Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Resume Cloud - A Simple Tool With Benefits for Candidates and Recruiters

Welcome back to The Sports Ace!

The below post is co-authored with good friend/great PR mind Lauren Fernandez (@CubanaLAF on Twitter). We hope you enjoy it!

Of course, we all know that a resume can make all the difference for a candidate trying to get that first interview for a job they really want. Conversely, it's also an employer's first look at potential candidates they hope to hire and have contribute to the long-term success of their business. From looking at a resume, reviewers can glean an awful lot of information about a candidate's personality - and essentially sum up their "personal brand" and see if that fits with their company. So how can an employer distill all the resumes they receive into usable, comparable information so that they maximize their chances of hiring the right person? And how can candidates make sure they're putting their best foot forward to distinguish themselves from the competition?

How about using a resume cloud?

This is a take on the popular word cloud tools available on the Internet. If you're unfamiliar with them, they are Web sites which take any word processed document and produce a word cloud from it, which is a scrambled mess of keywords that are commonly found in that particular document. The more times the word is used, the bigger it appears in the cloud. This tool is incredibly useful for identifying the words and phrases that you're using most often - and consequently, that stand the best chance of sticking with whoever reads your writing.

Applied to a resume, this word cloud tool could be incredibly useful to employers so that they can see the common words and themes in a candidate's resume. These words/themes are the foundation of the candidates' brand - so they can simply compare that brand to their company's own culture and brand to see if there's a potential match.

Companies are all about their brand, because that is what is being shown to consumers. They need to validate that your mindset and strengths are aligned with their own, because working in the corporate environment means that you are representing not only your own persona, but a company brand as well.

In much the same way, this tool could be incredibly useful to the candidates as well. By running your resume through a word cloud, you could see how you're representing yourself in your resume and what messages you're conveying about who you are. If you like what you see - if the biggest keywords are in alignment with who you are and what you want the employer to see from you, then we think you can submit confidently for that job. On the other hand, if you feel the biggest words do not speak well to who you are and what you want in your next position, then your resume may need some revision.

Word clouds can also be beneficial to the candidate that needs to see what their strengths and weaknesses are – because sometimes they aren’t as apparent to the busy individual who is constantly going. It is also a great way to re-evaluate why you might not have received a call for an interview, especially if you compare the keywords with what are most prominent on the company Web site and news stories about the brand.

It never hurts to pay attention to the exact messages you've sending to those who you may want to work for, and on the employer side, it never hurts to do your due diligence to see whether or not someone will be a good long-term fit with your organization. A resume cloud, we think, could be a very effective tool for both groups. A job opportunity can be viewed as a marriage – both the employer and employee are making a vow to put the brand in the most positive light possible.

Some word cloud Web sites to get you started:


Thoughts/comments welcome!


mengelmusings said...

Jason and Lauren - great suggestion!

Another way to use this tool to your advantage would be to copy and paste the job description for the job you’re applying to into Wordle and create a cloud for it to see what characteristics the employer is really emphasizing. Then you can compare that word cloud with the one from your resume and see if you’re aligned with what they’re looking for, or if you need to tweak your resume a bit.


Luke Rasmussen said...

Very interesting. I hadn't thought of that before. Word clouds are fun tools. I'll have to try that sometime. Thanks for the tip!

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