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How to make your resume skimmable

Matt Glodz
How to make your resume skimmable

How to improve your resume layout and readability

A recent eye-tracking study from The Ladders shows that recruiters spend just 7.4 seconds initially skimming a resume.

As a result, it's critically important that - once its content is ready to go - you devote ample time to optimizing your resume's formatting.

In particular, we recommend focusing on three key design features that will make an impact on skim value:

  • Margins
  • Spacing 
  • Fonts

Skim value ensures that when recruiters pick up your resume, they are instantly able to pick up the key information they need by simply skimming it, leaving them with a strong first impression.


You can adjust your margins as needed to make sure your content neatly fits onto one page.

You want your margins to be anywhere between 1/2 inch to 1 inch. If they're any smaller, your resume may not print out correctly. If they're any larger, your page may look a bit empty.

To adjust your margins in Microsoft Word, simply follow these instructions.


When it comes to spacing, keep the following two guidelines in mind:

  1. The spacing between all of your sections should be consistent. 
  2. Make sure that you incorporate enough spacing so that your document doesn't become cluttered and difficult to read.

To increase or decrease the spacing between each of your sections, you will need to adjust the paragraph spacing setting.

In Microsoft Word, click into the paragraph (or last line) that you want to add spacing before/after, and follow these instructions (#3 under "change the line spacing in a portion of the document").

Once you are happy with the spacing you have implemented for one of your paragraphs, you can use the format painter tool to "copy and paste" the same formatting onto other paragraphs quickly and easily.



You can adjust the size of your fonts as needed, but we recommend sticking to fonts between 10 and 12 points in size throughout your document, as anything smaller will be difficult to read.

You should also make sure that your font sizes are consistent in each section.


We strongly recommend using serif fonts, which tend to be easier to read (the ones with letters that slightly curl - similar to those you typically see in books). 

Good choices include:

  • Book Antiqua
  • Cambria
  • Garamond
  • Georgia

If you find that you have difficulty making your resume look neat and clutter-free even after making these adjustments, consider condensing your content.

Our team only utilizes highly impactful resume formats that incorporate strong skim value. Need assistance with your resume? 

Upload yours here to receive a free review and learn how we can help, if needed.

You can also take a look at the services we offer below!


About the AuthorMatt Glodz

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

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he observed what drove the decision making of recruiters and hiring managers first-hand, noting that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his solid business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He currently works with applicants ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.

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