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Justified Vs. Left-Justified Formatting on a Resume

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Employers are often bombarded with more resumes than they need, so when the resume looks disorganized with misaligned text or alignment inconsistencies, it discourages the resume reviewer from wanting to review further. Also, with more employers relying on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help filter out the top resumes of relevance, formatting is critical to ensure these systems can read the content.

Resume Formatting

When you learned the English language, you learned to read and write from left to right, so it makes sense to always have your content on the resume left-justified. This prevents irregular spacing and uncomfortable reading. The only time you should consider a justified, or centered, format is for your name, contact information and summary of qualifications. These are key elements in your resume that may deserve different formatting than the rest of your content.

Applicant Track System Benefits

When applying for any job, it's important that you follow the application instructions carefully, particularly when it comes to resume formatting. Many large employers use an ATS to filter out the top resumes that match the job before they go to the reviewer. Elements such as tables and text boxes should be avoided because content within these elements can't be read by the ATS. When you simplify things by using a left-justified alignment throughout your resume, it will still look organized in case formatting changes occur when the employer opens your document with a different software program than yours.


Wendy Lau entered the communication field in 2001. She works as a freelance writer and prior to that was a PR executive responsible for health care clients' written materials. Her writing experience include technical articles, corporate materials, online articles, blogs, byline articles, travel itineraries and business profile listings. She holds a Bachelor of Science in corporate communications from Ithaca College.

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