Have you ever made a word cloud? The most popular version of a word (or tag) cloud generator is Wordle, but there are many other options out there. Teachers love creating word clouds for visual learners because it helps the student see the most frequently used vocabulary in a text. But you can use your favorite word cloud generator to compare the frequency of words in a job opening and your resume.
Here’s why I think this is a good idea: you’ll quickly see if any words in your resume match the words in the ad.
What you are seeing in that word cloud is the key vocabulary in the text — keywords. Resume keywords play an important role in getting your resume into the “call for interview” pile on an important desk. You’ll also get an idea of how often you use certain words to describe yourself. Does your resume word cloud show an active, effective candidate? Does anything match the word cloud of the position you are applying for? If it doesn’t, then you have some work to do on your resume.
The closer your language matches the language in the ad, the more apt you are to be seen as a “match” for the position. It should go without saying that I’m not telling you to make stuff up, because lying on a resume is a bad idea. But highlighting the similarities between your qualifications and the qualifications of the candidate they are seeking is a good idea.
If you are a visual learner, using a word cloud generator to evaluate your resume and the job opening is an easy way to see which words are being used most often and decide what to do with the way your resume is written.
In order to secure a job you must have a resume. There is really no way around it. Not only must you have a resume, but it needs to be professional and accurate. In order to get you started, here are the basic elements of any good resume. You might already know most of these, but in case you didn’t, here they are:
- Heading: this includes your name and contact information. It should be easy to read and centered on the top of the page.
- Career Summary: this is a 5-7 sentence summary of what you have done and are capable of doing. It focuses on your brand, expertise and experience. You need to let the company know what you can do for them.
- Qualifications: this is a short bulleted list of your skills and qualifications for the job (i.e. keywords of the job position, keywords of what you’ve done “Process Implementation” or “Territory Sales”, etc.).
- Experience: this gives a brief summary of your prior work experience. Include company name, your job title, your supervisor’s name, and a brief summary of what your duties were.
- Education: this gives a brief overview of your highest degree of education and/or any additional education that pertains to the job. This could include classes or certifications in a certain area that would help you perform well for the company you are applying to.
Those are the main elements of a good resume. Remember to keep it clean, concise, and easy to read. Also, keep it up to date and accurate–do not add fluff or fake jobs to your experience (you’ll be caught).
These tips will get you started and as you apply for more jobs you will become even better at creating and adapting your resume for jobs.
A resume is used to show off your best qualities to an employer. It shows your skills, work experience, and accomplishments. With all that information, how do you emphasize your best features? You can tailor your resume and pick only your most impressive entries, but you can also use keywords that will help you stand out and impress your potential employers.
Keywords will do a few things: they will keep your resume focused, they will make certain traits stand out to employers, and they will make your resume different than your competition, making you stand out even more.
- Keeping your resume focused: Keywords will keep your resume focused because everything you list or say will go back to reinforce those keywords. This will make your resume coherent, consistent, and focused.
- Make certain traits stand out: Instead of your potential employers looking at many traits that are desirable, using keywords, especially those found in the job posting, will make specific traits stand out so that they know exactly what they can expect from you as far as skills and expertise go.
- Make you stand out among the competition: Not many people know to utilize keywords in their resume, so if you do, then your resume not only stand out, it will be picked up by scanning machines used by recruiters and employers to week out non-candidates.
So now that you know how keywords can improve your resume, you need to know how to utilize them.
- Pick out about three keywords you would like to use. A few good ones could be, Customer Service & Relations, Operations, Information Technology, Sales & Marketing, Staff Leadership, Finance, tc. The keywords can be anything that make you stand out and emphasize the things you are best at, but they should also relate directly to the skills/qualifications outlined in the job posting.
- Insert the keywords wherever appropriate into your resume. Keywords can be incorporated into your career summary, your skills (keyword) list, your professional experience, and accomplishments. Make sure that potential employers see these keywords and have a clear understanding of your areas of expertise.
Using the appropriate keywords throughout your resume will help to ensure that YOU will be the candidate called for the inteview.
Does your resume have an objective?
A resume objective statement is, typically a line or two stating your intention to the reader (note: This DOES NOT mean to add “to obtain a position that is challenging and financially rewarding… etc. THAT is not what I mean). Many HR managers will overlook any resume that does not have a clearly defined career goal – so a resume objective statement–stating what you want to do and what you are good at doing– can be a great way to present your resume to prospective employers. Remember that an objective statement is not the same as summarizing your long-term career goals – it is where you state your goals for your next job–what you can do for them.
Don’t think that an objective statement is necessary for all resumes – they are usually used for specific situations rather than as a standard boilerplate resume requirement. If you’re an entry-level employee or someone looking to change their career path, then an objective statement or title bar should definitely be used. A title bar is similar in that it states the name of the position you want. If you do not have work history that clearly defines your career goals, you will need an objective in order to attract attention. If you are a job seeker with an extensive and relevant work history, a qualifications summary (with a nice branding statement) will be more appropriate.
In order to write an objective statement you need to answer three questions:
1. What type of work are you looking for?
2. What particular skills do you have?
3. How will you be able to help a company that hires you?
When you write your objective statement, you need to focus on how you can benefit your employer, instead of how the employer can benefit you.
For example, if you have experience you could say that you offer a “Dynamic leadership career as Customer Development Executive with a rich mix of special event marketing, team development and leadership, operations management, and sales.” You should avoid phrases that imply you have any particular preferences, like that you are “looking for a position with a team-oriented company” – again, you should focus more on what you can bring to the position rather than what you want from the job.
A good objective statement needs to be specific – it’s not enough just to say that you are looking for a challenging position (ick–don’t do this. I repeat… just DON’T). This says nothing about what your real career goals are. Instead, your statement should briefly list the important qualifications and how they relate to the position. If you’re looking for a specific position, you can reference the job in your objective statement. Make sure you take the time to customize your resume so that you can make a good impression with HR managers, this indicates that you are enthusiastic about the positions they are offering.
The purpose of including an objective statement in your resume helps you eliminate irrelevant information that will not help you get the job that you’re seeking. Anything on your resume that doesn’t support what you have written on your objective statement needs to be removed. Make sure to do your research about the company beforehand and tailor make your objective statement to that position.