When you think of your resume, does the word “cluttered” come to mind?

Over the past 20 years, I have read thousands of resumes, first as a recruiter, now as a professional resume writer and career coach. I can always recognize the ones written by a professional resume writer and those written by individuals without any training.

Some resumes are easy to read, others are difficult, usually because of the formatting. Resumes need to be written so the reader can easily scan and understand what is printed on the page.

This is where “white space” becomes useful. Simply put, it is empty space on your resume.

  • Margins: There needs to be white space for the top, bottom and side margins. A lack of margins is the primary reason why resumes look cluttered. It happens because people are trying to include more information on the page than there is room for, so they cut down on the margins in hope that the reader won’t notice. Trust me, they will. (Want to learn how to know if your resume should be 1, 2, or 3 pages? Check out this blog.)
  • Paragraphs: If there is no white space in your resume between paragraphs, the content becomes “dense” and hard to read. And since each paragraph holds a specific idea, its meaning will be difficult to figure out without proper spacing.

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  • Sentences: These are already separated by white space in your resume. But if you have “run on” sentences, you lose that natural break between thoughts, making a sentence difficult to understand.
  • “Tight writing” means that the writing on the page is concise and to the point. Ifthe resume looks cluttered, that can always be improved by editing down the content to make it “tighter.”

Back in 2018, a study was done on how long it takes recruiters to read and immediately understand a resume. The average was 7.4 seconds. That’s not a ton of time! So, anything you can do to make your resume easy-to-read will help you stand out.

If you will watch the video clip here, I will use my own resume to give some examples of how to effectively use white space in your resume.

And if you have a resume you would like to discuss, you can click here to schedule a free consultation. One of the things we will do is assess if there is enough white space in your resume to make sure it’s easily understood by recruiters!