I hope everyone had a great Labor Day!
I’ve been thinking about something for a long time and finally got around to exploring it more fully this weekend. It’s a tool that can help you check your resume in a completely different way – I think you’ll find it helpful in giving you a different perspective on your resume.
The tool I’ve been interested in is Wordle (www.wordle.net). It’s a free website and allows you to create word clouds. If you’re not familiar with the term “word clouds” – don’t worry. They’re pretty simple.
The idea is to create an image from the word frequency in a piece of text. Every word is listed once in the image and the frequency determines the size of the word.
The advantage of this for job seekers is to see what words are emphasized on their resume. This has an obvious benefit for search results in resume databases and ensuring your keywords are prominent – but this is only a secondary benefit.
What is really important is the impression your resume creates. The words you use and their frequency can affect this. Since were talking about an imaging tool, we need to take a look at an image.
Below is a word cloud created from a job seeker’s resume (all references to the job seeker’s name, company and location were deleted before creating the image). The resume is from a transitioning senior military officer.
What is most prominent here? Here are the top 10:
Support ~ Logistics ~ Program ~ Provided ~ Requirements ~ Command ~ Army
From this list, it’s pretty clear the individual works in a field that does project or program management. Beyond that, there is only one verbs – provided. This is far from impressive. You have to look hard to find action verbs that demonstrate accomplishments.
Overall, the word cloud is pretty bland – a lot of detail of responsibilities and not much substance. What’s really interesting is that the resume has the same problem.
One final note… the job seeker whose resume I used above is actually a very strong candidate. Their track record is excellent with a consistent pattern of success and achievement. Unfortunately, the resume they sent me and are using for their job search does a terrible job presenting their background.