This assignment asks students to engage with a large language model (LLM) such as ChatGPT 3.5 as part of their writing process to develop specific, accurate, and professional resume bullet points. After brainstorming work or community service experiences, students develop a list of tasks completed in these positions, along with the skills they would like to highlight for each task. Next, they ask ChatGPT to create bullet points for them based on this input, refine the input to tweak the responses, and revise the output to match their unique voice and skill set. Finally, students reflect on their experience using the LLM and revising its output. This assignment requires students to practice using generative AI as a tool to co-construct job application materials.
Original Assignment Context: First-Year Writing I course
Materials Needed: LLM such as ChatGPT 3.5, word processing software, internet access
Time Frame: ~ 4 class sessions
At Lasell University, we require students to compose a resume in their first year Writing I course that will serve as a foundation on which they will build over the course of their degree. The primary goal of this assignment is to help students understand how to showcase their experiences and skill sets to attract potential employers. The assignment requires students to create bullet points that clearly and concisely communicate their qualifications in an organized, polished way.
Honestly, I was not prepared to integrate generative AI use into this particular assignment this semester. While I had spent much of the summer reading and thinking about the role of AI in the college classroom, I still felt uneasy introducing it into an assignment in an explicit way in my Writing I courses this fall. Then, as I was introducing the resume assignment, I had a student ask me if they could use AI to help them compose their resume. Instead of rejecting this request outright, I decided to consider how engaging with an LLM like ChatGPT could be useful during the challenging task of wording effective resume bullet points.
I consulted with our Associate Director of the Center for Career Readiness, and while we noted that there was little research into using generative AI to teach resume-writing, it was clear that employers were beginning to see resumes created or enhanced by AI. Some research indicates that job applicants who used AI to enhance their resumes were more likely to be hired than those who did not (“3 in 4 Job Seekers,” 2023; Wiles et al., 2023). Yet, many hiring managers and recruiters consider an obviously AI-written resume to be “a deal-breaker” (Hoff, 2023) and some applicants have been excluded from consideration after it was discovered they had used AI to produce their materials (“3 in 4 Job Seekers,” 2023). Thus, we agreed it is important for students to learn how to use this technology in effective, ethical ways to ensure their resumes have the intended impact.
The assignment sequence and class activities outlined below resulted in valuable conversations regarding the potentials and limits of generative AI in resume writing, and students successfully engaged the tool to inform their process while also recognizing how they needed to intervene to produce the most accurate, clear, and articulate bullet points for the final drafts of their resumes. As they continue to build their resumes in the coming years, this skill development will hopefully serve them well.
3 in 4 job seekers who used ChatGPT to write their resume got an interview. (2023, February 13). Resume Builder. https://www.resumebuilder.com/3-in-4-job-seekers-who-used-chatgpt-to-write-their-resume-got-an-interview/
Hoff, M. (2023, May 28). There’s a big debate over whether it’s OK to use AI in your job search. Some companies say it’s ‘a definite dealbreaker.’ Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/using-ai-in-your-job-search-resumes-cover-letter-dealbreaker-2023-5
Wiles, E., Munyikwa, Z.T., & Horton, J.J. (2023). Algorithmic writing assistance on jobseekers’ resumes increases hires. National Bureau of Economic Research. DOI 10.3386/w30886.
Please note that in the assignment sequence below, I only provide specific guidance as it pertains to the use of generative AI to create bullet points. However, I also hold class sessions focused on other components of resume building, including a presentation from our Center for Career Readiness, a design overview and workshop, and a peer review session.
Ideal Course: First-Year Writing, Professional Writing, Career-Readiness-Focused Course
You will create a resume that follows the guidelines presented in class and shared in the Resume Guide from the Center for Career Readiness on our Canvas page. This assignment will be completed in steps, and we will utilize ChatGPT as a tool for resume development. The steps and specific instructions are outlined below, and we will complete much of this work in class.
Note: You will be required to rewrite this assignment if
Step 1: Class Lesson Plan (Day 1)
Step 1: Resume Builder Worksheet
Instructions: Fill in the following information, which will be used to construct your resume. This is intended to be used for brainstorming and content generation as part of the Resume assignment.
List your career goals and skills needed for positions in your field. These will guide you as you develop your resume.
Step 2: Class Lesson Plan (Day 2): Create Prompts & Gather Output from ChatGPT
Provide an overview of LLMs and ChatGPT, including what it is and emphasizing its use as a tool. Next, ask the class to share a job they plan to include on their resume. On a projected screen, use that job to develop and enter a prompt for ChatGPT such as “Create resume bullet points for a job as a barista at Starbucks.” As a class, discuss the positives of the output, such as parallel structure, grammatical correctness, and descriptiveness. Then, discuss the negatives such as the cookie-cutter style and tone, any inaccuracies, and the more generalized content. As a class, work on revising the prompts to create stronger output. For example, you might ask the LLM to “start each bullet point with an action verb” or “highlight my skills with money management in this bullet point.” Then, practice revising the output together in a shared doc to make the bullet points sound more genuine and accurate. Finally, ask students to create an account and experiment with their own jobs, tasks, and skills.
Step 6: Process Journal Reflection
The process journal asks you to reflect on your experience composing this assignment. Please answer the questions below. Your journal entry should be at least 500 words long in paragraph format (no bullet points or numbered responses).
After completing the Final Draft of the Resume, please describe your process for writing this assignment:
Next, please describe how you revised the output from ChatGPT in your resume. Consider the following in your response:
Thank you to Jessi Orlando, Associate Director of the Center for Career Readiness and Internship Programs at Lasell University, for her support during this assignment. The Resume Builder Worksheet is based on a worksheet offered in the Lasell University Center for Career Readiness Resume Guide, an internal document accessible to the Lasell community.