How to Leverage White Space on a CV

Matt Glodz
How to Leverage White Space on a CV

White Space Makes Your CV Much Easier to Read

When crafting your CV, leverage the white space you have available to give your content “breathing room,” making your CV much easier to read. You can optimise white space on your CV by adjusting your margins, spacing and font size.

In this article, we explain why it’s not a good idea to cram too much text onto your document, addressing the following questions:

  • Do I need to fill up most of the white space on my CV?
  • How much white space should I have on my CV?
  • What does effective CV spacing look like in practice?
  • How can I adjust the margins on my CV?
  • How can I adjust the line spacing on my CV?

Do I need to fill up most of the white space on my CV?

Absolutely not! White space is not wasted space. By incorporating sufficient spacing into your CV, you will help recruiters quickly skim your document. As a result, they’ll be able to pick up the key information they need to decide whether they would like to invite you for an interview.

Simply put, if you attempt to cram as much information onto your CV as possible by dramatically reducing font size and margins, you make the recruiter’s job a lot harder than it needs to be.

An overly-cluttered document may even keep a recruiter from reading it altogether (and studies show that recruiters already spend just 7.4 seconds reviewing a CV)!

If you are tempted to keep adding more content to your CV, we strongly recommend taking the time to ensure that your document focuses on capturing the key information. You can always speak to non-essential items during an interview.

Start to narrow the scope of your content by learning how to craft achievement-driven bullet points and tailor your CV to your target roles.

How much white space should I have on my CV?

There is no hard rule for how much white space you should have on your CV. We recommend utilising margins between 1.27 cm and 2.54 cm, paragraph spacing of 8 pt -12 pt after each major section and line spacing of 1.0 or 1.15 within bullet points and body text (single-spaced).

• Margins

    Your margins are simply the white space around the borders of the page.

    Pay special attention to margins on the left and right sides of the page, as these make the greatest visual impact. In addition, some recruiters and hiring managers who print CVs on paper like to use the margins to take notes.

    You can keep your top and bottom margins a bit tighter, if needed.

    • Paragraph Spacing

      Paragraph spacing refers to the amount of space between each set of bullet points and after the last line of each major section.

      Add 8 pt – 12 pt of spacing between each major section of your CV, as shown below.

      • Line Spacing

        Line spacing refers to the amount of vertical space between lines of text in a paragraph. We recommend keeping line spacing on your CV at 1.0 to 1.15.

        Because you have limited space to work with, you do not need to make your CV double-spaced.

        What does effective CV spacing look like?

        Effective CV spacing adds skim value to your document, giving the content “breathing room” and making it easier to read. While a cluttered or unevenly spaced CV will convey chaos and disorganisation, a well-formatted, clean document will make a positive impression on recruiters.

        The CV below provides an example of how you can use spacing to enhance your CV's readability.

        CV Margins & Spacing Example

        Keep in mind that while some white space is desirable, it is possible to have too much as well!

        In addition, be sure that each page of your CV is completely filled. A CV that is 1.5 pages long, for example, will look incomplete.

        How can I adjust the margins on my CV?

        To adjust the margins on your CV in Microsoft Word, select Layout > Margins in the top ribbon.

        We recommend using the Moderate or Narrow default settings provided. The Normal setting can also work well, but it will give you less room to work with.

        How to Adjust Margins on CV

        You can also see more detailed instructions and a video tutorial on the Microsoft Office website.

        How can I adjust the paragraph spacing on my CV?

        To adjust the paragraph spacing on your CV in Microsoft Word, select Design > Paragraph Spacing in the top ribbon. In the Spacing section, add 8 pt – 12 pt in the After field, as shown below.

        How to Add Paragraph Spacing to CV

        You will use this setting for the following areas:

        • After each set of bullet points
        • After the last item in each major section (Heading, Work Experience, Education, Relevant Skills, etc.)

        Also, be sure to uncheck the “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style” button, if needed.

        How can I adjust the line spacing on my CV?

        To adjust the line spacing on your CV in Microsoft Word, select Design > Paragraph Spacing in the top ribbon. In the Line Spacing section, select Single. Alternatively, you can select Multiple and input a value up to 1.15.

         How to Add Line Spacing to CV

        You will use this setting for the following areas:

        • Within individual paragraphs
        • To separate consecutive bullet points

        In Summary

        By following the guidelines provided, you will ensure you are effectively using the white space on your CV.

        Additional Reading

          About CV Pilots

          CV Pilots is an award-winning executive CV writing firm and a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.

          As a professional services firm, we take your reputation seriously. We are committed to delivering writing excellence and superior service while operating with integrity and discretion. Recruitment firms we partner with also trust us to consistently deliver quality documents for their clients.

          Our writers have studied at top-tier universities and have strong writing backgrounds coupled with industry experience.

          Here's how we can help you:

          CV, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Writing Services: If you are looking for end-to-end support, hire one of our professional CV writers to rewrite your documents from the ground up. 

          Executive CV Template Downloads: If you plan to prepare your own CV, consider using one of our classic, ATS-friendly CV templates for Microsoft Word.

          To learn more about our services, book an introductory call with our founder here or email

          About the AuthorMatt Glodz

          Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of CV Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

          After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked for global companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

          At CV Pilots, Matt combines his solid business and writing background to craft CVs that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He has lived in the UK, US and Italy.

          Based in London, he currently works with applicants ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing CVs for over 10 years.

          He has been quoted on numerous business and career-related topics in outlets including Business Insider, CNBC, Fortune, Glassdoor, The Ladders, The Times and Thrive Global.

          Related Articles

          Are CV Writing Services Worth It?
          Are CV writing services worth the investment? Yes! The best CV writers add value to your job search by saving you time and stress, optimising your CV and delivering a strong document – while preparing you for interviews and increasing your confidence.
          Read More
          Executive CV Templates 2023: Downloads
          Learn about executive CV template best practices for 2023, view sample CVs and download our classic executive CV and cover letter templates in Microsoft Word format. We also discuss CV formatting advice from executive recruiters and key CV design principles.
          Read More
          CV, Cover Letter & LinkedIn Writing Resources
          These free tips and tools will help you prepare the strongest CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile possible. You'll learn how to optimise your CV for applicant tracking systems, what recruiters expect to see in a CV, how to write a compelling cover letter and how to prepare for interviews.
          Read More