The Key Thing Missing From Your Resume: Consistency

consistency-is-keyBy: Latisha Taylor, Career Advising Fellow

I am now knocking on the 4 month door of being here at Elon. Wow, time moves fast! Over the past several months, I have seen what has to be at least 150+ student resumes. I have gotten the chance to review various types of student resumes, ranging from first-year students updating their high school resume to a college resume all the way to law school students polishing their resumes for potential legal opportunities. Although every resume I see is different, there is one thing that seems to remain consistent: no consistency. More often than not, I see students that have really great experiences such as internships, study abroad, and volunteer opportunities. However, the lack of consistency on their resume sometimes supersedes all of those wonderful experiences.

A requirement you will regularly see on a job description includes: Must demonstrate attention to detail. Not having a consistent resume is the first way that an employer will be able to tell if you in fact pay attention to detail. Below are 5 key issues I have noticed on resumes that often lack consistency:

  1. Dates
    • This is where I have probably seen the most lack of consistency on student resumes. Students will be specific in giving the month and year in which they have been employed in one position and then in the other they give the season and year in which they work. For example, I have seen students write May-June 2015 and then for the next job they will write Fall 2015. No matter which route you take, just remain consistent with whichever format you decide to use.
  2. Dashes
    • I have seen this more often than not as well. When using dashes in between your dates, double check to make sure all of them look exactly the same. Whether it’s a long dash or a short dash, they should all be the same.
  3. Spacing
    • When formatting your resume, remain cognizant of spacing. What spacing you may ask? Spacing in-between sections, spacing in-between bulleted descriptions, ALL SPACING! If you use double spacing or 1.5 spacing to separate your sections, please make sure that is being applied to all of them.
  4. Font types
    • I actually see less of this which is a good sign! Needless to say, I have still seen some resumes where students use a certain font type for their heading and a totally different font type for the rest. The only time you may be able to get away with that is if it is a creative/graphic design resume. If it is not, keep it the same.
  5. Tenses
    • Last, but certainly not least, the use of tenses should also be used consistently. If you are presently in the position you should be writing in present If it is a past position you should be writing in past tense. Never should those two tenses be used together in one work experience. A great way to remember this is to check your dates (see above) and if your date includes present, your tenses should be present as well.

The moral of this blog post is to what? KEEP IT CONSISTENT! 🙂

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