10 seconds. This is the average amount of time recruiters have to scan your resume to decide if they will continue reading. How can you make your resume, that is sitting in a pile of 300 other resumes, be the one that stands out? It’s because of something called white space.
White space is the space around the text on your resume that is used to draw attention to the important elements of your document. It is the open space between design elements.
White space is something that many great advertisements have. The next time you’re reading a magazine or looking at a billboard, notice the amount of white space that is used in the ad. It’s the number one thing that many graphic designers use when creating advertisements because it makes the image stand out.
You need to treat your resume in a similar way if you want it to be noticed. Many job applicants try so hard to get all of their background and experiences on a one or two page resume that all of that text makes their resume very difficult to read. They make the margins so tight that a recruiter’s eyes can’t focus on the great information that they have to share. It’s hard on their eyes and it doesn’t make the recruiter want to keep reading.
Also remember that a recruiter is constantly scanning a resume and comparing it against the job you’re applying for. Are you allowing your qualifications to stand out? Is there enough white space so that a recruiter can locate your skills easily and identify you as a potential candidate.
Remember that your goal is for your skills and background to stand out. How do you create more white space on your resume to achieve this goal?
- Leave enough margins around your text. I recommend no less than .75 inches for the top, bottom and side margins. This will create enough white space so that a recruiter’s eyes can naturally focus on your content. Line up all of your main text to the left. The header at the top with your name, address, and contact information can be centered.
- Keep your font consistent throughout. Use only one font type and I recommend a minimum of an 11 pt. font.
- Use bold only for the key headers and information. Also use italics and underlining very sparingly. Using too much bold and italics is hard on the eyes. But if you use it for headers and important points only, it will make your content stand out.
These are just a few of the ways to create impactful white space. A considerable amount of white space provides a better impression of you, your skills and the value you provide. Giving your resume a chance to effectively showcase your skills is the first step to ultimately landing a job!
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Do you feel your resume has enough white space and is easy on the eyes?
What tips or tricks can you share that will help others format their resume so that a recruiter will want to read it?