How to Find the Perfect Resume Margins

Maddie Lloyd
by Maddie Lloyd
Get The Job, Guides - 1 year ago
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When writing your resume, what size your margins should be might be one of the last things to cross your mind. You’re probably more focused on detailing all of your skills, work experience, and education.

Something as trivial as resume margins might seem like a tedious and nagging thing to have to think about when you’re trying to find a job, but the aesthetic appearance of your resume is almost as important its contents.

But here’s the kicker:

The way that your resume looks is the first thing that employers will notice, and it can even determine if you get an interview, or if you get thrown into the trash pile.

Here’s everything you need to know about what size your resume margins should be:

What size should my resume margins be?

The standard for the size of resume margins is 1-inch on all sides. This size is particularly useful for recent graduates or job applicants who don’t have much job experience, because it will make the text on your resume seem more full than it actually is, without creating too much white space.

On the other hand, if you’ve got a fairly lengthy amount of job experience and are trying to maintain a certain resume length, you can adjust your margins to as small as ½ inch to fit your work and education history into however many pages is appropriate for your experience level.

So, the golden rule for margins is no larger than 1 inch, and no smaller than ½ inch. If your margins are too small, your resume will look cramped and chaotic. If your margins are too large, your resume will come off as empty. Find the middle ground that works for you.

Rules for resume length

While we’re on the topic of resume length, have you ever found yourself wondering “How long should my resume be?” If so, you’re in luck, because we have all the information you need.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all standard for resume length. Once upon a time, the rule was that resumes should never exceed one page in length, but nowadays the rules are a bit more lenient.

Your resume should be one page if:

  • You’re an entry-level candidate
  • You have less than ten years of experience
  • You’re entering a new field or industry
  • You’re looking for an internship
  • You’re a recent graduate

Make your resume two pages if:

  • You have ten or more years of experience
  • You’re a mid-level candidate (five to ten years of relevant work experience
  • The job requires technical skills, and your resume requires space to list your technical knowledge or experience

Your resume should be three pages if:

  • You’re a senior-level manager or executive
  • You have a record of leadership roles or accomplishments
  • You’re in an academic or science field and have a list of publications, licenses, patents, professional courses, or public speaking engagements

Use the size of your margins to fit your appropriate resume length, but remember to keep it between ½ inch and 1 inch.

How to adjust margins in Microsoft Word

Click on “Layout” / “Margins” / “Normal” for 1 inch margins.

For setting your own margins, click on “Layout” / “Custom Margins” and adjust as needed.

How to adjust margins in Google Docs

Click on “File” / “Page Set Up”

You can adjust all of the margins from this window as needed.

Resume text alignment

To make the best use of your space, align the most important text of your resume to the left. This would include information like your previous employers, job titles, achievements, and responsibilities.

The right side of your resume should be reserved for additional information, like dates and job locations. This will ensure a balanced resume feng-shui.

Rules for creative resumes

If you’re considering mixing it up and throwing a creative resume at your next employer, here’s a tip — just don’t!

Employers prefer traditional resumes over creative ones because it’s difficult to design a creative resume that successfully communicates your message. Plus, all the fancy shmancy bells and whistles of your creative resume will distract from your experience and qualifications.

Also, creative resumes are hard for robots to read. So if you’re submitting your resume online, you’re better off sticking with a traditional resume format.

Sorry to stifle your creativity, but we just want to help you get the job of your dreams.

Now you know how big your resume margins should be! Hooray!

When you’re writing your resume that will surely get you all the jobs you ever apply for, remember to use the size of your margins to your advantage.

If you don’t have a lot of experience, bigger margins will make your resume look more full. If you’ve already piled up some work experience but don’t want to exceed a certain length, smaller margins can make your work history and qualifications fit into a certain amount of space.

Just remember — no bigger than 1 inch, and no smaller than ½ inch, and you’re good to go!