChatGPT works best when you give it some parameters to follow. Do your research in terms of how you would like your cover letter to be structured. This may entail reading cover letter examples to develop your own opinion. You can either dictate a structure or ask ChatGPT to copy the structure from your chosen example. 

Cover letters are generally split into paragraphs that can contain different aspects of your career story, so it is easy to work on each part independently. ChatGPT is particularly proficient at writing bullet points – which is certainly useful for a cover letter.

Experiment with alternatives

If a certain turn of phrase doesn't quite resonate, feel free to turn to ChatGPT for a variety of alternatives. It's helpful to articulate the specific tone you're aiming for and consider providing a snippet of your writing as a reference to guide the model's suggestions. 

For a more tailored experience, you might experiment with adjusting the model's creativity settings, such as requesting it to generate content at a temperature setting of 0.7 and then trying 0.9. This will not only show you the range of possibilities but also allow you to gauge the subtle differences in the level of creativity and risk-taking in the language used, helping you find the perfect balance for your needs.

Mirror the culture fit

The tone of your cover letter should convey to the hiring manager that you're a natural fit for their team. Leverage ChatGPT to analyse the company's online presence, including their website, social media, and promotional content. This will create the subconscious impression that you are “one of them.”

Request it to identify recurring words or phrases characteristic of their communication style. Integrating a few of these into your cover letter can subtly align your application with the company's culture. It will certainly demonstrate that you have done your research.

Cover letter prompt writing ideas

When writing a cover letter, it is important to remember that ChatGPT is a partner. The ideas and final language choices should be yours. During a stressful job search there is always a risk that time-pressure will lead to ineffective content, but it is really worth perfecting your ChatGPT process. Coming up with the perfect prompt may take longer than writing the content yourself, but the quality of outcome will be that bit better.

Prompt writing is not unlike the creative journey that your brain undertakes when it needs to come up with an ideal sentence. Simply offer ChatGPT everything that it needs to produce the desired result. 

Here are a few prompts that may lead to breakthrough ideas:

  1. “Create an opening statement for my cover letter that captures my enthusiasm for the position and aligns with the company's mission, as outlined on their website."
  2. "Generate a concise closing paragraph that reiterates my interest in the role and invites further discussion. Mention my willingness to bring X skillset to solve the company's current challenges."
  3. "Formulate a paragraph that discusses my collaborative skills and ability to work in a team, using specific examples from Project X in my previous role."
  4. "Craft three sentences that showcase my adaptability and continuous learning in the face of industry changes. Reference my involvement in X initiative."
  5. "Develop a section that ties my passion for community engagement to the company's well-known corporate social responsibility efforts. Highlight my volunteer experience with X."
  6. "Construct a narrative that highlights my innovative thinking by discussing how I contributed to X project, leading to X improvement in efficiency."

When writing prompts, it is important to set limits with word counts and number of sentences. You can always ask the generative AI to give you other options if you are not happy. You can also ask it to write in a certain writing style to change things up.

Experiment with the language until you are satisfied. 

Risks of creating a ChatGPT cover letter

While AI detectors are rare in the recruitment process, you should take care to retain your own unique voice as you write the cover letter. Here are a few risks of using ChatGPT:

  • Using ChatGPT for cover letters might result in content that's too generic, making it difficult for your application to stand out among a sea of candidates.
  • There's a risk that ChatGPT could misunderstand your instructions or the nuances of the job description, leading to a cover letter that misses the mark.
  • While ChatGPT can mimic a wide range of writing styles, it might not fully capture the unique essence of your personal experiences.
  • Over-reliance on ChatGPT for crafting cover letters could impede the development of your own writing skills – that will inevitably develop during your job search.

ChatGPT is a fantastic tool, but don’t rely on it without sense checking the output.

Key takeaways

If your application is going to stand out, it will be relevant to the role. ChatGPT can save you time and help you to tailor each individual application. It is not cheating if everyone else is doing it. Your task is to use ChatGPT more effectively than your competition.

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