Writing your résumé with AI makes it easier to find a job, a study finds. But this edge could vanish once everybody's doing it.


A recent working
 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that using an AI tool to write a résumé could give applicants a competitive edge when applying for a job. This is based on the findings of a field experiment conducted with nearly 500,000 job seekers in 2021. It was found that those who received algorithmic writing assistance for their résumés, which included feedback on spelling, grammar, and word usage, had an 8% higher chance of being hired compared to those who did not use this tool. According to Emma van Inwegen, one of the paper's authors, if two people apply with the same skill sets and history, the one with a better writing on their résumé will be more likely to secure the job. The AI assistance was especially beneficial to job seekers who had more misspellings in their résumés. 

The research, while not conducted on ChatGPT specifically, implies that using AI in the job application process can give candidates an edge over others. However, if AI tools like ChatGPT become increasingly popular, it may become more difficult to stand out. This is because, according to van Inwegen, if everyone uses ChatGPT, employers will no longer be able to use writing quality to assess applicants, as everyone's résumé will have gone through the same algorithmic checker. In this sense, the use of AI tools could lead to a homogenization of writing in cover letters and résumés, for better or for worse.

The use of AI in writing applications could potentially weaken the signal of a job candidate's quality in the short term. However, as AI tools continue to improve, job seekers may find it difficult to showcase their writing skills in order to stand out from other candidates. Despite this, the researchers found that employers may not be worse off when it comes to hiring. In fact, their results suggest that the wider use of AI tools could help businesses that have issues recruiting the right talent. It is possible that employers are limiting their candidate pool more than they need to and increasing the quality of writing in applications could help them find the right people for the job.

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