Effective Use of White Space on a Resume: Practical Tips and Tricks

Updated: Oct 23

White space is an important aspect of a resume and can play a key role in the success of your job search -- without you even knowing it. Using white space effectively improves the readability of a resume, accentuates the content, and significantly affects the overall impression and visual appeal of your resume.

So, to create a professional and polished resume, it's essential to use white space effectively.

Here you'll find practical tips to optimize white space usage and make your resume stand out, as well as frequently asked questions, including:

Without further ado, let's get into it!

What is white space on a resume?

White space is the area between design elements. On a resume, white space or negative space, as it is often called, is an area that remains unused when separating sections and paragraphs of text.

Simply put, white space refers to the parts of a document that are not written or printed on. When we talk about resumes, white space refers to the gaps between paragraphs and lines, blank space that separates one heading from another, margins and any other empty spaces.

These are typically used to group sections together or separate one section from another. They can also be used as a strategic design element that draws attention to important details like contact information, skills, experiences, qualifications, etc.

Effective use of white space helps create a clean, organized format that makes your resume easier to read and digest.

Effective use of white space helps create a clean, organized format that makes your resume easier to read and digest. In general, when managing the white space, the goal is to create an organized appearance and provide breathing room so that your resume doesn't seem cluttered.

Why is white space on a resume important?

White space on a resume accentuates content, making it easy for hiring managers to see important information. It helps organize the text and makes it easier for potential employers to read your job application by drawing the eye to the most important information and allowing the reader's eye to rest for a split second before moving onto the next paragraph.

White space is essential for three reasons.

  • First, it makes the resume easier to read and scan through quickly.

  • Second, white space contributes to the visual appeal, helping a resume stand out in a pile at first glance.

  • Third, it allows your experiences, qualifications and skills to shine without a reader being overwhelmed by text on a page -- a common problem with resumes that are too wordy or dense in the information that isn't relevant.

When used effectively, white space gives your resume an organized appearance and improves its chances of being read and considered by employers. Without strategically used white space, resume content would be difficult to decipher and digest -- and many recruiters and employers would give up on reading it.

That’s why white space is critical for a resume’s success.

How much white space should you have on a resume?

When creating a resume, how do you know how much white space is too much or too little? How can you add enough white space without losing valuable career-related information? Or how can you reduce it without making your resume look cluttered and cramped?

Getting the right amount of white space on a resume can be tricky, and many people are unsure how to achieve this since there is no setpoint that helps you determine the appropriate amount of blank space between and around the content.

Read on to understand how too much or not enough white space can be interpreted and precisely what you can do to use it in your resume effectively