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Resume Format & Correct Spacing

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A copy of your resume typically serves as your first introduction to a potential employer, and a polished, professional document can help increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams. In order to put your best foot forward, observe basic resume formatting rules, including the use of proper margins, fonts and line spaces.

Resume Structure

The chronological resume format is the most popular as it allows potential employers to quickly scan your work and educational history to determine if you are a proper fit for their company. In addition to the work experience and educational sections, a chronological resume may also contain an objective statement and a list of relevant activities, organizational memberships or achievements. If you are new to the workforce, try to keep your resume -- no matter which format you use -- to one page in length. Older workers may need to use two pages to fully reflect career experience.

Basic Layout

A resume starts with your name on a single line followed by your address and other relevant contact information, such as your cellphone number and email address. These lines may be centered or aligned on either side of the page. If you list multiple contact methods on the same line, separate each with a bullet point. Use a uniform one-inch margin on the top, bottom and sides of the document. Choose a plain font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and use a 12 point font size for the resume body. Format your name and section headers in a slightly larger size and use bold text or underlining to highlight these important elements.


Resumes use single-line spacing for the full body content, including the header elements of your contact information. Employ double-spacing after the major elements of your resume, such as after your name and address and after each section heading. Many resumes also utilize clever horizontal spacing techniques to feature additional information under each heading. For example, under a career listing in the work experience section you may align your job title against the left margin while listing the years you worked the job on the same line against the right margin.

Minor Adjustments

When your resume takes up only a couple of lines on a second page, you need to make adjustments to your resume so all of your data can fit on the first page. Move your font size down 1 point from 12 to 11 or from 11 to 10. Adjust the margin of the document by one-tenth on all sides. If you included a list of skills or accomplishments under your careers, consider using a multiple column format to conserve space. Likewise, if your resume doesn't quite consume an entire page, consider increasing your margins and font sizes in small increments to make the content fill the document.


Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.

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