Words to the Wise

October 8, 2023

Is AI up to the job of resume writing? – October 8, 2023

In a recent article published on lithub.com, author Naomi Baron explains, “AI has no drive to better people’s lives, impart what it is thinking, or convey emotion.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Generative text applications like ChatGPT don’t aim for greatness in every word. Rather, they comb through every word out there for greatness; then, largely settle for a certain style of sameness. Consistently free from grammatical errors, but not necessarily from mistakes in facts and figures. These AI hallucinations arise out of a modeling glitch that produces sentence patterns without applying extra checks for accuracy.

Something that’s job #1 for AI’s human counterparts.

Emotionally and intellectually invested in every word

Truth told, the AI shortcut holds promise, but also the potential of a largely misguided detour. Because chatbots are trained on mass quantities of data, they have certain advantages in parsing it into tangible blocks of text. So, AI scores pretty well when looking back at a work history and making sense of it. Yet, it falls well short when the goal is creating a forward-thinking document like a resume.

By contrast, the best human writers think deeply about the words they use. A favorite passage in Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer, as cited by Baron, puts it best:

“Writing…[is] done one word at a time, one punctuation mark at a time. It require[s] what a friend called ‘putting every word on trial for its life’: changing an adjective, cutting a phrase, removing a comma, and putting the comma back.”

That kind of attention to detail remains the intellectual property of actual imagination. Looking for clues to emulate style and embody meaning on behalf of a real person isn’t something that AI does; it’s something that real people do in reworking resume copy word-by-word.

Here are a few takeaways on the subject:

  • Writing is personal. Searching for the right words trains the mind to think and to express ourselves in written form. And yet, there’s a real risk of losing that ability when we cede the struggle to AI.

  • Writing is nuanced. The mental dialogue writers engage in is what creates the subtleties in language that set one applicant apart from another. In the AI version, it’s just algorithms talking to other algorithms.

  • Writing is human. Putting an idea put to paper—then reading and revising it—as many times as it takes until it’s the best it can be is a uniquely human behavior. For now, AI’s imitation hardly amounts to flattery.

AI can tell you what came before, but not what comes next

At Resume Professors, we often talk about how a resume is a living, breathing document. The work itself is always in progress, so long as there’s a career in motion with hopes of advancing within it.

Should you need you a rewrite from scratch or an update at some point down the line, we’re always up to the job.

No chatbot required.

Just a chat.

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