Resume Spacing: What Is the Best Line Spacing For Your Resume? [+ Examples]

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March 12, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • Resume spacing includes kerning, leading, tracking, margins, and more.
  • Proper spacing on your resume is crucial for hiring managers to scan your resume.
  • Teal’s AI Resume Builder guides job seekers through resume best practices and makes it easy to set ideal spacing across your resume.

You've spent hours perfecting every bullet point. You've even triple-checked for typos and grammar. But you're still hearing crickets when sending off resumes.

What gives?

Often, decisions to keep you in the candidate pool can come down to small differentiators in resume layout. Seemingly menial formatting issues can sabotage your resume's chances of passing an initial glance or scan.

This guide walks through critical components of resume spacing, and how to use them to your advantage.

Struggling to land interviews with your resume? Get started with Teal’s AI Resume Builder today.

What is resume spacing?

At its core, resume spacing refers to the distribution of text and white space on your resume. As a general category, most people are familiar with the term "resume spacing."

But when you break the concept down further, spacing has several elements you should be familiar with, including:

  • Kerning
  • Tracking
  • Leading
  • Spacing
  • Margins

Here's a closer look at each of those terms:


Kerning refers to the spacing between individual characters in a word. This process is used mainly in typography to achieve visually pleasing spacing between individual letters.

For example, some letter combinations (like 'VA' or 'WA') may seem to have too much space when the spacing is set uniformly, so you adjust the kerning to bring them closer together.


Tracking is similar to kerning but deals with the space between groups of letters rather than individual letters. A typographer adjusts tracking to avoid overly tight or crowded text or to fill a line of text to make it flush on each side.


Leading is the spacing between lines of text.

The term comes from the lead strips that were used in manual typesetting to increase the spacing between lines of text. In most digital fonts, leading is an important variable to control for good readability.


Spacing, in a broader sense, refers to the distribution of text (and objects) in a given area, which can involve kerning, tracking, and leading.

But when used more specifically, it refers to the space between words.

Like kerning or leading, word spacing can greatly affect readability. Too much space might cause the text to appear sparse or disjointed, while too little space may make it look crushed or overwhelmed.


Margins are the empty spaces between the edge of the paper (or page) and the main body of the text.

They frame the body of the text, providing a visual rest and preventing the feeling that the text is falling off the edge of the page. Note-taking, making marks, or scribbling are other margin uses that improve the reading experience.

Each element plays a vital role in creating an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-read resume layout, whether on a printed page or a digital screen.

Best resume line spacing by type

In the world of resumes, the devil is in the details. And these details contribute to the readability and professional appearance of your resume.

resume spacing and line spacing in Teal
Standardize text size to create better hierarchy across your resume with Teal

Among these, spacing in various forms plays a critical role.

1. Kerning

Kerning adjusts the space between specific letter pairs to reduce awkward gaps and improve typographic appearance.

For example, you’ll notice that the kerning is wider in the example below on the right-hand side (highlighted) than it is on the left:

kerning example
Kerning is the spacing between letters

Too much kerning can make the text look awkward, but not enough can damage readability. It’s importance to strike the balance between the two. 

Recommendation: For most word processing programs and resume builders, kerning is automatically adjusted at default settings. However, in graphic design software or advanced typography settings, consider manually adjusting kerning for large headers or names to improve aesthetics.

Aim for visually consistent spacing between characters, keeping readability in mind.

2. Tracking

Tracking adjusts the overall letter spacing across words, sentences, or paragraphs. This can affect the text density on your resume and its overall readability.

Teal gives you the ability to customize spacing across your sections, paragraphs, and even titles: 

paragraph spacing and other section spacing
Define specific spacing for every scenario on your resume with Teal's Design Mode 2.0

Recommendation: Use tracking adjustments sparingly.

For body text, the default setting typically suffices. For titles or headers, slightly increasing tracking can enhance readability and visual appeal. Make sure the change is subtle and does not disrupt the flow of reading.

3. Leading

Leading directly correlates with line spacing but specifically refers to the vertical distance between baselines of text. It’s crucial in maintaining the text’s readability and aesthetic spacing.

Recommendation: A good practice is to set leading at 120% to 145% of the font size.

This proportion ensures lines have enough space to breathe, contributing to an approachable and clear reading experience while maintaining a reasonable resume length.

4. Line Spacing

Line spacing, or leading, impacts the readability of your resume significantly.

Adequate space between lines ensures the content doesn't appear crammed and allows for a comfortable reading experience for hiring managers.

Recommendation: The standard line spacing for resumes is between 120% and 150%.

line spacing resume
Set separate line height and list line height in Teal

This range provides a balanced look, improving readability while keeping the resume concise. For tighter formats, a minimum of 1.15 is advised.

To add more breathing room around text, especially for longer sections, 1.5 spacing is optimal.

5. Margin Spacing

Margins frame the content of your resume, contributing to its overall presentation and efficacy.

Too narrow margins can make a resume look cluttered, whereas too wide may signal a lack of sufficient content.

Recommendation: A safe standard for resume margins is 1 inch on all sides.

margin spacing resume
Set separate vertical and horizontal resume margins in Teal

This provides enough white space for a clean layout while offering flexibility for trimming by printers. For resumes heavy with ample work experience, a minimum of 0.7 inches might work, but staying within the 1-inch standard is preferable when possible.

Spacing tips by section

Resume spacing isn't one-size-fits-all. The ideal spacing differs across sections.

Here are four tips for nailing the spacing in each part of your resume:

1. Contact info

Contact information on a resume is dense by nature. But that doesn't give you a pass on spacing fundamentals.

  • Use line breaks, like bullet points, between elements like name, email, phone number, city
  • Watch line height if stacking multiple lines of info
  • Add whitespace between contact info and next section
  • Keep to one line if possible
contact information in resume header
Set up proper spacing between contact details in youru resume header with Teal

Appropriately applying space here can eliminate confusion and enhance readability, ensuring your contact details are perceived accurately and quickly.

2. Resume headers

Whether you choose "Experience" or "Professional History", resume headers divide your document into clear, scannable sections.

  • Mirror spacing above and below headers
  • Be consistent with spacing between headers
  • Use capitalization, bolding, or size to differentiate from body text

Effective spacing helps visually separate these sections, improving the document's flow and readability.

3. Bullet points

Bullet points are typically where you showcase your past accomplishments, so they really matter. Here's where custom spacing settings come in handy.

  • Mind the margins so bullet points don't extend too far in
  • Use 0.5 line height between bullet points for clean spacing
  • Align indent and bullet symbols

When you use a platform like Teal, your bullet points will be automatically spaced for you, but you can also change spacing setting or use stylized bullet points (in Teal+) if you prefer.

bullet points on resume
Teal's Resume Builder lets users set bullet point spacing separately from other line spacing

Proper spacing can clarify and emphasize your key accomplishments, portraying your skills and experiences in an organized manner.

You want your accomplishments to be easy to scan and visually digestible.

4. Dates

Pay special attention to spacing around the dates on your resume so they don't blend into other text.

  • Add space between job title and date range
  • Put dates on their own line with 0.5 spacing above and below
  • Use a consistent date format for better alignment

With Teal, you not only have the ability to change the spacing around dates, but also the formatting.

Correct spacing around dates can prevent your timeline from getting lost in the shuffle, making it easier for employers to understand your career progression.

How to perfect resume spacing strategies

1. Optimize line height for readability

Adjust your line height to be between 120 and 145%.

Why it matters: This range prevents your text from appearing too cramped or excessively spaced, maintaining optimal readability.

Example: For a document in a 12-point font size, setting your line height to approximately 120 to 140% ensures that your content is easily digestible.

Note: Font sizes are important, but so is the font you use. Read this to learn which font to use on your resume.

2. Strategically space resume elements

Implement a 0.5x multiplier of your baseline height for spacing between distinct resume elements, such as job titles, organizations, and dates.

Why it matters: This technique creates a visually organized structure, making it easier for hiring managers to navigate your achievements and professional timeline.

Example: With a 130% line height, the spacing between elements should be around 0.65 lines, striking the perfect balance between separation and cohesion.

3. Adjust margins to frame your content

Set your resume margins to a range of 0.5 to 1 inch to cushion your content.

Why it matters: Properly set margins offer enough white space to ensure your resume doesn't look cluttered or overly stretched, contributing to a polished and professional layout. Shorter lines are also easier for a hiring manager to read and scan.

Example: Experiment with top and bottom margins by adjusting them slightly to accommodate section headers without sacrificing the document's balance.

4. Use Line Breaks to Avoid Crowding

Insert additional line breaks between sections or elements if adjusting line-height doesn't resolve spacing issues.

Why it matters: Extra line breaks can alleviate visual density, making your resume more approachable and easier to scan for key information.

Example: If a section feels too dense, adding a single line break before and after can enhance clarity and visual appeal, guiding the reader's eye through your document smoothly.

Implementing these spacing strategies will not only elevate the aesthetics of your resume but also enhance its readability, ensuring your professional narrative is communicated effectively. 

Remember, a well-spaced resume is more than just visually pleasing—it's critical to showcasing your attention to detail and organizational skills.

Special spacing considerations (exceptions and pro tips)

When crafting a resume, understanding the nuanced elements of its design, such as the choice between single, 1.15, and double spacing, can significantly impact its readability and professional appearance.

Single spacing vs 1.15 spacing vs double spacing

Single spacing is the go-to for most of the resume's body text, offering a compact and readable format that fits more content into limited space.

It's especially effective for detailed sections like experience and education.

1.15 spacing introduces a slightly airier feel to the document without substantially increasing its length.

It's an excellent middle ground for enhancing readability, particularly for longer paragraphs under each job description or achievement.

Double spacing, while not typically used within sections, can delineate clear separations between distinct resume parts like headers, summaries, and primary sections (Experience, Education, Skills).

Double spaces act as a visual pause, guiding the reader through the document's structure without the overuse of lines or other graphical separators.

Proper resume spacing for ATS

Navigating Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) has become a critical aspect of the job application process. Your resume's spacing affects human readability and how ATS software scans and interprets your information.

  • ATS-friendly spacing: To ensure ATS compatibility, stick to the standard line and margin spacings—such as single or 1.15 line spacing for the body and double spacing for section breaks. This approach helps prevent text from appearing cluttered or overlapping, which could hinder the ability of an ATS to parse the document correctly.
  • Avoid complications: Steer clear of using tables, excessive graphics, and column formatting, which ATS systems may struggle to navigate. While these elements might enhance visual appeal for human eyes, they can disrupt an ATS text extraction process, risking the omission of critical information from your resume.

Spacing in resume design plays a critical role in both aesthetic presentation and functional accessibility.

Resume spacing tools & resources

1. Teal

Teal's AI Resume Builder specifically addresses the subtleties of resume spacing—one such detail being line spacing.

With Teal, the spacing within your resume is meticulously optimized to enhance readability and presentation. That's because Teal understands that details matter in a job search.

The resume builder emphasizes the vertical space between sections and line items, guaranteeing your resume stays within the desirable one-page length while neatly exhibiting hard and soft skills without cluttering the text.

  • Advanced tools specifically calibrated for resume line spacing and paragraph spacing
  • A free version offering considerable assistance with font size and spacing options
  • The Premium version provides even more space customization options
  • Automated AI suggestions to integrate job description key skills into your resume
  • Communication skills of job seekers are effectively represented with clean and concise content organization

Teal's platform is specifically crafted to boost a resume's readability and give job seekers an advantage in their search.

2. ChatGPT

As an AI conversational agent, ChatGPT can guide users on effectively adjusting resume line and paragraph spacing.

With simple prompts from the user, ChatGPT can provide step-by-step instructions on how to change paragraph spacing or change line spacing to suit various resume styles. It can help refine details throughout a resume, from font size to the balance of content.

  • Provides interactive guidance on adjusting line spacing and paragraph spacing
  • Offers suggestions for maintaining single spacing or other spacing norms for better resume readability
  • Capable of generating content that highlights hard and soft skills
chatgpt resume format

However, ChatGPT can’t adjust spacing for you. Additionally, it’s not able to give feedback or change images currently. 

It might not provide the same level of integration of skills and job description alignments as a specialized tool like Teal and may require additional manual adjustments to get the spacing right.

Related:  check out how to write a resume with ChatGPT.

3. Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is the longstanding tool when it comes to document creation, and this holds true for resume building as well. Word is an accessible platform for managing a resume's spacing details, allowing users to easily change line spacing and paragraph spacing.

The variety of templates on offer can also serve as a starting point for establishing proper vertical space across different resume sections, making sure relevant details are clearly presented.

  • In-depth resume line spacing control, from single spacing to custom adjustments
  • Easy to change paragraph spacing to cater to more content-heavy or minimalistic resume styles
  • Presents a range of templates that consider resume readability and design elements

Though Microsoft Word affords detailed control over spacing, it doesn't provide suggestions relevant to the job search or auto-adjustments based on content like Teal, potentially leaving more room for error.

Need some help getting started with Word? Here are some free Microsoft Word Resume Templates.

4. Google Docs

Google Docs offers an online alternative for crafting a resume, providing flexibility with spacing decisions.

Users can adjust the resume line spacing and paragraph spacing within the Docs interface, which can be especially helpful for customizing the vertical space between sections or bulleted lists of key skills.

Plus, the convenience of cloud-based editing and sharing makes it a favored option for many job seekers.

  • Cloud-based control over line spacing and paragraph spacing
  • Live collaboration allows for real-time feedback, which can impact the resume's readability
  • Font size and spacing options are easily adjustable, aiding job seekers to fit their resume on one page
You can adjust spacing easily in word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs
Google Docs offers options to adjust line spacing on your document

That said, Google Docs was not built specifically for resumes and not set to ideal resume formatting by default. 

You may not have the advanced resume-focused tools of Teal, requiring users to put in more effort to create the visually appealing and content-optimized resume that hiring managers expect.

Trouble building your resume with Google Docs? Get started with these free Google Doc Resume Templates.

Why is resume spacing important?

Right now, the job market is more competitive than ever. Nailing the basics—like spacing—gives your resume an advantage.

Consistent, balanced spacing demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism. It prevents your resume from looking too dense or confusing.

Plus, clean spacing keeps applicant tracking systems (ATS) happy. If an ATS can scan and prioritize your resume over others, you'll give yourself a stronger competitive edge.

By mastering proper resume spacing techniques, you'll:

  • Increase ATS compatibility: The right spacing ensures optimal scannability
  • Improve readability: Careful spacing allows key details to shine
  • Showcase soft skills: Attention to detail and consistency indicate organizational aptitude
  • Make a great first impression: Visually balanced spacing looks professional

Learn the resume spacing best practices that'll take your application to the next level.

Final thoughts

Having professional and consistent spacing is important on your resume. 

That means having enough space between words and lines so that your resume is easier for hiring managers to read. This helps people quickly understand what you're saying and makes it more likely that your resume will be noticed. 

So, take a moment to review your resume with a fresh eye for spacing. Adjust, refine, and perfect.

In other words, don’t get tripped up by tiny formatting issues and designer math. With Teal, your resume format is optimal by default. Plus, you get automated insights tailored to each role so your resume makes the perfect first impression every time.

Sign up for Teal for free to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does adjusting kerning and tracking improve the readability of my resume?

Adjusting kerning, which is the space between specific pairs of letters, and tracking, the overall letter-spacing across words and sentences, can significantly enhance readability. By fine-tuning these elements, you ensure that your resume is not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to scan, preventing any misinterpretation of information due to cramped or irregular spacing.

Is there an ideal line spacing setting for resumes that applies to all sections?

While there's no one-size-fits-all answer, a general rule is to use single spacing (1.0) for the body text of your resume. However, you can slightly increase this for section headings or bullet points to improve readability and visual separation. Always aim for consistency and clarity across all sections.

Can the right resume spacing impact my chances of passing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) scan?

Absolutely. Proper resume spacing contributes to the overall formatting, which is crucial for ATS readability. If a resume is poorly spaced, it can confuse the ATS and result in your resume being overlooked. Ensuring optimal spacing helps the ATS parse your information correctly, increasing your chances of making it to the hands of a recruiter.

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is a professional content marketer who's been lucky enough to write for some of the best SaaS brands on the planet, including Twilio, Trello, OptinMonster, TrustPulse, and more. When he's not obsessing over performance metrics, Nathan spends most of his time wrestling around with his kids.

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