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Thoughts After Critiquing a Resume and Cover Letter Written by AI

A client recently submitted a resume and cover letter for our resume critique service. Seeking a new job, he created a resume and cover letter to highlight his latest work experience. He wanted a professional to take a look at it and provide feedback before submitting it to a job posting that he was interested in.

AI computer program

As I started reviewing it, I realized that this was not something he had written himself, but instead had been written by a computer. Let's take a look at some of the specifics:

Resume Formatting

The formatting of the resume was pretty good at first glance. It included many of the sections I would include if I was creating a resume for a client: Summary, Skills, Work Experience, and Education. The only thing I felt was missing was a Personal Title or Headline, which is typically included immediately after the contact information.

In general, the spacing on the resume was also done well. There was a good balance of white space and text, making it easy for someone to skim the resume. And, the length was appropriate at 2 pages.

The resume was submitted to me as a PDF, so I brought it into Word to provide my critique. This highlighted a few issues. First, it didn't become a typical Word document, but instead was multiple text boxes. I am not sure if an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) would parse this properly or not. But the rule of thumb regarding an ATS is, you never know what parameters it is using in its scan. It is best to err on the side of caution and use plain text, instead of text boxes.

Second, the text box approach made it very difficult to make updates to the document. Anyone seeking a job will need to tweak their resume each time they apply to a new position, and this would be quite challenging with the template that the AI used.

However, it was not the formatting that made me realize the resume was actually written by AI. I have encountered clunky templates that clients have used in the past. It is why Revision Resume suggests people avoid templates. They often end up causing a headache because they are so difficult to modify.

The giveaway that I knew the resume was not written by my client?

Resume Content

The content is what gave away that the job seeker had not written his own resume. When I first skimmed it, the content appeared quite generic, but that is something we commonly see when we critique resumes. People tend to write a list of job responsibilities, instead of including details that show what they did and the results they achieved. It is one of the main reasons we are hired to craft resumes for clients … the generic version they create on their own doesn't get them called in for an interview. A resume highlighting successes is required instead to capture the attention of the hiring manager.

As I took a closer look, little things began to jump out. For example, some of the bullets under the work experience didn't actually make sense for the type of job the client held. They weren't things a person in that role would actually do. In other words, the AI had gotten it wrong. And, the job seeker hadn't closely read the resume to identify the bullets that were incorrect!

Now, if I had been a hiring manager and looked at this resume, I probably would have found it intriguing at first glance. So, I wouldn't have immediately cast it aside, but would have selected it for a closer reading. But, upon that closer reading, I would have realized that the content literally didn't make sense. At that point, I would have definitely put it on my discard pile and not followed up in any way. A person that doesn't take the time to write a resume that accurately reflects their experience is not worth a hiring manager's time for follow-up!

Cover Letter Formatting

I then turned to the cover letter, whose formatting was good. Unlike my own trial using ChatGPT to write a cover letter (Can I Use ChatGPT to Write My Resume and Cover Letter? Does Revision Resume Use ChatGPT?), this cover letter was only 1 page long and only a few short paragraphs. It was easy to skim.

The two areas of formatting where it fell short were:

  1. The contact information was not formatted in the same way as it was formatted on the resume. The two documents should use the same formatting because that provides consistency and presents you as a professional.

  2. A cover letter is a formal business letter. It should include the address of the company that it is being sent to. Instead, this one included the address of the job seeker and not that of the company.

Cover Letter Content

The AI-generated cover letter was extremely generic. Although it didn't have any incorrect content in it, as the resume did, it didn't really have anything that might entice a hiring manager to look beyond the cover letter and actually read the resume. It provided no specific information about the job seeker, or why they were interested in the role. If I was a hiring manager screening cover letters to decide if I should bother looking at a resume, this one would not have passed the initial evaluation.

Final Thoughts

Although using AI to format and write your resume and cover letter may seem enticing because it will save you time, it is VERY risky. If the result ends up raising a red flag that causes the hiring manager to discard your resume, you will have completely missed the opportunity for a job you were interested in.

At Revision Resume, we don't use AI to format or write our content! We believe that a human being is still better at creating high-quality career documentation to entice a recruiter or hiring manager to want to call the job seeker in for an interview. Contact us today if you would like our assistance!



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What’s Next?  With the Right Resume, the Sky’s the Limit!

The challenge for most job applicants is crafting the right resume. 

Revision Resume is here to help offering the following writing services:

Resume critiques are also offered to those who have already created their own resume but would like a second set of eyes to check for errors and to ensure the document is up to modern standards!

With up-to-the-minute knowledge of the hiring industry, Revision Resume can make sure you are submitting the right resume!

In addition to our blog that is packed with useful information and tips, Revision Resume also offers a monthly newsletter and group educational programs. 

Finally, for the "do-it-yourselfer," we offer a checklist package that helps you ensure you haven't missed any vital details. 


To learn more, contact us.

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