TIPS & MYTHS

AI AND RÉSUMÉS

 

Here’s what I’ve seen and concluded, so far, about AI for résumés.

• Employers will know that you used AI to write your résumé. They will know it because of obvious defects in your résumé. They will not look forward to working through the defects.

• Garbage in, garbage out. AI knows only what you think to tell it. AI will not ask you questions to clarify the information, as a good human résumé writer will do. Still less will it ask you questions to find information that you didn’t think to provide. (Still less will it spend two or three hours in the phone with you, digging for information, before it starts writing, as I do.)

• Garbage in, garbage out. It’s up to you to tell the AI program what to do: what sort of structure, emphasis, etc., you want. Do you actually know what to tell it? If you do, you’ve somehow acquired a knowledge of résumé issues that even many commercial résumé writers don’t possess.

• Informed opinion on AI résumés is that the raw results are quite poor. It’s possible to send the résumé back to the AI system with requests for revisions, but the requests, to be effective, have to be specific—and your ability to make the right requests is limited by your knowledge. You’ll have to spend some time thinking about them. Also, AI’s ability to interpret your requests will be as limited as it was the first time around.

To make the résumé that AI gives you into a presentable and effective résumé, you will need to spend a fair of time and effort to work it over completely. And it still will have problems unless you’re a skilled editor, in which case you could have written it yourself with much less trouble. Or you could hire an editor, who will probably want to ask you a number of questions in order to do the job right. And who might not know much about the special requirements of résumés.

Or, of course, you could hire a résumé writer to re-work your AI résumé. The AI résumé you hand him to work with won’t be any better than the résumés people handed him in the past, pre-AI, so don’t expect a discount.

• AI has not proved to be a threat to skilled and knowledgeable résumé writers. If it has cut a big swath through the industry, that’s because so many résumé writers were not, in fact, skilled and knowledgeable. The ones who dropped out were the ones who couldn’t do much better than AI can, and who still had to charge a lot more than AI operations in order to stay in business and feed a human being.

What’s left are 1) the truly professional-minded, 2) the more plausible-looking mediocrities, who have to work harder than they used to, 3) the bottom-of-the barrel operations, even tackier and cheaper than before because they use AI, and 4) the big résumé mills that live on massive “social-media marketing” (that is, phony posts), just like spammers and scammers. (They also manipulate or pay “influencers” and big media outlets to endorse them—just like the really big-time scammers do in other fields.)

(For more on this, see The Résumé Business In General: Cheap Résumés, Small Practices, and Résumé Mills; Price/Value and Size Realities in the Résumé Business; and Why Résumé Services Are Not All Even Approximately The Same.)

• In sum: AI really is pretty amazing. I’ll never forget the first time I saw a sample of AI-generated writing: A machine did that!!!! I was amazed, but not scared. As with Samuel Johnson’s dancing dog, what is amazing is not that it dances well—it doesn’t; it dances comically—but that it dances at all. It would not be a good partner at a ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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