Tips for Providing the Resume a WOW Factor

“Wow Factor” is about achieving harmony or a balance between the distinguishable qualities, your new passions, and strengths. The wow factor is the USP that distinguishes you from others and attracts attention. A lot of us hardly bother to analyze what their wow factor could be, but the fact is that all of us possess it. In a highly competitive job world where one has hardly a few seconds to capture the recruiter’s attention, a resume should be able to stand out amidst the clutter.

According to an analytical study by The Ladders, the average time taken by recruiters to scrutinize a resume is just six seconds. The recruiters also extensively make use of the Application Tracking Systems (ATS) to shortlist the resumes that meet their benchmarked criteria or scores. Under this scenario, if your resume fails to fulfill the standards or the benchmarks of the ATS, then it may not even be seen by the recruiters. So, how will you be crafting an effective and impressive resume that will attract the attention of both humans and the ATS applications eventually helping you land the interviews and the job offers?

The first step in discovering the wow factor begins with self-awareness and involves a careful thought process, analysis, and gut-checking. While preparing your branding statement, stress should be on maintaining specificity, objective orientation, and achievements across the career. Here’s an example of a statement that lacks specificity, achievement orientation, and does not show action:

  • Responsible for the closure of contracts and deal negotiations for meeting revenue targets.

To achieve specificity, this could be written as:

  • Grew revenues up to 50% in 2019 through 68% of contract closures.

To achieve action focus in your resume, replace passive language (responsible, accountable) with powerful action verbs such as pioneered, grew, developed, drove, established, transformed, and a lot more. Described below are a few of the effective strategies on how one can include a wow factor in different sections of the resume.

Summary section of the resume: Bland or generic resume summaries are no longer in demand in the current job market; instead, it has been replaced by smart and crisply written career snapshots. Ideally, two to three wow statements can be included in a snapshot to capture the attention of the reader with your noteworthy career highlights or success stories. Alternatively, you can highlight one of your personal branding statements at the top of your resume and include two more wow statements in the summary section to let the recruiters know the value you can add and your unique strengths.

While drafting the WOW statements, you must aim for maintaining brevity to make a bigger impact with fewer words. The objective of a well-written summary should be to offer a quick snapshot and the details can be provided in the experience section of your resume. Also, your hiring managers will be scanning for the industry-specific keywords or the hard skills, and incorporating them into the wow statements will be an ideal way to attract quick attention.

Given below are some of the examples of wow statements used for C-Suite level profiles:

  • Drove business turnaround from a $10M deficit to an astounding $650M.

  • Verifiable success in driving multi-geography operations for Fortune 100 MNCs.

  • Grew annual sales from $5M to an impressive $600M in global markets.

  • Co-Founded ABC Company which became a market leader globally in 5 years.

The Experience section of the resume: The experience section of the resume should capture career achievements instead of responsibilities handled during different professional stints. You need to describe at least the recent 3-4 experiences in achievement-centric terms in reverse chronological order. It would be recommended to at least describe 3-5 major achievements for important roles.

If you are struggling to recollect your achievements for those relevant roles, then you can recall those special events or experiences when you must have been appreciated for making a meaningful difference with your contributions in the context of that role. Prepare a list of these achievements in 3-5 bullet points for each role.

Described below are a few examples of achievement-centric descriptions of the experience section for senior-level professionals in bullet points:

  • Curtailed operating costs by 35% and achieved a 25% gross profit margin through organizational restructuring initiatives and process reforms.

  • Saved $5M in project costs by implementing strategic roadmaps and optimizing resources.

  • Drove 30% improvement in productivity by championing people-centric initiatives and streamlining operations through the implementation of best practices.

Honors & Awards and Education Section: Include honors & awards in the topmost section of your resume if it is relevant to the position you are applying for. If you have a good enough list of accolades, then create a special space in your resume to prominently highlight your achievements, as this could serve as a crucial wow factor for influencing your recruiters.

If you are applying for a role that requires a certain type of certification or a degree such as an MBA, then do highlight it at the forefront and provide the complete details of that qualification in the education section at the end of your resume.

Listing the Contact Details and Social Media Links: Your details such as your name, mobile number, personal email address, and also your LinkedIn account or website links should be prominently highlighted on the top of your resume.

The other criteria that would be impressive for the recruiters to see in your resume may be your details of high-profile clients that you have handled, list of publications, affiliations/memberships, patents, board positions, and public speaking engagements.

To sum up, the wow factor provides your resume a differentiating edge and can maximize your chance of bringing you a step closer to the job that you have aspired for. So, utmost attention should be given to all those elements which make your resume sound memorable and impressive to wow the recruiters.

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