Tighten It Up: Our Best Resume Font Size and Resume Line Spacing Tips
If you want to get a job, looks do matter. (On your resume, that is!)
Your resume’s design is more important than you think – it’s the first thing a recruiter will notice. After you fill your resume with your biggest accomplishments and powerful language, it needs to look polished enough to make a good impression.
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Two of the most common questions we get on this subject are on the best font size for a resume and proper resume line spacing. These two factors are often the culprits for resumes that are too long or difficult to read, both of which can get your resume thrown out.
Here are some tips on the best font size for a resume and proper resume line spacing. Follow these guidelines to make sure your resume is not just impressive, but easy to read.
What’s the Best Font Size for Your Resume?
Short answer: anywhere between 10 and 12 pt. That’s the sweet spot because those sizes are readable without wasting your precious space.
However (ugh, there’s always a “however!”), you need to remember that there’s no magic bullet here. A couple of factors will influence your own best resume font size.
First, to facilitate easy reading, you’ll want to use different font sizes for headers and body content. We recommend titling your five main sections with headings that are slightly larger than the rest of your text. If your body text is 11 pt, make your headings 12 pt, like below:
Additionally, font size numbers are a bit relative, as some typefaces are wider than others. Check out what happens when I switch from Times New Roman to Futura (without changing the font size) for the same resume:
That’s a difference of almost a 1/3rd of a page!
If you want to change the font size on your resume, first make sure your font isn’t the problem. Work only with simple fonts that are readable and standard across platforms, but choose a narrower one if space is a concern.
Tips to Find the Best Resume Line Spacing
A resume’s line spacing can make or break its readability. Too little spacing is a bad thing…
…but too much spacing is as well:
Here are some guidelines to set the right amount of resume line spacing:
Set Your Overall Spacing
To start off on the right foot, set line spacing for your whole document to either 1 or 1.15. You can do this on the top toolbar of Microsoft Word:
This will ensure that each line of text is easily readable from the next. If you use anything higher than 1.15 on this option, you’re wasting space.
Spacing Between Sections
After lines, you want to make sure you have enough white space between sections. To do this, we need to go beyond that little line spacing button to some advanced territory.
Go to the top toolbar and find the “Layout” tab. Here’s where it is on the newest version of Microsoft Word:
This is a gamechanger for resume writers. Here, you can adjust the amount of white space before or after each paragraph or header in your document. You don’t have to rely on big line breaks for your resume line spacing anymore!
We recommend having 9-12 pt spacing after each major section (Summary, Professional Experience, Education, etc.) For smaller gaps in between your professional experiences, go with 6-9 pt after each job.
Finally, if you’re using both paragraphs and bullets to divide your responsibilities and accomplishments (if you have a big resume, you should!), make sure they aren’t squished together. Get a nice 3-4 pt after each paragraph.
If you ever find yourself in need of just a little less room to get your resume onto one less page, use this handy-dandy Layout tab to make tiny adjustments.
Just make sure that your spacing between sections remains consistent. This will ensure a nice, even layout that doesn’t distract the reader’s eye.
When in Doubt, Check it Out
When editing your resume font size and line spacing, remember to balance readability with space-efficiency. If you’re trying to cut a page, don’t adjust your formatting so much that the resume is hard to read – that defeats the point!
Edit everything you can from your resume before further adjusting your design. Cutting out unnecessary content and phrasing will be better in the long run.
Not sure if your resume is readable after adjusting these factors? Print it out and read it! Better yet, have someone else read it and tell you what looks off.
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