The look of your CV is as important as its content.
This is why you should not underestimate the power of appearance when job hunting.
Although CVs margins might be last thing on your mind, they’re one of the first things a recruiter sees.
Get your margins right to make your CV look good.
WHAT ARE MARGINS?
Margins are the blank spaces at the top, bottom, left and right sides of a CV. If set properly they can increase a documents readability and make it more visually appealing.
For both digital and printed CVs with a standard layout the recommended margin size is;
- 1 inch all around.
It should be noted that this dimension is also the default margin setting on most word processing software.
Changing the margin size
Sometimes job seekers want to change the margin settings because they need extra space etc. If you do this, then margins should be;
- No larger than 1 inch
- No smaller than 0.5 inches.
Your left, right, top and bottom margins must all be the same depth. For example, if your right margin is 1 inch then the left one should be the same. The top and bottom ones should also be perfectly aligned.
Getting them right is critical to making your CV look better.
This because they set a page’s borders and determine how far away the text is from the edge of the document.
If aligned properly they can ensure your CV;
- looks organized
- is easy to read
- presents your information in an appealing and readable format.
If done badly they can;
- Demonstrate sloppiness on your behalf
- Cause your CV to not print out properly
- Make your text harder to read
Margins can also be used to balance the amount of white space on the page, which again is important for the readability of a document.
Margin sizes can be changed
Job seekers usually doing this to;
- Create more space.
- Alter the page layout.
Tip – If you do alter them, don’t make them smaller than half an inch.
This depends on the software being used.
Here’s how to do it on the most popular word processors:
1. Click Layout or “Page Layout” at the top of the screen.
2. Click “Margins”
3. Select from a number of pre-formatted options.
4. Or make your own margins by clicking “Custom Margins,” at the bottom of the list.
1. Click “File”
2. Click “Page Setup”
3. In the margin settings on the right side enter the size you want i.e., if you want 1 inch enter “1” in each of the boxes for Top, Bottom, Left and Right.
4. Select the “Set as Default” button if you always want to use these margins.
5. Click OK
The default margins are now set to one inch on each side.
1. Click “Format” at the top of the screen.
2. Click “Page” from the drop-down menu.
3. In the “Margins” section enter the inch size you want (i.e., 1,2, 3 etc) for the Left, Right, Top and Bottom margins.
4. Click the “OK” button.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
If you do make changes to the margins, then look out for the following issues;
If the margins are too narrow, you might have trouble when it comes to printing. Some content on the edges of a page may get cut out when your CV is printed.
It’s advisable to do a test print of your CV before you start sending it out to job vacancies.
Applicant Tracking Systems may not be able to fully screen your CV and miss out those all important keywords.
If your margins are too narrow, you CV can look crowded and cluttered with too much text.
- Will not create a good first impression.
- Can be difficult to read.
- Some content will be left out if printed.
- Will give you more white space.
- More room to add content.
These can lead to a minimalist design where there is too much white space and your CV starts to look empty.
This in turn can lead the employer to thinking that you don’t have much to say or offer the company.
If you are also sending in a cover letter, then its margin size should match that of the accompanying CV.
This helps to keep your job application looking professional and consistent.
As with your CV, the ideal margin depth for a cover letter is approximately 1 inch all around.