Let’s all agree on one thing: writing resumes is a crappy process. Trust me, I know a lot of professional resume writers who want to discontinue this service. 😛 Even if you have a professional resume created by a pro, you’re still told you have to customize your resume to every job you apply to because of those fancy applicant tracking systems that are looking for keyword matches.

 

“Damnit,” you think, “If only there were a way to figure out what words come up the most frequently for the roles I’m interested in.”

 
Call me your genius, your leprechaun, your angel… I have a solution for you!

Introducing: The Word Cloud Generator for ResumesIf you don’t know what a Word Cloud Generator is, it’s basically a tool that allows you to upload files or copy text and it creates an image of all the words that populate in your selected text. The more frequently the word shows up, the bigger the font is. This way, you can see what words pop out the most.

I tried this on my resume and here’s what my word cloud looks like:

As you can see, it’s not a perfect process. It captured my years of employment and my dates. If I weren’t so lazy, I could have probably removed all of my contact information and headings before uploading the document. But anyways, I can see from here the relevant keywords that show up a few times are professional, coach, recruiting, candidates, staffing. That’s actually great because I just so happen to be interested in career coaching and recruiting type roles.
 
If you’re curious what keywords are populating the most on your resume, check out Jason Davies’ Word Cloud. It’s free and simple to use. It’s the free site I used. Just copy and paste the text from your resume and hit Submit. You’ll get an image similar to the one above so you can see if the keywords you want to be known for are populating!

The Word Cloud Generator for Job Descriptions

If you want to take this next level, I recommend finding 2-3 job descriptions that you’re interested in. Copy and paste these into the Word Cloud Generator to see what these roles are emphasizing. If you want to get the best results, you’ll just copy and paste the sections summarizing the role, the job description bullets, and the qualifications. You’ll want to avoid copying and pasting the headings, the benefits, and the directions to apply. 

 
To illustrate the results of word cloud generating for job descriptions, I copied and pasted 3 job descriptions into the entire text and hit submit (note: Admittedly, I was lazy again and did not remove any of the headings). But I think it’s still clear on how this works:

As you can see, the most popular words are: career, coach, community, track, create, students, plan, create. If this were really a title I wanted to target I could make sure my resume for Career Coaching included these words above. This would help me create a strong foundational resume to capture the most important words. Then, in the future, I can customize this main resume to each future jobs by easily swapping out a few words depending on the specific description.

Creating a word cloud won’t eliminate the need to customize your resume, but it will help with needing to change as much because you’re capturing some of the most common words.

What If I’m Applying to a New Career or Industry?This exercise is also perfect for you then! Once you have an idea of the titles or the industry you are interested in, you can use Word Clouds for research purposes. For example, if you’re copying and pasting 3 job descriptions for paralegal and you’re seeing the phrase ABA Certificate or Lexis Nexis in really big letters, this might be a strong indicator that you should probably get an ABA Certificate or learn Lexis Nexis.

P.S. – If you want support with your job search, don’t forget to check out The Happily Hired Formula, the comprehensive ecourse with step-by-step outlines to master each stage of the job search process… plus group coaching calls for accountability and expert recruiting advice along the way!

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