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We Delve Into the Vibrant Landscape of Gen Z Overusing ChatGPT in Cover Letters

an old-school typewriter

*headline note, ChatGPT didn’t write that. But it could have.

Let’s talk about cover letters. I’ve always been a fan but that’s because I write for a living so pounding out 400 fluffed-up words is nothing to me. For the non-linguists out there, it’s in competition with the 90-minute assessment test for the worst part of the job hunt.

“It’s the same pressure I feel when writing an online dating profile, only this time nobody’s horny.”

Work Sucks, I Know — Rob Alderson lampoons the dreaded Cover Letter

Enter ChatGPT. Finally, humanity’s cover letter problems are solved. Or are they?

CNBC’s Make It published a little something on Monday that says the younguns are getting busted using AI because all the cover letters are the same:

Shoshana Davis, a Gen Z career expert and founder of the career consultancy Fairy Job Mother, told CNBC Make It in an interview that the generation (generally defined as those born between 1996 and 2012) have become too reliant on AI tools like ChatGPT to generate cover letters and job application answers.

“So I speak to businesses and employers who hire anything from like 10 to 1000s of Gen Z every year,” Davis said. “And one of the main challenges that I’m seeing at the moment is the use of AI, specifically ChatGPT, and it’s not being used in the right way, and it’s not being used effectively.”

Davis explained that “employers are getting hundreds of the exact same cover letters word for word,” or answers to job application questions that are the same, and suspect that ChatGPT use is in play.

Although we haven’t heard of a similar official stance on our side of the Atlantic, The Telegraph reported just last month that Big 4 firms have “banned” the use of AI in the job application process.

Big Four accountants have warned applicants not to use AI to complete applications or online assessments during the hiring process.

Job hunters applying to KPMG and Deloitte must now confirm they have finished online tests without external tools such as AI.

PwC said it is reviewing applications to check for activity, which “undermines the integrity” of its recruitment operation and will take action against rule breakers.

BDO took it a step further and is using “plagiarism checkers” to sniff out AI responses.

For now, there’s no fool-proof AI detector and even OpenAI says in an educator FAQ that asking ChatGPT if it wrote something will get you whatever answer it feels like giving you with “no basis in fact”:

ChatGPT has no “knowledge” of what content could be AI-generated or what it generated. It will sometimes make up responses to questions like “did you write this [essay]?” or “could this have been written by AI?” These responses are random and have no basis in fact.

With that said, ChatGPT does tend to have a linguistic watermark. I asked it for a list of its most-used words and, after it initially spit out a joke list with words like the, a, an, and, or, and of like a real asshole, it gave me a real list when prompted correctly.

  • Tapestry
  • Delve
  • Intriguing
  • Insight
  • Paradigm
  • Spectrum
  • Nuance
  • Profound
  • Venture
  • Dimension
  • Noteworthy
  • Plausible
  • Expound
  • Eloquent
  • Ambiguous
  • Conundrum
  • Enigmatic
  • Illustrative
  • Ubiquitous
  • Ponder
  • Allude
  • Albeit
  • Juxtaposition
  • Amidst
  • Embark

These are just 25 examples of words ChatGPT likes to use and for all we know it made that list up too. It really does love the word delve though.

When it comes to cover letters, no one is expecting you to throw heaps of complicated words around like James Joyce, you don’t need ChatGPT to insert unnecessary juxtapositions and paradigms. Be more like Hemingway and you’ll be fine.

Or say fuck it and use ChatGPT anyway. What are they going to do, not hire everyone?

2 thoughts on “We Delve Into the Vibrant Landscape of Gen Z Overusing ChatGPT in Cover Letters

  1. If employers are using AI to scan cover letters and resumes for qualified candidates then I think it’s fair game for those seeking employment to utilize AI as a tool as well. It’s efficient and AI scripting is a new skill to hone into and develop.

  2. Workers who are so eager to use AI remind me of the cashiers at the grocery store who encourage me to use the self-checkout line.

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