One of the most common issues I see when I look at resumes is a lack of consistency. Consistency is one of the most essential elements of resume writing, and it’s often overlooked. Here are some areas where folks tend to be inconsistent:
Formatting: This is a biggie! Make sure your formatting is consistent.
- Spacing: Look at your spacing between lines as well as before and after headings – make sure the number of spaces after each heading is the same throughout the whole resume.
- Text Formatting: If your “Profile” or “Summary” heading is bold and underlined, make sure your “Experience” and “Education” headings are bold and underlined as well.
- Tabs and Indents: If your dates are tabbed to the right of the document for one job, make sure they are tabbed to the right for all jobs. Make sure all your paragraphs and text sections are indented properly and to the same tab position throughout the document.
- Bullets: Bullets are key as well: make sure all tab stop positions/indents and bullet types are the same in each section.
Tone: Make sure the tone is the same in each section of your resume. Whether you have a conversational tone or a professional, bare-bones language style, keep it consistent.
Tenses: If you are describing your responsibilities in your current job, keep the language in the present tense; if you are describing a past job, keep that section in the past tense. Sounds easy, but many people slip in this area (most commonly, they forget to change the section for a given job to past tense once they have left it).
Get a Second Pair of Eyes!
Have someone else take a look at your resume. Chances are, you’ve been looking at it for so long you’re used to the content and may not be able to spot inconsistent areas. Ask a friend (especially if your friend is a recruiter or hiring manager!), relative, or a professional such as myself to review it. You’ll be happy you did!