A resume is like music. Even if I don’t like a particular music style, I can at least appreciate the talent of the musicians. Similarly, even if I don’t like a particular resume style, I can at least appreciate it when that style is well formed. What is the number one factor in making any style look at good as it can? – Consistency.
The human brain is excellent at seeing patterns. When a person views a resume, the brain likes to see an evenness to the white space and that whatever pattern is set, it is consistent throughout. A well-formed resume is what I call, “easy on the eyes.”
I thought it would be beneficial to the reader to list those parts of a resume that are most often inconsistent.
Do all your left-hand margins line up exactly? When your bullets indent, do they all indent to the same column?
2. Bullet endings
When adding bullet points to your resume either end each bullet with a period or do not. Don’t end some with a period and have some end without one.
3. Bullet types
Pick a bullet type and stick with it. If using the round bullet, make sure your bullet size is always the same.
4. Section Headings
If you are going to capitalize and underline and boldface (or whatever) some section headings, make sure you do it the same way for all the same section headings.
Use one font for the entire document. If you change the font size for some parts of the document, like section headings, do it the same way throughout the document.
6. Line spacing
Make sure that you keep the same pattern of blank line spaces between every section. This is frequently missed by the writer and frequently noticed by the reader.
7. Date ranges
When showing the date range for a particular employment period make sure you:
- Start all date ranges in the same column
- Use exactly the same abbreviation pattern for each date
- Do not sometimes use a “-“ and sometimes use the word “to” or “thru”
- If you use dashes make sure all are the same size, and your resume doesn’t have some fat dashes and some skinny dashes
8. Verb tense
It is very annoying to the reader when the resume changes in verb tense from past to present and back again.
9. Subject person
Don’t switch between first and third person. I strongly recommend using first person and not third.
Reviewing your resume to ensure you are consistent across all these facets will go a long way to moving your resume from good to great!