Using white space on your resume can significantly improve its appeal and readability. It is, essentially, the key to accentuating the content of your resume. Both design aspects and text can only stand out and catch the recruiter’s eye if there is enough space for them to do so. So, to create a polished and organized resume, it’s vital to use the white space on your resume effectively.
What is white space?
White space, often also referred to as negative space, is a section of your resume which remains empty to create space between paragraphs. The design principle of white space builds on the fact that an absence of content will draw your eye to the text. In a literal sense, white space refers to the amount of space left between paragraphs and words. If your text creates solid blocks of grey writing, the reader will feel overwhelmed. So instead, you should use white space to help you create a text that’s easy to read and looks inviting.
How to use white space on a resume
Getting the right amount of white space in a resume can be tricky. If you leave too much white space, your resume may take on a bare, bland look. But, not enough white space can result in it looking disorganized and messy.
You should use white space to make your resume look organized and neat. That way, the recruiter does not have to search for each section on a cluttered, cramped A4 page. Leaving white space between the sections highlights the main focus points of your resume. This can, in turn, increase the reader’s comprehension by as much as 20%, as research shows that focusing on comprehending effectively spaced text is much easier.
When presenting your achievements or skills on your resume, use short bullet points that are no longer than one line. If you want to avoid bullet points, you can also group your experience into short text blocks. However, remember that each block should not be longer than six lines. After each text block, leave sufficient white space. Separating your paragraphs will give the text a clear starting and ending point, making it easier to read and navigate.
To make your professional resume look neat and elegant, use the same formatting style when listing all your previous employers, jobs, and dates. Switching between different formats will make your resume look unprofessional and messy.
Because there is no “correct” margin width that would work for every single resume, you may want to try tweaking the margins. That way, you can see for yourself what looks the best and leaves enough space for your content. In my opinion, a width of 0.5-1.0 inches is optimal.
Fill the page
Leaving half a page empty, even if it is the second page of your resume, may raise red flags in the hiring manager’s mind. It may even look as though your experiences are not sufficient to fill up space. No matter the number of pages you decide to aim for, make sure the whole page is always filled. Should you not be able to fill it, try adjusting the document to reduce what remains on the extra page.
Example of poor use of white space:
Example of good use of white space:
Tip: Your resume should never be one huge block of text. After all, you’re not writing a book. Dark, seemingly never-ending text clutters are nightmare material for hiring managers and recruiters.
Your resume is the first impression that the recruiter will have of you and using white space effectively can make a great difference. Many “call to action” invitations urging you to click on something on websites are created by using white space. Try and do the same with your resume. Make use of your sufficient white space, which will highlight your professional experiences or accomplishments, and urge the recruiter to invite you for a personal interview.
Remember: To check if you have enough white space, hold your resume far enough that you can’t read the words. Then, ask yourself whether it’s pleasing to the eye and has clearly defined sections. You want your resume to have enough white space and balanced margins.