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

March 18, 2009

*The below blog post is co-authored with my good friend Jason Sprenger (@jasonsprenger on Twitter), a PR and Marketing Professional in the Minneapolis area. I have forgiven him for being a Vikings fan, so you should too. (Go Pack!)

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!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2009 4:00 pm

    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.

  2. March 18, 2009 8:48 pm

    I did this on my resume, and these key words showed up:
    – public relations
    – strategic communications
    – relationships
    – media
    – management
    – planning

    This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing it.

  3. March 19, 2009 3:19 pm

    I agree that it COULD be effective. However, think of some of the old-timey decision makers that are generally sitting across the table from you when you’re being hired. Meanwhile you hand them a sheet of this word explosion and they are thinking “How did your kid’s art project end up on your resume ?”

    Ehhh dunno about this one. You never know who you might get on the other side of the desk.

    • March 19, 2009 3:21 pm

      Hi Anthony,

      That is a great point, but not how we were suggesting to use word clouds. We suggested using it as a tool to prepare your resume – your resume would stay the same, but it is an additional tool to double check your resume. I don’t think handing a word cloud to a recruiter would get you far.

      Thanks for reading.


  4. March 27, 2009 9:04 pm


    Gosh, you are just another reason I love Twitter so much. A resume is one of the few documents in our life that has to be perfect and at the same time Remarkable as Seth Godin would say.
    I work with folks every week who are attempting to find work in this “less than splendid” economic times and as we know a resume is part of the game.

    This was such a great tool I never in a thousand years.

    Thank you for your practical and technical wisdom.

    I would be interested to know if you think another tool for those seeking employement might be the creation of a Blog.

    If I can ever help you in any way I would hope you would let me know.

    Wishing you the most amazing year ever.



  5. March 30, 2009 5:19 pm

    I just ran my resumé through Wordle, and I’ve gotta say–what a great tool! There weren’t a ton of surprises, which was a good thing, but it did remind me where I need to beef things up. And of course, it was just plain fun to see.

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