Writing your resume to attract the kind of attention your career deserves is a challenge. Content is critical… but your formatting and strategy are equally important!

One of the best resume branding techniques (that can escape your notice even if you review executive resume samples) is changing resume section headings for greater impact.

An easy way to reinforce your personal brand message, descriptive headings give your reader a heads-up on the value of your experience, education, or achievements.

Classic headings, of course, are important for getting your resume past automated systems (see Making Your Resume Format Machine-Friendly for tips). However, you’ll also need HUMAN readers to take note of your qualifications.

Use these ideas to jumpstart creative thinking for each section of your resume, with branded, innovative headings that hammer home your promise of value:

Your Professional Experience.

There’s no law that requires your experience to be contained in a section called Work History.

What about Sales Achievements and Performance or Technical Leadership Experience? Why not try Operations Management Career if your focus is a new role in manufacturing production or within a call center?

This sample VP Medical Affairs resume shows how Executive & Clinical History is used to unite a diverse career background.

This technique is especially effective if you’re trying to direct attention toward a specific part of your experience, helping connect disparate parts of your career to the role you’re targeting.

Your Career Achievements.

Unfortunately, “Selected Career Highlights” has somehow become the standard for a first-page grouping of accomplishments on a resume.

Here, however, is where you can quickly switch things up for added interest, as shown by these example headings:

  • Technology and Business Leadership is a powerful heading if you’re aiming for an IT executive role, such as Program Manager, IT Director, VP Technology, or CIO
  • Examples of Analytical Leadership works well if you’re pursuing an insurance industry or operations role

To create a unique heading for your achievements, wrap a keyword or desired result into the heading title, then add a focus on results.

This sample resume for a CFO uses Capital Administration, Strategic Planning, & Executive Leadership Highlights to represent career high points.

Other heading examples include:

  • Presales Revenue & Account Wins for a technical sales engineer
  • Scientific & Performance Benchmarks for achievements in R&D

Your Professional Education or Training.

Here is where things get interesting if you haven’t finished a degree. University Education or College Studies can be a great heading for when you’ve only started your post-secondary education, but haven’t earned the degree or certificate.

Professional Sales Development also works well if you’re a sales candidate who has completed top-flight courses (think Anthony Robbins, Miller-Heiman, etc.) related to closing, consultative selling, and other successful techniques – even if you don’t hold a degree.

Even a mix of seemingly unrelated education can be grouped into Specialized Training or Technology Concepts Studied, providing a cohesive message about the relevance of your professional development activities.

In summary, rethink the classic “parts” of your resume, using customized section headings as part of your brand message.

Keeping your audience interested and engaged is crucial! Attract them with a strong message of value – repeated and reinforced throughout your resume – and your job search can be shortened considerably.

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