career-advice

8 Inconsistencies That Will Break Your Resume

Matt Glodz
8 Inconsistencies That Will Break Your Resume

Inconsistencies on Your Resume Tell Recruiters You Lack of Attention to Detail

You know that sometimes the small things make the biggest impact.

Whether it's making sure your suit fits well or your shoes are clean and polished before heading to an interview, there's no denying that first impressions count.

An interviewer may not think twice about the fact that you wore a perfectly fitting suit or took the time to shine your shoes.

However, they'll most definitely notice if you walk into the room looking sloppy. 

The same principles apply to your job application materials: you need to pay attention to the smallest details.

It can be hard for recruiters to narrow down a pile of 100+ resumes into the 10-15 applicants who will be invited for an interview. 

As a result, the resume screening process can turn into an exercise of looking for any reason to say "no."

Before you press send, review this checklist of common resume inconsistencies to ensure they don't appear on yours.

1. Conflicting Information

You cannot have any conflicting information on your resume.

All of the information on your resume, such as dates and job titles, needs to align with the information you present on other platforms such as LinkedIn.

Once you land the interview, make sure that you don't reveal any information that conflicts with what you have listed on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

If you do, you could raise red flags regarding your truthfulness and the validity of the information. 

To prevent such mishaps, be sure to know the contents of your resume inside out before walking into an interview.

2. Different Fonts and Font Sizes

All section headings should be written using the same font and font size, as should all bullet points.

We don't recommend using more than two fonts on your resume.

When copy and pasting text from other documents, be sure to "paste as text" so that you do not accidentally bring in different formatting.

3. Mixed Up Verb Tenses

Your bullet points for your current position should generally be written in the present tense

Your bullet points for your previous roles and those describing completed projects in your current role should be in the past tense.

4. Incorrect Capitalization and Punctuation

Be sure to stick to traditional capitalization and punctuation conventions.

Take time to ensure that your grammar is 100% correct.

If you know that grammar isn't your forte, consider using a resume editing service or a free tool such as Grammarly.

5. Confusing Sentence Structure

You should start each bullet point with an action verb.

By doing so, you'll naturally utilize parallel phrasing, which is not only grammatically correct but also makes your resume easier to read.

Avoid any long, complicated sentences that may confuse your reader.

6. Inconsistent Margins and Spacing

Your spacing between sections should be exactly the same

If your resume is more than one page, your margins on both pages should be equal.

To ensure that your text is perfectly aligned, use tab stops instead of manually inserting spaces.

7. Varying Date Format

You should provide both the months and years that you worked in each role whenever possible.

Be sure to consistently spell out or abbreviate all months and use the same date format throughout your document. 

If you are worried about including dates from earlier roles because of potential age discrimination, we recommend leaving those roles off of your resume altogether.

Alternatively, you can put them into an Early Career section that doesn't include detailed date information. 

Do not falsify information to cover up an employment gap, for example, as a potential employer may reach out for references.

8. Multiple Colors

All your body text should be written in the same color: black. 

Remember that your resume should convey a highly-professional image. 

You should not use excessive colors or graphics to help you stand out, as these often have the opposite effect.

If you choose to use an accent color, be sure to apply it sparingly and uniformly.


About Resume Pilots

Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing firm and a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.

As a professional services firm, we take your reputation seriously. We are committed to delivering writing excellence and superior service while operating with integrity and discretion. Recruitment firms we partner with also trust us to consistently deliver quality documents for their clients.

Our writers have studied in the Ivy League and other top-tier universities and have strong writing backgrounds coupled with industry experience.

Here's how we can help you:

Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Writing Services: If you are looking for end-to-end support, hire one of our professional resume writers to rewrite your documents from the ground up.

Executive Resume Template Downloads: If you plan to prepare your own resume, consider using one of our classic, ATS-friendly resume templates for Microsoft Word.

To learn more about our services, book an introductory call with our founder here or email team@resumepilots.com.


About the AuthorMatt Glodz


Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He works with clients ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over 10 years.

He has been quoted on numerous business and career-related topics in outlets including Business Insider, CNBC, Fortune, Glassdoor, The Ladders, and Thrive Global.


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