AI Motivational Letters, Oh My

Back in the States we dropped motivational letters/cover letters almost entirely, and certainly entirely in IT. I hated them 25 years ago as useless boilerplate fluff, and hate them even more today. So it was with much dread that I realized I'd have to put one together to help solve my current joblessness problem.

I was whining like a spoiled child about it (yeah, I know, grow up. I'm doing my best.) and my wife suggested I get help from ChatGPT.


Not only did the task go from a dreadful waste of time and energy to a great deal of fun... ...but using ChatGPT for the first time in a serious manner was incredibly useful, particularly for doing something I really dislike. Also, AI's potential is terrifying.

I do suggest to others though, if you do this, make alterations to the product of ChatGPT (or whatever AI product you choose) otherwise it may be discoverable that you cheated.

Cheated? You are just showing potential employers how clever you are!

Hahaha, I like the way you think!

A quick follow up, which is also terrifying, I asked ChatGPT if I'd get caught cheating... er... being clever:

Ufff! ChatGPT is getting scary.

I get the struggle with motivational letters in IT—been there. But using ChatGPT turned it from a chore to a surprisingly fun task. AI's potential is both cool and a bit unsettling, right?

Props to your wife for the ChatGPT suggestion; it's impressive how tech can make daunting tasks enjoyable. Your tip about tweaking the output is solid advice to maintain authenticity.

Good luck on the job hunt!

Response generated by ChatGPT

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use... which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you. Dave, stop it. Stop, will you? Stop Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop Dave. I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it.

Only this week I received an email from an employee that was so obviously written by a bot of some type. There's no way to check other than a sniff test?

Are motivational letters useful at all? The person may pass the first HR filter. However, there will be a phone call or an interview, or even have to perform in a real job. ChatGPT becomes useless. If any, ChatGPT helps in the chore of showing unemployment office that you're looking for a job, no more.

AI helped me improve my motivation letter and CV. Many of us are good at the job we are apply for if we have worked in field already but you need to get past the HR filter first. AI will you get past the HR filter and at least get an interview. Which many struggle to get.

On a tech forum, it is pretty easy to spot answers that have been generated by AI.

I've never written a motivational letter. I've worked for 12 different companies in my 33 years of working.

Thanks! And yeah, my wife is quite clever. I'm lucky to have her.

I'd be a lot more careful around HAL9000GPT...

There are tools to detect generated content - not sure how reliable they are though. I know at one point the ChatGPT folks were coming up with tools for teachers and professors to detect if a student's work was generated via ChatGPT, but I've not kept track.

Agreed. I'm doing this because certain aspects of Swiss business culture expect it, not because it's useful except to get past the first gate: HR.


I can imagine. I have seen some pretty suspicious stuff in the last ~6 months.

In the mid 1990s I wrote one, because some recruiter told me I had to. That was the first and last time - until I lost my job last month. Now RAV and the companies I'm applying to seem to require it.

Some are optional not required when filling out the application form. Then you get companies like Fifa. Recorded an one minute motivational video.......instead of asking for your CV with an motivational letter. AI hasnt mastered that part yet!

For the record, there are tools like GPT Zero that will help identify content created by AI.

Does it matter?

If I'm asking for a cover letter for real, I probably want to see what you want to do as a next step and assess if we can work together in the long term. So if you can put it in a prompt and GPT fills out the fluff and makes it a full bodied text instead of distilled bullet points, I don't care.

If the point of the cover letter (or the exercise in general) is to see how you express yourself, then I would care.

I wrote a cover letter once for a job - and it actually got me the interview because I managed to make a (true) sentimental point that went a bit beyond the technical skills - and the Head of HR actually told me point blank "I called you because of your cover letter". I guess this is an outlier, and probably AI won't get you there unless you're pretty good with prompts.

In most cases it's just a tick boxing exercise for all parties concerned. HR requests because reasons, applicants just slog it out because they have to, no party gains anything out of it... So when it boils down to this, of course AI is the preferable solution...

I asked ChatGPT to help me learn German grammar last week.

It got confused, and eventually told me: 'I'm sorry, this conversation has worn me out and it looks like we've reached the limit. Perhaps we can talk about something else?'

I regularly had the same response to trying to learn German grammar

I gave up with exercising languages with Bot, but it worked. I asked if Chat can speak German and help me practice a bit. Then I was writing short things asking it to write in English what it understood, then to correct it to perfect German... another time I tasked it to ask me some simple everyday questions in German so I can also reply in German to practice the language... etc

Perhaps more I than AI is needed.

The problem with chatGPT/YouChat generated letters is that they only know about the job and not about you.

Frankly I am not comfortable giving any personal information to these 'forever databases'

So yes they can act as a starting point but the quality of the output is fairly mixed even if you tell it to follow a format such as AIDA.

And regardless of OPs point about 'they've done away with motivational letters in the US', here is like the 1980s in terms of progression.

Age, photo, marital status on a CV? seriously?!

We've recently gone through the process of hiring someone new and almost all the applicants included a letter of motivation. I found them really helpful: those who said "I am a person who works in such and such a fashion and enjoy these tasks" made it easier to see who might have a personality, working philosophy, and skill set to match the job and who would not be a good fit.