AI: Resumes and Cover Letters

Your resume provides a snapshot of your professional experience which allows employers to quickly assess your qualifications. Your cover letter conveys your interest in an organization, showcases your strength as a writer, and makes the argument that you are a fit for the position.

These documents should authentically represent who you are and what you have to offer. To this end, generative AI can be a useful tool in the editing process. For example, it can help you brainstorm revisions to bullet points, incorporate keywords gleaned from a job description, or otherwise improve what you already have. Generative AI should not be the primary author—not least because its output will likely be very generic.

See below for some advice on using generative AI for resumes and cover letters. For more on this topic, see the MCS resume guide relevant for your population, and schedule an appointment with an MCS advisor. 


  • Start with your draft. Begin with your existing resume or as many details as you can pull together from your past experiences, including the impact you had in the role, relevant numbers, etc. Enter this information in the prompt section by section or bullet by bullet for precise insights or adjustments.  
  • Know your audience. Tailor your resume to the specific role you’re applying for. Consider what that employer is looking for specifically, in case it differs from more general industry resume guidance.  
  • Use generated text as a potential edit, not as a final product. Adjust the language in AI-generated text to fit your needs, and ensure it is an accurate and authentic depiction of your experience and accomplishments.  Carefully consider all suggestions instead of implementing them without thought.
  • Know your documents. Be able to speak to every line of your resume if asked in an interview. Read it aloud to catch repetitions or inaccuracies.  
  • Optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems. It is no secret that many employers, especially those which receive a high number of applications, use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes and cover letters for certain keywords or phrases. Resume optimization tools may help you understand the persona you are conveying to employers through your resume. Some strategies we recommend are using basic formatting, explicitly listing your skills, and including keywords from the job description. 
  • Privacy caution: Don’t share personal or proprietary data when using generative AI.   

Cover Letters: 

  • Know what the employer is looking for. Insert the full job description in the generative AI tool and prompt it for a list of top skills and expertise needed for the position. 
  • Include specific examples. Input your resume content into the tool to ask for examples from your background that might demonstrate those skills. Keep in mind that you may have examples that are not included in your resume, so take a moment first to come up with your own ideas. Then, add to the content generated so that it conveys your story.
  • Get feedback. Ask for ideas on how to improve a cover letter once you’ve written it, inserting the cover letter you’ve drafted and the job description and prompting the tool to answer, “Does this letter convey my ability to add value to the company?” Ask for grammar suggestions, in the same way you would with Grammarly or other tools.
  • Make it your own. Read the letter aloud. Does it make a strong case (with specific and accurate examples from your background) that you are a fit for the position? Is it in your voice and authentic to you? Is it well-written? 
  • Follow organization guidelines. Read all application instructions, as some organizations may have rules about whether AI can be used in preparing application materials. 

Example prompts:   

  • Taking the role of a recruiter for [insert company/industry name], provide feedback on this resume [insert content] for this job description [insert job description text].
  • Based on this job description [insert job description], generate 5 suggestions for improving this bullet point [insert bullet point]. 
  • When crafting a resume for the position of [insert role/job description], what are five things a career counselor would suggest I include?
  • How can I incorporate these skillsets and experience [insert keywords] into this resume experience description [insert bullets] for this position [insert job description]? 
  • I am applying for the position of [insert title/company name] and I want to highlight my skills and experience in [insert field of expertise]. Provide some ideas of ways I could improve my resume. 
  • What are some great active verbs for [insert job title] resumes?