Have you ever spent ages perfecting your CV for that dream graduate job, only to hear to nothing back?
It may be the case that, though you've put a lot of work into it, your CV doesn't give the first impression a company is looking for.
Research suggests you may have as little as 7 seconds to make an impression with your CV, so it's crucial yours immediately makes the desired impact for the specific job you've applied for. Hiring managers, recruiters and employers alike are often inundated with applications for roles and, as a result, CVs are scanned at a rapid pace - whether that's by the person you applied to, or Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software.
To get more of an idea of what your CV says about you at first glance - you can use a word cloud generator tool.
Websites like TagCrowd are free to use and allow you to paste in the text you want to be visualised as a word cloud. You can also upload a plain text file or input a web page URL.
The content of your CV is then filtered for word frequency - the bigger and more prominent a word looks in your word cloud, the more frequently it appears on your CV and the more likely it is to be picked up on by employers.
I tested it out for myself - here's what my word cloud looks like:
Note: there are gaps where the names of specific organisations have been blurred out.
Screenshot / tagcrowd.com
The CV I created this word cloud from was written during my third year of university, when I was applying for an online content editing job.
So, I can take some positives from my result - the words "article", "editor", and "media" are all relatively prominent. Other journalism-related words such as "comment", "story" and "newspaper" also appear - suggesting I was able to bring in relevant examples from my previous editing experience to demonstrate I'd be qualified for the role.
My most frequently used words, though, are clearly "university" and "york" (spoiler: I went to the University of York, as is very apparent here). Were I to use this CV now, it would definitely need some updating to reflect the professional working experiences I've had since I graduated.
You can also see that lots of words are a similar size and shade of light blue - suggesting there isn't one, clear, overall impression I'm giving. Based on this word cloud, I'd increase my use of keywords - especially those relating to specific skills and tools I have experience using (such as WordPress and Photoshop).
When you make your own word cloud, you can similarly review and tweak the wording of your CV - or cover letter - to ensure it gives the first impression you're looking for.
It goes both ways. You can also use a word cloud generator on the job description itself.
To get a clear, unbiased insight into what a company is looking for - just paste the link to the job description into a word cloud generator.
You can then ensure that the most prominent key words in your CV match up with the most frequently used words in the job description.
Just be careful not to sacrifice the quality of what you're writing in favour of packing your CV with key words to get noticed.
Want to learn more about CV-writing? We asked a Recruitment expert the top 20 questions that come up on the subject of CVs.