How white space can transform your CV

Published on: 20 Oct 2015

CV writing advice for structural engineers

It is always good advice to make your CV short. Two pages is about the ideal length. However, many job seekers - in trying to edit their CV down - reduce the point size and cram in as much of the previous CV as possible. The result is a CV that looks rather like an overindulged marmite sandwich with a spread of black ink covering the paper from top to bottom. White space is an essential part of your CV and in this article we’ll explore the reasons why.

Creating balance

White space creates a counter balance to the written words. If words provide the action, then white space is the environment within which the action takes place. White space allows your CV to breathe. It helps the reader relax and feel unhurried. In this way, the reader is far more likely to engage with your story.

White space allows your headings to stand out

It may be surprising that the way to get your headings to stand out is not to simply bold them or make them bigger, it is actually to surround them in more white space. White space makes it much easier for the eye to focus on something. It acts to draw the reader more closely therefore giving your headings more impact.

Ease of navigation

With your headings easier to find your CV becomes much easier to navigate. Remember different recruiters are searching for different things. Therefore it is very important to make sure they can find their way around your CV quickly and easily. It makes it much more likely they can find those vital examples of your engineering achievements that enable them to say ‘yes’ about calling you to interview.

How many words to include in a CV?

Ideally a 2 page CV should contain between 700 and 800 words. Too few words and your CV may begin to look lightweight, too many and we are back to the marmite sandwich. Up to 800 words and you should be giving the reader just about the right amount of information to really whet their appetite.

What are the best typefaces to use?

Even typefaces that are the same point size can use white space in very different ways. Ideally, it’s good not to use a serif (or curved) typeface like Times New Roman. Serif typefaces aren’t always easy to read and can look dated. It is best to use a modern looking font like Arial, Tahoma or Calibri.

Using white space effectively can have a dramatic difference to the readability of your CV. With less than 30 seconds to make an impact, it is vital to make sure the reader can fully engage, so make it easy for them by ensuring ample white space throughout your CV.

This CV writing advice article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers. CV Writers are the official partner to The Structural Engineer Jobs and specialise in writing CVs for structural engineers. In addition to a CV writing service, CV Writers can help with Linkedin profiles, cover letters and interview coaching. They also publish Perfect CV, a CV writing toolkit with a series of how to write a CV videos, CV templates and an editing and checking service.