Most Common Resume Formatting Mistakes

Formatting your resume correctly is very important to pass the applicant tracking systems (ATS). To ensure that your resume is compliant make sure you are not making the following mistakes:

1. Improper Fonts

The font you use on your resume should be easy to read and look clean and professional. You do not want to use cursive or hard to read fonts as that would negatively affect your chance of passing the ATS. If you want to draw the reader’s attention to something, use Bold, Italics, or Underline options instead of using different fonts. Some popular fonts to use on your resume are:

  • Cambria
  • Calibri
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Arial

2. Long Sentences

Your resume should be easy to read; keep your sentences short and to the point. Divide up your sentences so the hiring manager can easily pick out key points. Employers get hundreds of resumes for each job application so you need to make your resume stand out, it should not be time-consuming.

3. Irregular Spacing

Your resume should have a clean uniform look. Keep the space between paragraphs the same throughout the resume. It should not look uneven or have big gaps between some paragraphs while being cramped in other places.

4. Fancy Borders or Margins

Do not add a fancy border or shorten the margins around the page below 1 inch. While it may make the resume look attractive it is unnecessary and can ruin the uniform look of the document. It also may not look the same when the employer downloads it on their computer or pass the ATS.

5. Inconsistent Date Formats

Make sure all your start and end dates are formatted the same way. Do not put “23 – March – 2021” for start and then have something like “June 2022” for the end date. It should be consistent, MM-YEAR or just YEAR is normally good enough.

6. Too Many Sections

Splitting your resume into different sections such as “Education, Areas of Expertise, Professional Experience, etc.” is important but you do not want to overdo it. Keep all work experience (even internships or part-time work) under a heading such as “Professional Experience”. You do not need separate sections for each. That will only cause confusion and take up space on the resume.

7. Wrong File Format

You should only use PDF or Word Format when sending your resume to employers. Any other format will most likely not pass the ATS. It also does not look professional.

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