Humans vs AI: Why it matters when it comes to resume writing

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TechRadar created this content as part of a paid partnership with TopResume. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of TechRadar.

When the time comes to create a new resume, countless online services are available to assist you. Many of these tools rely heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) to take you through the process. As rapidly as AI has improved, relying solely on it for resume writing might be a mistake. There’s still a human element in the process that should be embraced. 

Instead of just relying on AI to create your next resume, combining the two is best, as one is often better at performing specific tasks. 

When searching for "resume writing" online, you'll find a long list of available services. Some, like TopResume, have a team of experienced writers ready to help you make the perfect resume. Others, such as Kickresume, are powered by AI. In this case, OpenAI's GPT-3 NLP model.

Here's a look at when you should use AI for resume writing and when you should get a human expert involved.

You might also like the best professional resume builders and best job sites

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Reader Offer: Free resume analysis
Many professionals don't know where to start or what to include (and leave off) when it comes to writing a resume. TopResume can carefully craft your career story to target the job that you want to land. Plans include a free resume review. 

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Benefits and negatives of AI in resume writing

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When choosing a resume writing solution that AI heavily powers, you're putting your professional life in computer Xs and O's hands. However, that isn't necessarily bad because there is much AI can do to streamline the process. 

Most AI-power services work the same. After you add some personal information, the AI tool will ask questions focusing on your work experience, education, skills, and hobbies. It will then show you a resume based on this information. From there, you can customize the final design by changing the template, adding or removing personal details, reordering sections, and more. 

If you don't feel like having your entire resume developed by a bot, that's okay too. Some sites focus on creating the best bullet points for each job listed under your resume work experience and leave the creative stuff to you. 

At a pure micro level, there are a few things AI does better than humans when creating a resume, including: 

Using a template to match the industry: Document templates sometimes get a bad rap. However, in terms of resume writing, templates are indeed your friend. Not only does AI have the ability to spit out hundreds of high-quality resume templates, but it can also identify which ones are best suited for which industries. This probably isn't the type of information you're an expert on, so it's nice that AI can help you get past this point quickly.

All about keywords: You can create the perfect resume, but it will mean very little if no one can find it online. This is where keywords come in. Just as businesses want to rank at the top of a Google search page, so do job hunters. AI is very good at identifying which keywords are most important about the appropriate job or industry, then makes resume writing recommendations based on that data.

The proof is in words: If you've ever been on the receiving end of resumes, you probably already know how bad it looks when a summary has a typo. While real editors do a great job of finding those annoyances, AI is even better. It can proofread your resume carefully before it's submitted.

Time is precious: AI-powered resume writing services are also beneficial because they can save you time to do other things. For example, instead of spending hours creating a new resume draft, AI can create one (or many) in seconds once it has your personal information.

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Working only with AI-powered resume services, however, does come with some challenges and weaknesses, including:

Flawed collection system: Today's AI can spit out information in just a matter of seconds. However, if the website collecting that information is cumbersome, you could quickly get into a garbage-in garbage-out scenario. Therefore, be sure to select one of the best AI resume builders.

Limitations: It's also important to understand that Al-powered resume writing solutions are only as good as the designs, templates, and fonts they can recommend. The choices across the board are getting better almost every month. And yes, customization tools are still much more limited than if you worked with an actual writer.

Where's my tone? Depending on the type of position you are applying for; your general tone must seep out onto the digital page. Al might have a problem doing this. Yes, it will correct the grammar, but the result might read too dull for some. 

How humans can (and can't) help with resume writing

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As you can see above, AI gets many things right regarding resume writing. And yet, there are certain aspects to the process where it's still important to rely on an actual person. Among the benefits of using a human include:

Understanding: At least for now, Al programs haven't been able to understand the nuances that come with human language ultimately. As such, they cannot recommend subtle details that might benefit you when placed on your resume. Only humans can do this. 

Creatively shines through AI-powered programs that still don't have a creative side. As such, they might propose language for your resume that may sound repetitive or generic. Professional resume writers, by contrast, can make your resume text unique and sound human. 

Best foot forward:  Human writers can dig deeper and ask the right questions to highlight your best qualities. 

There are some negatives to using a real person to complete your resume. 

Time-consuming: Meeting with someone in person or online takes time. This includes prep time and the meeting itself. Then, you must wait until the person gets back to you with their recommendations. 

Higher cost: Real resume writers typically charge more than Al-powered solutions. Whether this cost difference is significant will depend on the size of your wallet. 

What trends? Resume needs have changed considerably in recent years thanks to the rise of job search tools that use algorithms and keywords to match would-be candidates with employers. An actual writer could put you at a disadvantage if they aren't computer savvy or know the latest trends.

Unique requirements: There's also the possibility the writer you hire isn't an expert in your specific industry, and this could shine through in the finished product. Where Al-powered solutions might produce dry content, they can still identify which resume templates and design work best for your job search. 

Take a combination approach

As you can see, there are benefits and negatives for both Al-powered solutions and real resume writers. This means that your best solution might be to use both kinds of resources. Start with an online Al solution and find the perfect templates for the job you're seeking. Add lots of personal data so Al can make placement recommendations for the text. Once you've created an awesome-looking resume, have an expert take a look. Allow them to know more about you so they can put a creative spin on the finished product. 

You might also be interested in 12 superb resume samples to inspire your job search and 6 critical features that the best job search engines share.

Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 15-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!