Wednesday, July 8, 2009

White Space

I do not understand why people do not worry about the proper formatting of resumes. Specifically, I do not understand the aversion so many people have to white space. I first learned about "white space" in school. It was considered proper coding etiquette to use line breaks, indenting, and spacing to separate one's code so that it was presented in a fashion that was easy to follow when others would be reading it. White space is equally important when writing a resume (if not more so). Having words and sentences and lines and paragraphs mashed together without any spacing to give the reader's eyes a rest or to properly guide the reader through the information will not help. It is the CV equivalent of a poorly designed GUI. It is best to break up sections of your resume, using headings such as: (a) Profile; (b) Work History; (c) Education; (d) Awards; (e) Certifications; (f) Skills; and (g) Publications. Separate these headings with single or double spaces. Underneath these headings use sub headings, or order things in a neat and consistent way. On the page as a whole, work within the usual horizontal and vertical margins. Your text does not need to fill up every inch of the page; in fact, it is best if it doesn't. It will look less professional, and be more of an arduous task for the recruiter/HR rep/hiring manager to read. Paragraph breaks are good; spacing is good; bullets are good.

In case I haven't made my point...

White space in your resume is a good thing for the following reasons:
  • It will increase the odds of your resume being read in full;
  • It will guide the reader through your resume;
  • It will offer a pleasing structure and professional appearance to your resume; and,
  • It'll keep my brain from hurting when I'm reading it.
These are all good things. So go ahead, space out your resume.


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