Resume Writing

Standard Resume Margin Guidelines and Formatting Rules You Should Know

When building a strong resume, little things can make a difference. Things like the choice of formatting can affect the overall impression your resume makes on the recruiter. Font style, font size, spacing issues, and even following the right resume margin guidelines can change the way you craft your resume.

Selecting Margins for Different Resume

Standard resume and creative resume use different margin sizes. Creative resumes are more expressive than a standard resume; the resume margin rules are also more flexible when it concerns creative resumes.

The way to set the best margin for a resume is by adjusting the measure of the blank area on the page. To guarantee that the substance of your resume looks uniformly circulated and contains all essential data, consider choosing one between ½ of an inch and one inch. This gives enough space around the edge to outline your resume in an outwardly engaging manner.

Standard Resume vs. Creative Resume

A creative resume is a resume that does not follow the traditional ones. These resumes are typically catchy, creative, and designed to showcase your skill in ways that plain words on paper can’t capture.

Applicants with creative skills and qualifications use creative resumes with any medium appropriate to the job they are applying for. A graphics designer might create an infographic to showcase their design skills, while a TV director might make a video resume. The creative resume can also make use of elements from a traditional resume. Before submitting either a traditional or a creative resume, you must first consider the company or industry. 

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Resume Margin Rules for Creative Resumes

A creative resume is usually more elaborate, with graphics, colors, and other design elements. Resume margin rules are flexible for creative resumes, giving them more room to tinker around with the resume margins. When you have already formatted your resume in a structured way, you can reduce the margin to half an inch.

Standard Resume Margin Guidelines 

A one-inch margin is just right for standard resumes. This will set your text away from the edge of the page to give enough room for your information to stand out. The one-inch margin size standard helps make the resume look organized and easy to read. You may reduce the margin if you need more space but do not go beyond half an inch.

If you have less work experience, you may opt for the one-inch margin size. Otherwise, you may prefer a narrower page margin if you have more details to include in your resume.

A wider margin beyond an inch leaves your resume with too much white space, while a narrower margin makes it look cluttered and hard to read. Anything less than a half an inch margin on your resume could make it look overloaded with information. 

Proper Margin on Resume for Printing

Bearing in mind that the recruiter might print your resume, it is necessary to format your resume correctly to make sure information is not cut off or does not appear squashed after printing.

The generally accepted resume margin guidelines recommend a standard margin size of one inch to guarantee that nothing is cut off when the document is printed out.  If possible, use a laser printer as they are accurate and don’t smudge, ensuring your resume looks sharp.

Pick the correct paper size in the printing segment. If you are printing on an A4 paper, use the A4 setting. If you tell your computer you are using a different type of paper than what is in the printer, you will end up with inaccurate margins.

The type of paper used for printing can make all the difference, so choose a professional option to maximize your chance.

Resume Text Alignment

When creating your resume, make sure to align the texts to the left part of the page. Since documents are generally aligned this way, your resume would not cause unnecessary reading difficulties when being assessed.

Again, while the left part may contain important information such as previous employers and achievements,  the right side often includes additional information such as dates or job locations. This creates a visual balance for the resume.

How to Set Resume Margins in Word Processors

resume margin rules

Setting the margins on your resume depends on the software you are using to create the document. The following instruction shows how to set a margin for popular word processors.

Microsoft Word

How to adjust margins in Microsoft Word:

●       Select “Layout” (or “Page Layout” in some versions of Microsoft word) on the ribbon at the top of the screen.

●       Click on the “Margins” option.

●       Select the “Normal” option. This is pre-set to 1-inch margins. There are a variety of other selections, or you can just set your margin by clicking on “Layout ” then select “Custom Margins.”

Google Docs

How to adjust margins in Google Docs:

●       Click on the “File” drop-down menu item on the top left part of the screen.

●       Select the “Page Setup …” option.

●       In the window that opens, you will find margin settings on the right side. Enter “1” in each of the boxes for Top, Bottom, Left, and Right.

●       Click the “Set as Default” if you want to use these margins. Then click “OK.”


●       Click on “Help” “Search the Menus” and type “Margins,” select “Page Setup.”

●       Adjust all the margins (left, right, top, bottom) from this window.

If you have set Google to use American English, the pop-up will use inches. If you see centimeters instead, use 2.54 cm for 1 inch and 1.27cm for ½ inch.

LibreOffice Writer (also known as OpenOffice Writer)

How to adjust margins in LibreOffice:

●       Select the “Format” drop-down menu item on the top of the screen.

●       Click on the “Page …” option.

●       Find the “Margin” section and enter “1” in each of the boxes for Top, Bottom, Left, and Right.

●       Click the “OK” button.

iWork Pages

How to adjust margins in iWork pages

●       Select the “Document” button on the right side of the screen

●       Make sure the “Document” tab is selected (it should be by default).

●       Set the top, bottom, left, and right margins to “1” in the boxes shown under “document margin.”

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Additional Resume Formatting Tips

There are other formatting choices that you can use alongside a suitable margin size to make your resume look neat, professional, and readable. Some of these are discussed below.

Font Style

Your resume is a professional document, so the font you pick should likewise look professional. In case you don’t know which font to choose, consider whether you are printing your resume or sending it electronically. Printed text normally looks better with a serif font. Serif font has little lines at the finishes of the letters. Instances of serif font are Times New Roman, Messenger, and Garamond. Those lines are not present in sans serif fonts and are commonly read better on a screen. Instances of sans serif font are Arial, Helvetica, and Calibri.

Recommended Reading: A Guide to Resume Font Rules: Choosing the Best Font for Resume

Font Size

The font size depends somewhat on the font. A 12-point size might be little for certain font styles; however, it might be huge for other font styles. Trying different things with various sizes and fonts can guarantee you pick the best font style for your purpose. For example, your resume’s font size should not be larger than the Times New Roman font (10,11,12).

If you are contracting your font to fit everything on the page, consider rewriting your resume’s content in simpler terms. It makes more of a difference when your resume is readable and clear in the first place than attempting to fit a lot of information onto a single page.

Text Alignment

The main content on your resume should be left-adjusted or left-justified. This is standard for most official documents and makes your resume simple to read. Your resume heading, which ordinarily comprises your name and contact data, can be center-aligned on the page or as you like. You may likewise pick a different arrangement for section headings. 

Paragraph and Section Spacing

Even though there are no fixed principles for spacing, there are a couple of interesting points. Make sure to incorporate enough blank areas around the text to make your resume look coordinated and simple to follow. You can likewise incorporate graphical components like lines, boxes, and shading to demonstrate breaks between segments. 

Appropriate use of the graphics and illustrations accessible in your word processor can help make your resume both simple and interesting to read. When you choose how much space to put between sections, ensure you apply that equivalent spacing throughout the resume.

Resume Length

Your resume should be about one or two pages long. If you happen to have a lot of work experience, just include the positions you have held in the most recent five years. Give adequate information that will give the recruiting officer an overview of your competence. You can probably just expound during the interview.

List Items

Use list items to make the recruiter notice your abilities and achievements in a coordinated manner. List item records are simpler to examine than blocks of text, which is useful for the recruiting officer evaluating your resume.

Use the Standard Setting 

Applying a standard format to margin size, fonts, and other formatting issues on your resume can be beneficial as hiring managers are used to seeing these formats. Recruiters are used to seeing one-inch margins, for instance. Stray away from this standard, and you run the risk of recruiters noticing your formatting choices instead of the actual content of your resume, which is not your goal.

Optimize for the Application Tracking System

Take note that robots are much pickier readers than the human reader. If you apply for a position online, your resume will doubtlessly be screened using the Application Tracking System. Utilize non-standard designing, and your resume may never get past the Application Tracking System to get into human hands.

Go through various resume samples and templates before creating your own. This will help you see different designing formats, giving you some style alternatives you probably won’t have considered previously.

Make Use of Templates Following Resume Margin Guidelines

Resume Margin Guidelines - Resume Template

Make your resume writing and job application even easier by using an online resume builder or premade templates that fit the job you are applying for. You simply need to input the necessary details on your chosen template and customize it to your liking.

Pro tip: When choosing your resume templates, make sure they are industry- and HR-approved to maximize your job application chances.

Adopt the margin guidelines above to emerge with that perfect, eye-catching, and comprehensive resume.

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