Analyze a Job Listing Quickly

A word cloud of this post.
This post as a Word Cloud

I recently found a great new tool to make breaking down a job listing for keywords that much quicker.

To fully understand both the predominant emphasis of duties as well as the keyword loadings needed for resume customization, I had been using the word search function within a word document to count the words. Pretty manual and time-consuming, but less so than a colored highlighter from way back in the day.

Now I have found a much easier way – using a free word cloud generator that also has word list function. I like this one. When you click on it you will see the “Word List” button in the left side box on your computer screen. Select and copy the content of your job listing – leaving out the company description, benefits, and the boilerplate about EID – and paste it into the generator. Click Visualize, then Word List.

Once you have the list you will find a couple of little things to still count manually. For example plurals of nouns will count separately, but you should combine the counts – such as “Production” and “Productions“. I usually bring various conjugations of words together too – “Produce“, “Producer/s“, “Producing“. Be aware that the word “With” often follows “Work”, making the keyword the phrase “work with” – as distinct from “collaborate with” or “partner with“. These are useful distinctions for your customization.

Once you have counted your keywords, and noted any interesting data such as a wide gap between most used and next most, as well as any idiosyncratic unusual words, the time has come to analyze the broad functional areas. This is more art than science.

I use the highlight function in a word doc version of the job listing. Typically I look for phrases related to the main functions of the job and other ideas that the word count has given me. Are there a lot of phrases to do with production itself? Development and writing? Post production? Phrases about money? Phrases related time and deadlines? What about collaboration versus supervising others? Office, admin, logistics, or support tasks versus creative ideation and big picture strategies? Communication and technical writing (eg reports) as distinct from scripts or treatments?

Not all these general functional areas will be in every job, but I find that this process really gives me insight into what the job REALLY is about. Sometimes the main functions revealed by this process are only tangentially related to the job title of the listing – I’ve seen ones for some kind of Producer where the ONLY time “produce” was mentioned was in the job title!

Finally, remember to copy and paste exactly how they describe your desired communication skills, and any tech/computer skills wanted. Make that the easiest customization ever.

Photo credit: Pixabay – lumenbrite

I’m open for business again, after finishing another short film project! Do you need help with your resume or entertainment career development? How about getting a group of friends together for group resume workshop.