If you are gearing up to craft the perfect resume, take a moment and read this. For a perfect resume is not made of just the right content but also the right presentation. Everything from page margins and spacing to the font type and size you use will contribute towards how your resume will be perceived by a hiring manager. Always format your resume to the T.
It is the little things that make all the difference when you are building your resume; the things you might not even have paid attention to. When formatting your resume it is important to follow the standard resume margin guidelines to make that great first impression and to have a professional-looking testimony of your skill sets and experience.
Standard Margins for Resumes
Resume margins are the white space that frames your resume. Margins can affect how hiring managers view your resume and whether they’re able to effectively read it. For example, having too narrow margins might cause your resume to look cluttered and unprofessional. Too wide of a margin may make it look like you don’t have enough information to fill the page.
The standard resume margin setting should be one inch on all four sides. While it is all right to reduce this margin a bit should you require more space, ensure that you don’t make it smaller than half an inch. Smaller margins make your resume look text-heavy.
Since most of us try to keep our resumes down to a single page, it is likely that you might feel tempted to reduce the margins greatly to buy precious space on your resume. However, career experts now agree that it is all right to go beyond a one-page resume. So stop trying to cram in information, it only makes your resume look crowded.
For a visually balanced resume, reserve the left side of the page for important information such as work experience and achievements. The right side is where additional information comes in.
How to Properly Set Resume Margins in MS Word and Google Docs
- For one inch margins click on Layout>> Margins >> Normal
- For custom, margins click on Layout>> Custom margins
- Go to File>> Select Page Setup to adjust margins from this window
Make Sure it Aligns
Now that you’ve got your resume margins right, let’s move on to the text.
Align your text to the left, don’t center it. Centering it makes it look forced and stretched while left aligning it makes it more readable. Most formal documents are left-aligned and it looks most natural to all left to right readers. Often people might choose to center align their names and contact details. While this is fine, ensure it doesn’t disturb the overall text on your resume.
If you thought that most job searches and applications occur online these days and have thereby made printed resumes obsolete, think again. It always pays to have a few printed copies of your resume handy. Hiring managers and recruiters usually like to have a print out ready for the interview. This means you also need to keep print margins in mind to ensure nothing gets cut out when the document is printed.
To ensure a good print set standard margins for the resume; a narrow margin will risk text getting cut out. Font styles and sizes matter a great deal here. Cut out the fancy font and instead choose something more sensible and visually appealing. Use simple and legible font styles in size 12. Avoid fancy fonts altogether. The most common fonts used in resumes are:
- Serif fonts (with tails): Times New Roman, Georgie, Garamond.
- Sans Serif fonts (without tails): Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic, and Lucida Sans.
Leave enough white space between lines to lend visual relief to the document. In your bid to pack in more information don’t compromise on this spacing. It can lead to a resume looking very crammed. Once you’ve finalized your resume don’t forget to save a PDF copy of it; this will ensure that the document gets printed correctly.
Resume Margins – Guidelines
- Most recruiters and hiring managers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that are very specific about the data being fed into them. Your resume is likely to go through this ATS when you apply for a job. To ensure the software picks up your document, stick to standard formatting and margins. It is likely that the software will not pick up your document if its style and formatting don’t meet its requirements.
- Always try and use standard settings for your resume; this includes margins and fonts. Experimenting too much in this aspect could take the focus away from the contents of your resume.
- Do your homework before you begin work on your resume. Chances are that looking at other templates and formats might give you some ideas to make your resume better.
- Use bullet points in sections such as Skills, Work Experience, and Hobbies to ensure you not just stick to the point but also avoid putting out wordy paragraphs.
You might think it is a great idea to unleash your creativity in your resume to put your most creative foot forward or to stand out from the rest. Truth is this is not the case. Almost everything you include in your resume typically comes under intense scrutiny, including the presentation. Here simplicity and readability are the most preferred features most hiring managers look for. Do just that then; keep your resume simple and readable.
Creative resumes might be exceptions to the case here. However, you might want to be careful with these as well. As mentioned earlier, most applicant tracking software may not pick up your document if it does not match the style and content an ATS is programmed for.