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8 Inconsistencies That Can Break Your Resume

Matt Glodz
8 Inconsistencies That Can Break Your Resume

On your resume, consistency is key.

Sometimes the small things make the biggest impact, even if they can be time-consuming to perfect and seem unessential to your success.

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.

In reality, an interviewer may not even think twice about the fact that you wore a perfectly fitting suit or took the time to shine your shoes.

However, we can reassure you that 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."

You have as much time as you need to ensure that your resume is well-polished. 

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

1. Conflicting information

The information on your resume - such as job titles - should align with the information you present on other platforms such as LinkedIn.

You should also know the content of your resume inside out so that you do not reveal conflicting information during an interview, which could raise red flags about your truthfulness.

2. Different fonts and font sizes

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

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

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

3. Mixed up verb tenses

Generally speaking, your bullet points for your current position should 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.

5. Confusing sentence structure

You should incorporate parallel phrasing into your bullet points to make them easier to read by starting each bullet point with an action verb (developed, oversaw, led, devised, etc.).

Avoid long, complicated sentences that may confuse your reader.

6. Inconsistent spacing and margins

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

We recommend providing 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. 

Do not falsify information in this area 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. 

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


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 observed what drove the decision making of recruiters and hiring managers first-hand, noting that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his solid 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 currently works with applicants ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.

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