Zoom Image

Searching for a job electronically

Photo: Jens Kalaene / picture alliance / dpa

»I hereby apply, tasks like this appealed to me from an early age.« Cover letters for job applications are full of phrases that a computer could just as well write.

This is exactly what is apparently being considered for more and more applicants, as a survey by the IT company Softgarden shows: 19 percent of respondents have already used artificial intelligence (AI) when writing an application, and just under 42 percent can imagine it. Only about a third of those surveyed consider this to be fraud.

Farewell to the cover letter

Four months earlier, the proportion of AI users was more than six percentage points lower. The development has a serious impact on application practice, believes Softgarden Managing Director Kirill Mankovski: "In the foreseeable future, the cover letter will no longer provide any information about motives or personalities, but only about the status of job seekers' AI know-how." This is particularly evident in jobs with an academic background, where 23.6 percent currently use AI for cover letters.

Mankovski therefore recommends that employers avoid the cover letter altogether. Some have already taken this step without AI. As early as 2018, Deutsche Bahn announced that it would accept applications without the formulated letter when it comes to apprenticeships.

Almost 2700 people who had just submitted their application online took part in the current survey. Softgarden programs the corresponding software, which is used, for example, by Grohe, Universal Music, Fresenius or Höffner. The survey is not representative of the German labour market, but provides insights into the changing customs of job applications through a large number of participating industries.