A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of tailoring your resume and cover letter for a specific opportunity. A student shared with me a little trick that can help with this. A word cloud (or tag cloud) visually depicts text in a way that makes it easy to see which words are used most frequently. As you study a position description, you can use a word cloud program to generate an image that will show which key words you should likely incorporate into your application materials.
For example, I copied the text for a Senior Program Assistant announcement on the SPHHS Jobs Database into the word cloud generator TagCrowd. Using the image below, I can see that I should incorporate the terms “health,” “coordinate,” “research,” and “administrative” into my resume and cover letter.
After I’ve written my resume and cover letter for this position, I can copy my own text into the word cloud generator to see whether or not the key words that stand out on my application materials are the same as those frequently used in the position description.
Of course, using a word cloud doesn’t replace the need to study the position description, but it is an easy to use tool that can help you measure whether or not your application materials are speaking the “language” of the job.
You can find a list of free, online word cloud generators here.