So I recently read up on a little trick for updating my resume. If you’ve ever been curious about how recruiters view your resume and want to know what they see when they scan it, dropping the contents of your resume into a word cloud app can be extremely helpful.
A word cloud, (AKA text cloud or tag cloud) if you’re not familiar, is basically an infographic, which provides a visual representation of word frequency within a body of text. Simply put, use a word a lot and it will appear larger. Use a word infrequently and it will appear smaller or not at all. Needless to say, you want the most important words and the words most relevant to the type of position you're seeking to be larger than others.
When I plugged my resume into Tag Crowd I discovered that the word “including” was ginormous. I had used it twelve times, while one of may favorite buzzwords about myself, “creative” was all but lost in the sea of words. Now that’s just ridiculous. Poppycock, I say. This exercise definitely provided clarity. I need to make sure my resume is far more indicative of my strongest skills. Words like “marketing”, “content” and “manage” are in a good place but it was clear that I needed to sharpen things up a bit.
Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds on your resume.
In my discovery of what recruiters were looking for, I also happened upon this fun fact: Recruiters spend an average of six seconds on your resume 1. In this six seconds their eyes scan your name, current position and company, start and end date, previous position and dates, and education information.
Couple this 6-second rule with the large possibility that you’re resume may not even be screened by a human being, and you know you have your work cut out for you. If you’re applying to a larger company (1,000 employees or more) there’s a really good chance your resume will be screened by some sort of filtering software; software that doesn’t like fancy serif fonts, tiny or large fonts, tiny or large margins, lines that run from margin to margin, or any other non-text design elements. What the software will like though is lots of keywords relevant to the open position so go ahead and use that word cloud to your advantage. It’s time for you to make good use of some big words and be seen.
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Thank you for reading. Now… “Let the power moves continue”.
1 Study conducted by The Ladders.