How to score that geophysics job – a data-driven approach

Did you ever wonder what employers actually want from you?

Well, I did. Pretty much always. Seems like a huge mystery.
So as I was updating my LinkedIn profile, I realized that I could tailor my profile to actually be found by companies looking for a geophysicist. They’re actually making it really easy on you as well. They’re telling you what they want. This is also known as requirements or qualifications.

However, reading through all the different formats and formulations of companies left my head fuzzy and even more confused. However, I would not have learned to program and utilizing tools in creative ways, if it wasn’t for saving time for other important things in life. Like finding and exploring new awesome tools on the internet.


I always liked word clouds. That’s one of the reasons you can look at my tag cloud on the right. It’s basically increasing the size of a word depending on its occurrence in a text and arranging it somewhat pretty. The web app Wordle can do this for you and it even filters out common words in your target language. In English, these words would be along the lines of “the, a, for, of” and such things. The rest of the words are then put together in a big cloud.

The Data-driven Method

You might have already guessed it. I took all the job postings I could find and threw them into Wordle. This left me with a cloud of keywords that are common in the geophysics industry. I actually prepared two of these clouds. One is for a web-based search that includes postings on OilCareer and the like. The other one was created from several LinkedIn job postings. But see for yourself:

Job requirements
Geophysics job requirement keywords – Wordle cloud

First things first, they’re looking for experienced geophysicists. This is pretty far from a surprise since most job postings look for senior geophysicists. Some words seem real out of context and I removed words like “skills” to clean up the image a little. You can draw some very interesting conclusions from these images. Have a look for MSc and Ph.D., then compare sizes. Although many companies will say that a Ph.D. is not essential it seems to help to get that job.

Job Requirements
Job requirement keywords for geophysicists on LinkedIn – Wordle cloud

What about context?

One might argue that the context is essential in these job postings.
However, I believe that most keywords can be interpreted into the right context. With keywords like Petrel or Kingdom it’s pretty easy, they’re software packages used in geophysics. When it comes to words like “relevant” this points to the “relevant degree” term, however you need to think about it if anyone is really going to search for the keyword “relevant” when searching for suitable candidates.

Now if you do write a resume, remember that companies might do an initial scan for certain keywords und if you do have the necessary skills you would not want to get weeded out because you did not optimize your application, would you?

Leave a comment, what interesting connections you have found in these images.

The following two tabs change content below.
... is a geophysicist by heart. He works at the intersection of machine learning and geoscience. He is the founder of The Way of the Geophysicist and a deep learning enthusiast. Writing mostly about computational geoscience and interesting bits and pieces relevant to post-grad life.

Latest posts by Jesper Dramsch (see all)

Posted in Jobsearch and tagged , , , .