I hadn’t actually thought about this question before, until Nate Charlow raised it
Would someone do me the favor of explaining why, e.g., writing samples for job applications are generally expected to be double-spaced with one-inch margins? Is the implication that single-spaced documents with wide margins are difficult to read? Do these same people find articles in competently type-set journals difficult to read?
I didn’t even realise that was the expectation. I guess a lot of the samples I’ve read have been like this.
Here’s the thing though. We’re going to be getting writing samples on 8.5*11 paper. (Or, if we’re lucky, A4.) A full page of single spaced text on a page like that is actually difficult to read.
Now that isn’t Nate’s suggestion. His suggestion is that we have basically a journal type page in the middle of a sea of white. (If I’m reading it right, he’s suggesting the default LaTeX look.) But I’m not sure that’s much easier to read. I think I find double spaced easier to read than a journal, though of course it’s much less efficient paper-wise. (I think I personally prefer 1.5ish space to double space, but your mileage may vary.) So if people are sending in writing samples that are double spaced, I think that makes my (sometime) job as a writing sample reader somewhat easier. If everyone feels the same way as me, then double spacing is good for candidates to do.
So what does everyone think? If you’re reading writing samples, does it make a difference to you if they look like, say, journal submissions (double spaced, normal margins) rather than page proofs (single spaced, massive margins)?