Breaktime Blog: Wordclouds and job hunting

I wanted to quickly share a tip that might serve you well next time you’re applying for a job. “Wordclouds” have been around for a little while now and (among other things) are a nice, quick, automated way of generating an infographic-style presentation out of what would otherwise just be blocks of text.

Personally I have mixed views about them. I’m not sold on their value as a presentation tool (an opinion perhaps influenced by their apparent ubiquity!). But, I have found an activity in which they do feel useful – job hunting.

When applying for a job, try these two things:

1) Stick the pertinent bits of a post’s description (i.e. skip the organisation blurb, recruitment instructions etc.) into a wordcloud generator (see the list at the end). The words that appear most frequently will give you a reasonable clue as to what the recruiters are looking for.

Wordcloud from a job description I've been looking at recently.

Wordcloud from a job description I’ve been looking at recently.

2) When you’ve drafted your covering letter/supporting statement and tweaked your CV to fit the post (you do do that, don’t you?!), stick them into a wordcloud generator as well to see if your key words match the recruiter’s. If you’re a stickler for readability (i.e. me) it’ll also tip you off if you’ve used dull or meaningless words too often.

Wordcloud an early draft application for the job shown above

Wordcloud an early draft application for the job shown above

It’s a revealing and, I’ve found recently, very useful exercise.

Generators:

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