Remember the scene in the movie Legally Blonde where the main character hands in a pink, scented resume saying that it gives her resume that little something extra? Well, before you run out to the craft store to find scented/colored paper, let's take a look at some other ways to give your resume a little more punch:
1) Include success stories. Think of the stories in the STAR model: Situation/Task/Action/Result. Having these specific examples in your resume not only demonstrates how you did your job, but what impact it had on the organization.
2) Build in some metrics. EVERYONE is capable of this whether you were a line cook or a CEO. Think about monies saved, labor hours reduced, revenues generated, profit margins increased, etc. And don't worry about having a ton of documentation to back it up. While I would never suggest that you embellish a resume (did I say never? I meant NEVER), I think that some job seekers are fearful that they will be asked to provide a thesis paper explaining how they reduced labor hours by 13% in 2007. Instead, be prepared to talk the interviewer through any of the STAR statements on your resume so that they understand that you know your 'stuff'!
3) Have a consistent style. Try to avoid first person. Always spell check. Use the same font throughout. Although using both Italics and Bold are perfectly acceptable-having Times New Roman, Arial, and Comic Sans all in one document, not so much.
4) Save the razzle dazzle for other projects. Don't use unusual paper, 3 ring binders, fancy presentation materials, etc. Most places want you to email/upload a resume anyway. Those few companies who still take paper resumes (whether it's in an interview or application process) probably want to make copies and eventually stick it in a folder. Stick with plain white or cream paper. One of the "job search coaches" at my local unemployment office was apparently telling her folks that if you don't have a watermark, no one will read your resume. While this may have been true back when the earth was still young, it is absolutely not the case now. Think to yourself: "Can this be photocopied easily?" If the answer is yes, you've made the right paper selection.
5) Speell Checkk!! Nothing negates a well written resume more than a bunch of typos. Remember that you should probably spell check it at least twice after you finish, and then have a friend or two go over it one more time after that.
And while it doesn't deserve it's own number, I think that this would have been an Elle Woods consideration. Pictures on a resume? I wouldn't do it if I were you! Good luck job seekers!