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The Pros and Cons of a Two Column Resume

As a job seeker, finding ways to stand out from other applicants is critical. One way to do this is by using a two column resume. This article provides an overview of the two column resume, its benefits and drawbacks, and how to optimize it for success.

What is a Two Column Resume?

Unlike the traditional one-column resume, the two column resume is a document with two columns of text. The column on the left typically contains personal information, such as name and contact information, while the column on the right contains details about skills, achievements, and work experience.

Pros and Cons of a Two Column Resume


  • The two column resume makes it easier for recruiters to read your resume by allowing them to quickly identify your skills, achievements, and experience.
  • The visual appeal of the two column resume makes it stand out from traditional resumes and can help you make a strong first impression.
  • It can allow you to better organize and prioritize the information on your resume.


  • Not all applicant tracking systems (ATS) can properly read and parse the formatting of a two column resume, which could impact your chances of getting through the screening process.
  • A poorly designed two column resume can look cluttered and disorganized, which may lead to confusion and frustration for recruiters.
  • The amount of information that can be included is limited by the formatting.
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Formatting and Design

The formatting and design of your two column resume can greatly impact the effectiveness of your application. Here are some tips for improving the visual appeal and readability of your resume:

Use Columns Effectively

Use columns effectively to create a sense of balance and hierarchy, making sure that the most important information is easily accessible. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Use two columns, and make sure that they are of equal width.
  • Use bold text, headlines, or typography to create a clear hierarchy of information.
  • Use bullet points instead of long paragraphs to make the content easier to read.

Use An Attractive and Consistent Design

Using a consistent design is essential to give a professional look to your resume. Here are some tips to help achieve this:

  • Use a clean and easy-to-read font throughout the document.
  • Make sure the spacing between text, heading, and bullet points is consistent throughout.
  • Use colors sparingly to highlight specific text, such as headings, but don’t overdo it.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

To increase your chances of getting through the ATS screening process, it’s essential to optimize your two column resume. Here are some effective strategies to consider:

  • Avoid using graphics, images, or tables as these may not be parsed by the ATS system.
  • Use keywords that align with the job description and responsibilities, as this will help your resume get scored higher by the ATS.
  • Keep text formatting simple, using headings and bullet points, and avoid using fancy fonts or graphics.

Work Experience

One of the biggest benefits of a two column resume is that it allows you to better showcase your skills, achievements, and work experience. Here’s how you can use the two column format to create an effective job description:

  • In the right column, use bullet points to outline your key responsibilities and accomplishments, making sure to prioritize experience relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • Use the left column to list your job title, company name, date range of employment, and location.
  • Highlight your strongest achievements or accomplishments by using bold text or highlighting, and make sure they are within the first few bullet points.
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Overall, the two column resume can be an effective tool to differentiate yourself from other job applicants. By using effective design and formatting, optimizing for ATS screening, and highlighting your skills and experiences, you can create a successful, attention-grabbing resume that stands out from the rest.


Q: Is a two column resume suitable for all industries?

A: While a two column resume can be a great way to stand out in creative fields or industries where visual resumes are more acceptable, it may not be suitable for all professions. More traditional industries may prefer a more standardized one-column format.

Q: How can I know if my two column resume will get through an ATS system?

A: Each ATS system may have its own requirements for parsing resumes. It’s best to keep your formatting simple and avoid using too many graphics and images, as these may not be compatible with certain systems. You can also use online tools to check how well your resume will perform against ATS screening.

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