Quick Tip: Use a word cloud to improve your resume

sweetcareers_word_cloudI’m sure you’ve seen word clouds before – you know, they’re those fun collages made up of words. Sites like Wordle, Tagxedo, and Word It Out, allow you to paste text into a box then generate a word cloud that highlights the most frequently used words in the text.  (Some sites, like Tagxedo, even let you create a word cloud based on a specific shape – like the Sweet Careers logo!)

Word cloud generators are also an easy, (and fun), way to check which keywords your resume, (or the job description for a position you’re applying for), is emphasizing. All you have to do is cut and paste your resume into the generator’s create box and click submit. The words that are the largest in the word cloud are the ones you’re using most. Are the biggest words the ones you expected? Are you using too many buzzwords, (e.g. effective, innovative, expert)?

You can also use a word cloud to analyze your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to let me know if you need help revising your resume or LinkedIn profile. Share your resume word cloud in the comments.

Quick Tips: Save backup copies of your resume!

Don't PanicYou work so hard to tailor your resume for each specific position. You word-smith and tweak, re-size and fuss until it is absolutely perfect. You submit the resume for the job and follow up with the employer a few days later, only to receive awful news. The file got corrupted somehow and they couldn’t read your resume!! You tell them it’s not a problem and that you’ll re-submit right away, but quickly discover that your resume file is completely corrupted on your hard drive!

To avoid the scenario above, here are some tips to ensure you always have backups of your resume. Some of these tips may seem over the top, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where your computer has failed or your file has been corrupted and you need to re-send your resume to an employer, you will appreciate having extra copies available. Many of these tips can also be applied to your cover letters, and to any other important documents.

  • Don’t just save over older versions of your resume whenever you tailor a new version for a new job. Save a brand new document, naming it lastname_resume_jobtitle_company.docx
  • Save the final copy (the one you submitted for the job) in a few different locations, such as:
    • on your hard drive,
    • on a USB key or other portable drive,
    • in a cloud service (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, iCloud, etc.), and
    • email it to yourself and save the email in a folder called “Application Materials.”
  • Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. This is a good idea for any job seeker, but if you find you’ve lost your resume file, you can pull information from your profile as a last resort.
  • If your school has a career management tool, take advantage of the option to upload different versions of your resume to your account.
  • Finally, for a low-tech back-up solution, keep printouts of your tailored resumes with the name of the company to which it had been sent, written in pencil, in a corner on the back.

Recovering your file
If you find you’ve already lost your resume and are desperate to get it back, there are a couple of options:
Continue reading Quick Tips: Save backup copies of your resume! »

Resume Phrases – Retail Associate

retailFor many, retail jobs are the first opportunity to gain work experience, but many college students and recent grads are unsure of how to incorporate this valuable experience onto the résumé, especially if retail is not their long term career goal. Here are some sample résumé phrases that may help:

  • Learned full range of ______ product line in order to provide effective assistance to customers
  • Oversaw store opening and closing, including till float reconciliation
  • Consistently surpassed monthly sales goals by providing friendly, professional customer service to wide range of patrons
  • Trained new employees and acted as mentor to new staff
  • Offered suggestions for re-arranging checkout areas and stock room, resulting in increased efficiency and safer work environment
  • Managed customer complaints and concerns discreetly and professionally
  • Coordinated all visual displays, signage positioning and stocking merchandise
  • Assisted customers with returns and exchanges
  • Answered questions about different sporting goods; assisted customers in selecting merchandise that best suited their needs
  • Familiar with various cash registers, scanners and POS systems
  • Traveled to weekly flea and craft markets; developed strong rapport with organizers and regular customers to successfully brand eco-candle
  • Worked effectively with non-native English speakers

Keep in mind that the phrases above are just examples and are provided to remind you of your many accomplishments as a student. Revise, edit and tailor the phrases as your needs require.

It’s not uncommon for college students to work in jobs that are completely unrelated to their long-term career goals. Yet these experiences are often valuable additions to a résumé. The Resume Phrases by Student Job series offers sample résumé phrases for experiences often gained through common student jobs. These sample phrases are intended to inspire students and recent grads to describe their college experience more thoroughly.

Image source: Ultimate Security


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