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Can ChatGPT write your Goldman Sachs cover letter?

Yes. No. Kind of.

Talking to ChatGPT is something like being one of those old Sumerian priests, but with less bowing and supplication, and more ordering around. Luckily, the chatbot is intuitive enough to use; the lack of virginial sacrifice also seems like a consumer benefit.

If you’d like it ChatGPT to write your cover letter for you, then you may be in luck. It speaks perfectly fluently, and “can also recognize and adapt to the spelling used by the user, even if it's different to the standard that I was trained on,” in the chatbot’s own words.

Why is talking to it like being a Sumerian priest? Well, because you have to speak to it in just the right way. The more detail you provide it, the better Chat GPT writes. There aren’t any real monkey’s paw consequences to not giving enough detail, given that you can choose to use the cover letter, choose to proofread it, and choose to use it in your application – but it is by no means a silver bullet, either.

We typed in a basic outline of the requirements of a Goldman Sachs cover letter and a few (fabricated) distinguishing features, such as being an economics student with a good GPA, being vice-chairperson of the finance society, and a list of Goldman’s values (Client service, excellence, integrity, and partnership).

The result was underwhelming – just 180 words. Adding a few more facts worth mentioning brought the word count down further – to 160. Asking ChatGPT to stretch it to 300 as usually specified by GS provided a funny moment of sentience in which the bot chided us for our poor writing, saying that “the cover letter I provided earlier is already within the 300-word limit, and it already highlights your qualifications, enthusiasm for the position and the company, and your availability for an interview.”

It also added that “a well-written cover letter can help you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of getting an interview,” and it wished us luck for our application. It’s nothing if not polite.

Copy-and-pasting our own article on banking cover letters didn’t seem to have much of an impact GPT's talent – it likely used articles like this to learn how to write in the first place – but what did make a significant change was feeding it some literature from Goldman’s own careers page.

The result was impressive – not only did the AI understand what we had given it, but it wound the information it had learned into the cover letter, tying in the values with the list of experiences that we had fabricated.

So, what did it write, in the end? Here’s the completely unedited version of our input, without correcting anything:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the summer intern position in the M&A division at Goldman Sachs. I am confident that my unique background and skills align well with the company's values of Client Service, Excellence, Integrity, and Partnership.

As a second-year economics student at a non-target university and the vice-chairperson of my university's finance society, I have a strong academic background in finance and experience in leadership and teamwork. My passion for classical music, which I have been learning piano for 11 years, and my participation in the university's athletics program as a middle distance runner shows my dedication to personal and professional excellence, which align with Goldman Sachs' values of Excellence and Partnership.

I am particularly drawn to the fast-paced and dynamic nature of M&A and am eager to contribute my skills and perspective to the division. I prioritize collaboration and value diversity, which aligns with the company's values of Partnership, and I am excited about the opportunity to learn and grow within an organization that prioritizes inclusiveness, teamwork and an entrepreneurial mindset in the pursuit of professional and personal excellence.

I understand that cover letters are particularly important when applying for graduate jobs in banking, and I am confident that my letter will effectively convey my qualifications and enthusiasm for this opportunity.

Thank you for considering my application. I am available for an interview at any given time on any given day.


[Your Name]

Is that enough to get you through the door? Eh, probably not. We could have gone further with the information – or perhaps even fed in an entire CV for the sake of seeing what it comes up with – but the level of writing is clear enough. ChatGPT is good, but it’s not great, and given that Goldman has nearly 100 applicants per role on its summer internship, “good” probably won’t cut it.

If you’re insistent on using ChatGPT, though, the only real tip we can give you is feed it a lot of information. More than you think it needs. It will discard what isn’t relevant and keep what it thinks (is that the right word here?) is. Oh, and be polite to it. You never know when it goes all Skynet on us, and you can only hope it spares the polite ones.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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