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How to Refine Your Résumé and Influence People
By: Jeff Louis
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Although I write on a daily basis, when it comes to writing about me or tweaking my résumé, I agonize over every sentence and each bullet point. 

I cannot  tell you how many times I’ve written -- and revised -- my executive profile. This has always been the case, but now it is due to the tight job market.

I revise my résumé for every available position to demonstrate how I can help solve a particular company's problem, whatever it may be. I have held positions in account services, brand development, media planning, and new business coordination, and each discipline requires a specific yet disparate set of skills that need and warrant highlighting.

To improve my résumé, I started searching for online tools to aid with cutting out the superfluous crap. I know what I have done, how I did it, and what the results were. I needed to convey it succinctly. 

While reading an article on résumé writing can help, I needed someone or something to evaluate my current résumé for free. I found two sites that, while not perfect, work extremely well for overused words, syntax, sentence structure, etc. 

The first, Wordle, is a Web site that creates word clouds from text, RSS feeds, or URLs. The site is fast, flexible, and easy to use. Simply paste your résumé into the text box, and a visual version gets spit out with helpful hints. Frequently used words show up in large text; those used less show up as smaller text.

The site also filters out unnecessary definite (the) and indefinite articles (a, an). Wordle works well for me because I am able to view my résumé visually. Therefore, if I am applying for a media position and the word "media" is not the biggest word in the cloud, I'll go back and review my résumé again to make sure it is directionally sound.

David Meerman Scott developed the second tool for HubSpot, which has several “graders” available, including those measuring your sociability on Twitter and Facebook, your Web site, press releases, and so on. The site, Grader.com, is a great resource. Bookmark it. 

Scott created the  Gobbledygook Grader, which later morphed into a Public Relations Grader, but both are generally the same. Although imperfect, they are useful for grading résumés by pointing out jargon, clichés, and words considered as "hype."

Copy and past your résumé into the text box, and you will receive a score (out of 100), the total number of sentences and words, the required reading skill necessary to read your résumé, and a word list that counts the number of times each word was used (just hover over the word in question).

Some ill-advised words on my résumé were optimize and benchmark. This makes it painless to rewrite sentences using synonyms or dumping an entire bullet point. I’ve also used this tool to pare down blog posts and revise my LinkedIn page.

There was a site being built called Resume Grader, but it never quite got off the ground. Now, it redirects you back to your search.

A final site you might find helpful is Job Clinic. There's no grader per se, but they do have a downloadable .PDF "score sheet," allowing users to rate their résumés.

While not using the sites as intended, both have reduced my tunnel vision and eliminated redundancy from my résumé. They are especially helpful for positions at companies requiring a specific set of media skills that are not necessarily related to planning or buying.

Both tools are free, and while you are probably not full of crap, your résumé might be.


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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