We’ve all been there . . . the place where you want employers to read your resume and say “Wow.” But what exactly is a wow factor and how do you give your resume a striking wow factor? Your wow factor is the most important, impressive, and valuable information about you as a candidate. It’s the top two or three things you want the employer to immediately know about you so they’ll be impressed and keen to learn more.
Your wow factor is part of your personal brand. It’s what distinguishes you from other similarly qualified candidates. It must be prominent throughout your resume, especially at the top so that it won’t be missed and will instantly put your best foot forward.
What Your Wow Factor Needs
Your wow factor or personal brand statement must include a few specific elements to ensure it’s memorable and impressive.
It must be specific. Your wow factor must tell about what you’ve achieved, not what you were responsible for or might have done. Include quantifiable or measurable data, if possible.
Here’s an example of a vague statement:
- Responsible for contract closings and revenue growth.
Here’s an example of a specific statement:
- Grew contract closings 68% and increased gross revenue 40% for 2019.
It needs to show action. The easiest way to do this is to replace passive language like “responsible for” and “duties included” with action verbs like “grew,” “developed,” “pioneered,” or “transformed.”
You can download a list of 170+ resume action verbs to help you craft better resume bullets here.
Where to Include Your Wow Factor
You can include wow content throughout your resume. It can go anywhere, but here are a few specific places to include it:
I’ve never been a big fan of a bland, generic resume summary. I’m a huge proponent of what I call a career snapshot. It’s basically a snapshot of two to three of your wow statements. The most impressive and noteworthy information about you as a candidate. It gives readers a quick glance at what you’ve accomplished.
I recommend limiting it to two to three wow statements for your summary. You don’t want to overdo it, but you also want to grab the reader’s attention and impress them. Alternatively, you can include one wow statement at the top of your resume as part of your personal branding statement and then add one or two into your summary. That way you’re giving them three memorable pieces of data about the value you can create.
For an example of what this could look like on your resume take a look at this modern entry-level template.
When writing your wow statements, be concise. It’s easy to be verbose, it’s harder to say what you mean in the fewest words possible. However, fewer words make a bigger impact. You’re giving them a quick snapshot of content—you’re not giving them the full story quite yet. You can go into the details further down in the work experience section of your resume.
Don’t forget to incorporate hard skills. These are the industry-specific keywords that hiring managers will be scanning your resume for, and including them in your wow statements is a great way to capture attention.
Here are three examples of wow statements we used on a client’s resume who was a CEO, board member, and chairman.
✓ Transformed the MRC Companies’ operating model into a technology-enabled global contact services company with 30 locations in 7 countries.
✓ Defined the strategies to grow revenue from $20M to $400M+ and EBITDA from $500K to $42M+.
✓ Co-founded and built a dedicated customer service business model that reached 3K employees in 3 years.
Instead of listing out the responsibilities for the role, jump straight into your top accomplishment in the position. You’re immediately conveying success in the role when you start with your top achievement.
I recommend including at least two to three major wins under each role. If you’re struggling to come up with impressive content for a certain role, ask yourself when you have been first or best in relation to the role. You can also think about the number one thing you achieved in the position. Make these answers to these two questions your first two to three bullets.
Here are examples of bullets from the same CEO client’s resume under the experience section:
- Established a value-added board of directors that was fully aligned with the mission and vision of the organization and primed to take the business into the future.
- Produced consistent gains across NPS and customer service, sales conversion, and quality with a largely Fortune 500 client base.
- Navigated the sale of the organization to a private equity group–creating a successful exit for investors with a return of 3.5x investment.
Education, Honors, Awards
I recommend including honors and awards at the top of your resume if they’re relevant to the role you’re targeting. We’ve worked with many sales executives who were recognized in President’s Club but had never included this at the forefront of their resume. Prominently position your honors and awards. If you have a collection of accolades, create a section to show them off. It can be a powerful wow factor to impress hiring managers. Employers love hiring winners.
If you’re seeking a role that requires an MBA or a certain type of degree or certification, don’t bury the information at the bottom of your resume. Instead, reference it at the top of your resume, then give the details in the education section at the end of your resume or in a separate technical skills section if you’re in a tech-related field.
Additional Wow Information to Consider
Other content that might be relevant to include on your resume that would be impressive for hiring managers to see:
- Media mentions
- High-profile clients (think household brand names)
- Board positions
- Public speaking engagements
- Special affiliations
If you’re struggling to uncover content for your wow statements here are some questions to help you get started:
- When have I contributed to a business’s success? What were the results?
- How have I been publicly recognized? What do people come to me for?
- Which of my accomplishments have quantifiable data?
- Have I turned around a difficult situation or made a failure into a success?
- What am I most proud of in this role?
- What am I most proud of in my career?
For examples of resumes written with personal branding and wow factor statements, head over to our resume samples page on our website. There you’ll find examples of client resumes that we’ve created that include wow statements.
Are you struggling to create an executive resume that will impress employers? Download this FREE executive resume template and receive a series of 10 emails with expert guidance on how to write resume content that resonates with employers so you get more interviews.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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