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On Symmetry

You may be wondering What does symmetry have to do with the job search? The answer has to do with aesthetics.

Aesthetics – from the Greek aisthetikos – is a broad term that encompasses concepts like usefulness, clarity, brevity, beauty, balance and overall visual appeal. When we say someone or something has “good aesthetics”, we generally mean it as a compliment.

Good resumes are built on many subtle aesthetic choices. Today I’ll be talking about the importance of symmetry and white space.

Symmetry & White Space

But wait, you might be saying, my resume isn’t someone’s face, it’s a document that’s supposed to be read top to bottom, left to right. Why is symmetry important for resumes?

In 1954, Rudolf Arnheim (distinguished Harvard psychologist, now deceased) introduced the idea of a structural skeleton behind every image. The eyes are drawn, like magnets, to an image’s center and four corners, determining its compositional flow. (e.g., Where does this image begin? What is the focal point?).

Symmetry provides that compositional flow, that rhythm and balance, and helps guide the eye across and down the page.

Your resume, when folded lengthwise, should boast a rough "reflection symmetry"—even amounts of black text and white space on both the right and left side. One way to check this is to divide your resume into four quadrants. Is any one quadrant standing noticeably empty or nearly so? Experiment with center- and right-alignment options.

In the same way we like to gaze on that which is beautiful and scorn that which is ugly, potential employers will spend more time reading your resume if it’s symmetrical, accessible, and pleasing to the eye.

Let's Get Started

Learn how you can effectively use today's tips on symmetry to customize and accelerate your job search.

- Dylan T.H.

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