What makes people pick you? - The Write Impression


What makes people pick you? - The Write Impression

When I was district Manager for the Census, I skimmed through hundreds of résumés submitted by prospective field officers. It occurred to me that I was just scanning them to pick up key words. I was looking for education key words, evidence of good people skills, clues to their background, and indications of general enthusiasm. I must have checked each one for only a few seconds before deciding either to look more closely or put it aside for the time being.

I am sure you have scanned brochures, websites and marketing material in the same way.

What do our eyes see when we scan this way?

I think it’s similar to the word clouds that you see so often on facebook or on other websites.

If that’s the case, I thought, I would put my own résumé into a word cloud and see what words might jump out at a recruiter.

Try it! Paste your résumé or your marketing materials into TagCrowd, and the app will make an image of the most common words. The more common ones will be larger and darker. This gives you a very good idea of what a recruiter or a potential customer or client will see when they glance at your résumé or marketing materials. These are the terms they will associate with you. Perhaps it will tell you if you need to do some adjusting to make different terms stand out.

I cut and pasted my résumé into the app and this is what appeared:

I realised that if I ever sent my résumé away again, it might be time to prune all the film and screenwriting awards and credits from my earlier years!

You can use this same technique for the text of your website, your fliers, or your other marketing material.

Obviously, this is not all that will influence the way that the hiring manager perceives you as a candidate. It is not all that will make people choose you or your business. However, this is a quick check to see if you’re giving enough emphasis to the things on your résumé or marketing materials that matter most.

If you need any more help with résumés, there is a great resource here, which covers résumés, cover letters, addressing selection criteria, interview technique and much, much more. And if there is something which is not covered, just ask!

Until next time, write well, write with passion, and use all your writing for good.