DEV Community

Cover image for How To Hack Your Resume Experience Section with "WOW-Effects" and Get Hired
Alex 👨🏼‍💻FullStack.Cafe for FullStack.Cafe

Posted on • Updated on

How To Hack Your Resume Experience Section with "WOW-Effects" and Get Hired

🔴 Originally published on FullStack.Cafe - Kill Your Tech & Coding Interview

Aloha Devs.

This is a second part of my series on "How To Enhance Your Miserable Developer Resume, Stop Look Despair and Get Hired (Fast)". You could read the first post over there, where I did explain on how you should build a resume summary and create a dead-right impression about your professional persona in first 3 seconds (the average span when recruiter decides to give you a chance to land $80-120k job or never look at your name again).

Don't miss: Read all the 9 tips on how to improve your developer resume on my blog

Today I will focus your attention on a resume experience section. That is the hardest bit but if you'll master it - your career is settled. First of all, let's look at these two examples of experience described:

Using and configuring Jenkins and other CI/CD tools

Doesn't it feel a bit different than, for example:

Configuration of more than 50 win services/web portals/APIs DEV/UAT/Production CI/CD pipelines using Jenkins. 95% grow of error-free dev-to-prod code delivery. Complete elimination of manual deployment practice. As a result ~210 dev hours been saved for the last year.

Yeah, it does! So tell me, which resume will you personally throw away?

Stop DOing, Start ACHIEVing

The only lesson I want you to soak today is:

— "In an experience section write on how did you improve the business of the company (with numbers!) and how did you achieved that rather than iterate on a list of what you was getting the pay check for."

Now let's learn how to do that based on some real examples. But first let's finally clarify what is a "WOW-effect".

What is WOW-Effect anyway?

From the psychology perspective, the Wow-effect appears at the moment of sincere surprise or delight, when our expectations are far exceeded.

WOW-effect in marketing (Cadbury's Gorilla ad)

Same as online marketing (and it's the famous Cadbury's Gorilla ad above) we use WOW-effect to spark an immediate reader's surprise and attract a genuine attention from a hiring person in order to keep our resume on top of their minds. So when it comes to developer resume the WOW-effect is achieved when the companies' quantifiable business success is directly attributed to your technical and professional competence and skills.

For example, instead of writing:

"Designed and implemented 2 Single Page Applications (SPA) as a part of Realine project" -> meh... soo boring...

put it like:

"Full-Stack development and launch of two marketing SPA apps (MEAN Stack, including implementation of ~50'000 reqs/sec pick load time Node.js API Gateway (Express + GraphQL)) that increased user's engagement with main web app by 35%". -> WOW! That guy is awesome!

Do you feel the sense of passion, competence, proficiency and "business" acumen fully embodied in the second sentence? Yeah, the employer will spot it too and wouldn't let it go.

How to Construct WOW-effects? Simple Formula for Success

Remember when writing about your experience we want to feed a recruiter with just two things:

  1. describe how did we change the business of the company using our technical skills and expertise
  2. and what did we achieve (not did) there

Keeping that in mind look at this simple WOW-effect formula:

Your responsibilities in action working on a system type/project resulting in quantifiable improvement for the business = WOW effect using the set of relevant list of technologies from your skills cloud.

For example:

  1. Documenting solution architecture for the high-volume customers-facing portal reducing the TTM (time-to-market) by 50% ensuring high code maintainability

  2. Assessing project requirements using Agile & Scrum principles related to the high-volume customers-facing portal that helped prioritise developing activities and reduce ad hoc work requests by 27%

  3. Capturing the best development practices in a way of common coding standards for a team of 14 developers that helped to decrease code complexity and improve maintainability of the shared libraries and components

  4. Fully automated infrastructure and environments cloud provisioning related to the critical progressive web application resulting in 4x cost reduction spent on hosting

  5. Experimenting with latest front-end technologies (MERN stack, Stencil.js + GraphQL) as a part of implementation of the high-volume external web app that helped to improve speed of web development (and reusability of web components) by 30%

  6. Handling full stack programming tasks for the development of the high-profile external web app using CRUD, SQLLite and Yii. As a result 6 bugs-free releases have been deployed just-in-time.

  7. Performing unit & load testing for the high-volume customers-facing portal applying knowledge of RSpec eliminating system's failure rate by 79%

  8. Design and configuration of the fully automated CI/CD lifecycle for the mission-critical external web app resulting in 4x reduction of average deployment time

  9. Developing new product features for the business-critical single page application applying knowledge of .NET Framework 4.x, ASP.NET MVC and ADO.NET, resulting in consistent deployment of 9 major products updates.

  10. Improving product aesthetic and UX of the high-volume customers-facing portal, resulting in 80% increase in users retention and 25% increase in conversion

  11. Migration of the existing DEV/USR/PRD environments to the cloud for the high-volume progressive web application resulting in reduce of servers and infrastructure administration cost by 94%

  12. Reverse-Engineering 10 legacy modules related to business-critical internal web application, uncovering security flaws and outdated privacy practices fixed in upcoming releases

  13. Providing technical and leadership assistance for the developer team members related to the mission-critical internal web application resulting in 54% of onboarding time decrease


Placeholders for WOW-Effects

So when constructing your experience section use that list of common developer responsibilities:

  • Developing New Product Features
  • Implementing New API Endpoints
  • Refactoring Legacy Code Base
  • Reverse-Engineering Legacy Libraries/Packages
  • Performing Unit & Load Testing
  • Maintaining Legacy Systems
  • Scoping Project Requirements
  • Transforming Client Needs Into Product Features
  • Conducting A/B Testing
  • Improving Product Aesthetic and UX
  • Integrating With Third-Party Services and API
  • Documenting Solution Architecture
  • Creating Code Standards
  • Managing Team Members
  • Profiling, Troubleshooting & Bugs Fixing
  • Reviewing The Quality Of Code & Design
  • Designing New Database Schemas
  • Collaborating With Stakeholders
  • Experimenting With Latest Technologies
  • Administrating Cloud Environments
  • Configuration of CI/CD Pipelines
  • Mentoring New Team Members

and that handy list of corresponding responsibilities in actions:

  'Developing New Product Features': [
    'Developing new product features for the',
    'Full Stack development of the',
    'Handling full stack programming tasks for the development of the',
    'Developing new and customisation of the existing features for the'
  'Implementing New API Endpoints':[
    'Developing, design and implementation of the new API endpoints as a part of',
    'Implementation of the set of new API endpoints related to the',
    'Design and implementation of the 99.99% up-time REST API for the'
  'Refactoring Legacy Code Base':[
    'Refactoring the legacy code base of the',
    'Improving the quality of the legacy code base for the',
    'Refined and improved the existing code for the',
    'Consolidation and refactoring the legacy program modules of the',
    'Provided technical expertise and updates in code for the'
  'Reverse-Engineering Legacy Libraries/Packages':[
    'Reverse-Engineering legacy modules related to',
  'Performing Unit & Load Testing': [
    'Performing unit & load testing for the'
  'Maintaining Legacy Systems':[
    'Maintaining newly developed and legacy systems'
  'Scoping Project Requirements':[
    'Scoping project requirements using Agile & Scrum principles related to the',
    'Assessing project requirements using Agile & Scrum principles related to the'
  'Transforming Client Needs Into Product Features':[
    'Transforming client needs into the new product features for the',
    'Coordinated with engineering and product teams in identification of customer requirements for the'
  'Conducting A/B Testing':[
    'Designing experiments and conducting UX/UI A/B tests for the',
    'Building hypothesis and executing the set of A/B tests related to the',
    'Conducting split tests related to the',
    'Conducting A/B testing related to the',
  'Improving Product Aesthetic and UX': [
    'Improving product aesthetic and UX of the',
    'Revamping UI, UX and overall design aesthetic of the'
  'Integrating With Third-Party Services and API': [
    'Integrating with third-party services and external APIs as a part of implementation of the'
  'Documenting Solution Architecture':[
    'Documenting solution architecture for the',
  'Creating Code Standards': [
    'Creating mature, unambiguous coding standards',
    'Capturing the best development practices in a way of common condign standards'
  'Managing Team Members': [
    'Oversaw full lifecycle of software development for the',
    'Managing and leading the team of software developers worked on the'
  'Profiling, Troubleshooting & Bugs Fixing':[
    'Profiling, Troubleshooting & Bugs fixes for the',
    'Resolved technical problems relating to the',
    'Identification and implementation of the crucial code improvements for the'
  'Reviewing The Quality Of Code & Design':[
    'Reviewing the quality of code for the',
    'Improving efficiency and effectiveness of coding practices conducted for the',
    'Participating in peer code reviews for the'
  'Optimising Data Storages and Search Queries':[
    'Optimising existing data storages and reporting queries for the',
    'Optimising legacy data storages and search queries for the',
    'Performance tuning of the legacy data storages and search queries of the',
    'Making the best use of the legacy data storages as a part of maintenance of the',
    'Addressing database performance issues related to the'
  'Designing New Databases and Data Schemas':[
    'Designing new databases and data schemas for the'
  'Collaborating With Stakeholders':[
    'Collaborating with stakeholders as a part of implementation of the',
    'Conducting requirements gathering and validation as a part of collaboration for the'
  'Experimenting With Latest Technologies': [
    'Experimenting with latest front-end technologies as a part of implementation of the',
    'Experimenting with latest front-end frameworks for the',
    'Identification of the optimal tech stack as a part of RND activities for the'
  'Cloud Environments Administration & Configuration':[
    'Migration of the existing DEV/USR/PRD environments to the cloud for the',
    'Fully automated infrastructure and environments cloud provisioning related to the',
  'CI/CD Pipeline & Lifecycle Configuration': [
    'Design and configuration of the fully automated CI/CD lifecycle for the',
  'Mentoring New Team Members':[
    'Mentoring and couching newly hired team members related to the',
    'Conducting educational sessions for new team members as a subject matter expert (SME) for the',
    'Providing leadership as a subject matter expert (SME) for the',
    'Providing technical and leadership assistance for the developer team members related to the'
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Don't forget if you want to improve your developer resume/cv and get hired 2x faster check the full article on my blog

Liked what you've learned? Share it with fiends and good luck!

Discussion (6)

ktkization profile image
Ken Thuku

Should one take all the glory for achievements done as part of a team effort?

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

What I notice about most of these is that they include a percentage point. Most people don't have stats of how much their contribution improved a client's project... and most prospective employers know that.

One of the first things I'd as such a candidate is to describe the process that was used to generate that number.

tmpou1 profile image
Thomas P

I understood the idea, but I can't understand how to measure your personal contribution with KPIs, because all the KPIs that come to mind also rely on the work of my teammates (dev but also project managers etc...).
For anyone with experience in this field, what would be the most significant KPIs and how can they be measured?

awwsmm profile image
Andrew (he/him)

Great tips, Alex. I've bookmarked this for future reference.

What do you think about developers putting their key skills in bold within prose on a resumé? I feel like I've seen this a lot recently (and have used it myself).

shadid12 profile image
Shadid Haque

I've been using the bold effect myself. It has been working for me.

svenvarkel profile image
Sven Varkel

I'll keep this post handy. Not that I need to send my resume anywhere but in order to compare and check out those devs who blindly copy-pasted from here ... :P