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There are ordinary, straightforward resumes that are considered conservative and traditional. You’ve seen them many times. In fact, your resume might fall under this category.  

Sometimes conservative is preferable, especially if the field is clinical or academic. However, there are ways to create interest without going overboard. Plainly prepared resumes do little to convince a hiring manager to read beyond the first few lines because nothing stands out and the resume fails to tell a professional story. Sadly, there is probably a lot of good experience being overlooked.  

To compete in today’s downturned job market, a resume must grab a reader’s attention and hold it. But how do you accomplish that goal without overdoing it visually? Well, there are many bells and whistles that can be used in a professional resume that make a resume interesting, targeted, content-rich, compelling, interesting, and story-telling. The short list includes: 

1.   Heading Statement

2.   Career Profile

3.   Company and Position Overviews 

4.   Select Achievements

5.   Testimonials, media mentions and awards  

A resume has a purpose – to convince a hiring manager that you are the right candidate. To ensure you do that, start with a format. It should be consistent in font, indents, bolding, bullets and line choices.  

To make yourself clear, use an objective statement instead of a standard objective. It is a direct, in-your-face way to immediately communicate what type of candidate you are.  

For example, instead of including a standard Objective category followed by a typical statement that reads, seeking a position in customer service utilizing extensive experience and education, start the resume off with, Customer Service Representative. Plain and simple, in all caps and bold. 

Instead of including a standard Summary of Qualifications category filled with attributes that say what everyone else's resume is saying, such as excellent communicator and team player, list what the employer is looking for. You can get this information from the job ad requirements.  

For example, if the position is Project Manager, make sure you have a subcategory about Project Highlights. If the job title is Training Facilitator, make sure you include a subcategory about Training Facilitation.  

You can place these subcategories under your Profile section at the top of the resume. Remember, you want to GRAB their attention, not bore them at the onset. 

It is always a good idea to include a brief overview of what the employer is about so the reader can appreciate your role. You can find this information under the About Us section on a company's website. Modify their information and only include a line or two that covers the type of industry, its products and services.

Instead of jumping right into what you do line-by-line, group all your day-to-day experience in a paragraph and list your most interesting experience under a subcategory called Select Achievements, Core Contributions, or something along those lines. Then bullet those select statements.  

Testimonials, media mentions and special awards are good things to add to a resume. But it has to be done properly. You can format the resume in a way that includes a panel on the side to place an excerpt in italics, followed by the person's name or job title or both.  

Another way to include special mentions is to include a line above and below the statement to create a visual border before the Professional Experience section to create a natural divider that also contains the testimonial.  

If you are a Program Manager, emphasize the programs your planned, developed and implemented under a Program Coordination section. If you are an Information Technology professional, list your Project Highlights and Technical Expertise. If you are a teacher, list Lesson Highlights.