How to choose the best margins for a resume

Oct 6, 2021

Why do resume margins matter?

At first glance, your resume should look like the professional who wrote it: polished and streamlined. Less is more when it comes to dense blocks of black text. More is better in allowing white breathing space on the page for balance and proportion. 


While resume text readability is enhanced through a combination of layout and formatting aspects, the importance of optimal margins should never be underestimated. 


Think of resume document margins as being like the frame surrounding a photograph or artwork —  focusing attention where it belongs. By containing and showcasing the text, without detracting from it, the margin space makes the content more inviting and easier to read.


Properly set resume margins also play a practical role in ensuring no text is inadvertently cut off when your resume is printed, or missed when scanned by applicant tracking systems software.


Standard resume margins are the best

The standard margin size for a resume or any type of document — one inch on all sides — also happens to be the best resume margin size. What a happy coincidence! 


It doesn’t get much simpler when it comes to this resume formatting detail. That’s because one inch is the default margin setting for the most commonly used word-processing apps, Microsoft Word and Google Docs. 


There’s nothing arbitrary about one inch being the standard margin configuration for all kinds of documents across the board. It’s universally suitable as a key consideration for readability of well-contained text on the page. In conjunction with default font settings, the default one-inch margin setting restricts the number of characters on a single line of text to about 90. It’s also failsafe to ensure nothing ends up in the printable area of the page by mistake.