A functional CV: a blessing and a curse. A skills-based CV, as it’s often referred to, can do more damage than good unless you know exactly when to use it, and what for.
This is how it goes—
CV margins should be 1 inch on all sides. Narrower margins would make the CV cluttered and overwhelming. If you need more space, the top margin can be reduced to 1/2-inch.
Want to find out more and learn how to set them in MS Word and Google Docs?
In this article you’ll learn:
- What the standard margins for a CV are.
- How to set proper margins on a Word and Google Docs CV.
- Tips on how to align the text on your CV to make it look great.
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1. Margins for a CV—Standard Settings
Here’s the thing—
The standard margin size of a new document in MS Word and Google Docs is 1 inch all around.
And truth be told, the best margins for any CV are exactly the same. That is 1” for top, bottom, left, and right margin.
Why’s that so?
To cut a long story short, margins are there to help you make any document more readable.
The standard document margins in combination with the default font settings limit the number of characters you can fit in a single line of text to about 90 at the maximum.
All this for readability and printability’s sake.
If you reduce the size of the margins too much, your document will not only look bad, but some text may end up outside the printable area of the page.
It’s safe to reduce page margins for a CV down to .5 inch at the maximum.
And one more thing:
CV margins add white space to your document. And studies show that recruiters are likely to reject cluttered CVs with too little white space.
Expert Hint: It’s not just the margins that matter. Choosing the right CV font size and type is equally important for your CV to be as effective as possible.
2. How to Set Margins on a CV Using MS Word and Google Docs
Let’s have a quick look at the technicalities, shall we?
This is how you set CV margins in MS Word:
- Click on Layout.
- Choose Margins.
- Select one of the preset margin settings, or...
- Click on Custom Margins at the bottom of the menu panel and set the margins yourself.
And this is it.
That’s how you set CV margins in MS Word.
Moving on to Google Docs—
This is how to set CV margins in Google Docs:
- Click on File.
- Choose Page Setup.
- Set the margins.
If you’re only interested in adjusting the left and right margins, just click and drag the little triangular pointers at the top of the page.
If you can't see them, go to View, and make sure Show Ruler is checked off.
Expert Hint: Once you decide how big the margins on your CV should be, check out our repository of CV writing guides for over 50 occupations.
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3. Margins for a CV Aren’t the Only Thing That Counts
Your interest in CV margins proves one thing—
You’re detail-oriented and meticulous.
Which is great.
Here are a couple more CV formatting tips you may want to check out:
- Align text to the left.
That’s standard text formatting for the vast majority of formal documents.
Left-aligned text is much easier to read as the left edge of a paragraph always marks the beginning of the next line. If you centre-align the text, each line starts at a different point and the text is more strenuous for the eyes.
Expert Hint: The centre-aligned text works well for short lines of text and headlines. That’s why it’s only advisable to use this kind of alignment in your CV header.
- Don’t justify the text.
Justified text looks ugly unless you use some sophisticated desktop publishing software.
The justification algorithms of popular word processors are too basic to yield aesthetically pleasing results.
The only situation when justified text actually looks good is when you also hyphenate words that don’t fit into a line of text. If you don’t turn hyphenation on, you’ll get absurdly large spacing between the words.
Studies on text readability clearly show that left-aligned text is much easier to read and scan, whereas justified text is more difficult to read for both poor and good readers alike.
Expert Hint: There’s more to writing a CV than setting appropriate margins and aligning the text correctly. Read our guide on how to write a CV to find out more.
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Here’s all you need to remember about CV margins:
- The standard CV margins are one inch.
- Changing margins on a CV is acceptable but don’t make them smaller than 0.5 inches.
- Also, make sure you left-align the text on your CV and don’t justify it.
Do you have any other questions about setting the best margins on a CV? Maybe you have some tips on CV page margins you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Give us a shout out in the comments below!