The Best Fonts for Your Resume Ranked
When you are writing your resume, the font might seem like the least of your worries. You want to ensure you tailor your resume for the job position, to include all the relevant information and generally, for you to come across as the right pick for the job. But the font you use does actually matter and you shouldn’t just stick to the automatic choice in your text editor.
Hiring managers won’t spend more than six seconds looking at your resume. This means they will make a value judgment based on the visuals – if your resume looks professional and polished, the manager will spend more time on it. In order to make a good visual impression, you need to have an appealing font.
Research has shown that font isn’t just about the looks. It actually influences how the reader will perceive the message. By simply changing the font, you could be turning your resume into a more professional resume or you could make it less serious and ambitious. By selecting the right font, you can set a subconscious tone for your resume that means the hiring manager will like you.
So, what are the best fonts to use? In this guide, we’ll be exploring the seven top fonts to use outlined by hiring managers and designers. We’ll also shortly explore some of the fonts you don’t want to use.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN PICKING THE FONT
Now, before we get started with the fonts, let’s consider what you should keep in mind when picking the font for your resume. There are three basic principles to focus on:
The font has to be readable. This might seem like a given but it’s important to pay attention to it. You need to remember the hiring manager doesn’t want to waste a lot of time looking at the resume – therefore, the font needs to be immediately readable and not something that opens up as you stare at it longer. In a way, you want the words to jump out of the resume on the sub-consciousness of the hiring manager.
The problem you might have here is that you know your resume inside out. Therefore, judging the readability can be difficult. You already know what it says and this will help you ‘read’ the resume. It’s a good idea to test the font’s readability by making a friend look at it – this gives you a more authentic understanding of the readability.
The font looks good in the correct size. You should also keep in mind that different fonts react differently to size changes. Your chosen font might look good when you started writing at 12 points, but then you need to scale it down to 10 points and it all goes a little haywire. Generally, your font size should be between 10 and 14 points.
The font needs to fit the purpose. Your resume should have a purpose – other than the obvious one, which is to get you hired. For example, are you highlighting your academic prowess for a research role? Is the resume for a design-based role in which case you want the font to play with your attention to a good and different design? As you will see in the below list, certain fonts have a certain character to them and you want to make sure the font you choose fits with the purpose of your resume.
So, when you are thinking about the font, your thought process should be:
|1. Does the font convey the right purpose?|
|2. Does it look good in the size I’m using it in?|
|3. Is the text immediately readable?|
Again, it’s a good idea to not only look at the resume yourself but have a friend go over it – they can let you know what kind of vibe they are getting, how the font looks and feels and whether they find it easy to read or not.
One thing to keep in mind is the use of applicant tracking systems (ATSs). These are essentially computer algorithms that scan your resume to either pass it forward in the hiring funnel or not.
Now, it’s important to use a relatively generic font to ensure the computer can read it. You should also always check if the organization has specific rules regarding the formatting (including font) and follow these to ensure a simple formatting issue doesn’t get your resume rejected.
THE TOP 7 FONTS TO USE FOR YOUR RESUME
With the above in mind, let’s see what are the top fonts to use for your resume.
For a classic font choice, you could opt for Georgia. It’s a serif font, which uses thicker strokes specifically designed to create more clarity on a computer screen. It definitely benefits from looking the same whether you are viewing a Word-document or a PDF.
Georgia has a classical look without compromising on modern digital formatting. If you are looking for a simple font that looks good and professional, Georgia is definitely a good choice. It’s not surprising or playful but a safe pick for a traditional resume. In a CNBC survey, four of the eight experts picked it as a great font for a resume.
Trebuchet’s designer Vincent Connare has said he wanted to create a font that appears and behaves well on a digital screen, hoping to achieve a “modern open humanistic feel with glyph specific features”. It creates a lovely contrast in texture and provides you with something different from the other sans-serif fonts on the list.
The round and friendly font is especially good for creative fields, such as marketing. But you can use it on any resume – from the graduate level to the more experienced resume. Trebuchet is a good choice because it’s used by most operating systems as a core font and therefore, reading it won’t be a problem.
As another member of the popular sans-serif family, Arial is a clean and safe choice to make. It actually contains more humanist characteristics and is, therefore, relatable and non-aggravating font to use. Like Georgia, it has a modern feel to it without looking too stylish.
If you are looking for something classic for a traditional or first-time resume, Arial is a good option. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd or show your creativity, it isn’t the most suitable font.
Now, the Arial font family has a range of styles from Light to Bold Italic. The regular is the best option for a resume, although you could play with the different designs in your headings and sub-headings.
Calibri is another great choice because of its familiarity. It has been the default font in Microsoft Word since 2007, but this isn’t to its detriment. It makes it easy on the eyes and the reader doesn’t have to ‘get used to it’. Its creator Lucas de Groot has described it as a font with “a warm and soft character”.
Now, Calibri’s popular use does make it a slightly ‘lazy’ option. You do want to consider this when thinking about using it. However, if you are applying for your first job and you need a safe font to write your resume with, Calibri is definitely worth keeping in mind. It’s a great font for resumes in a variety of industries and if you have to send a general resume for a job site, this would be a great pick.
If you want another popular font but perhaps with a bit more texture to Calibri, you should consider Tahoma. It’s been widely used in Microsoft Windows and it is a standard choice for resumes. The great benefit of using Tahoma is its narrow body which allows you to fit more letters in a smaller space – if your resume has a lot of information to it, you should definitely consider using this font.
The font is also popularly used in technical publications. Therefore, it can be a great pick for technical industries and technology-focused resumes, in general. It’s also a good font for more experienced job seekers, exactly because it allows a lot of text without losing readability.
Garamond is a classic font that might seem a little out-dated choice. The font’s precursors have been in use for 500 years so it definitely works and is easy on the eye. It also benefits from looking readable even when you push the font size down or tighten up the spacing.
The two qualities, old-fashioned look and a high readability in a smaller size, have made it a popular option for those adding a list of experience and skills. It’s definitely a great choice for academic resumes and for those with year’s worth of work experience. Garamond adds to the feeling of professionalism and expertise. If you are applying for a traditional job in a traditional industry, then Garamond is definitely a good option to keep in mind.
Finally, you could go with Didot. It’s a distinctive serif font with roots in Paris, France. Perhaps its romantic feel isn’t a big surprise then. Didot has an elegant and rather fashionable design to it. It’s playful and it’s different – it has a creative feel to it without making it difficult to read.
Didot is a rather popular choice for the creative industries. It’s often used in the world of fashion and photography, making it a perfect choice for resumes looking to land a job in these or other similar industries. If you want your resume to stand out, then this font is definitely worthy of a try.
THE FONTS YOU NEVER WANT TO SEE IN A RESUME
The above seven are definitely worth considering when writing your resume. You could, of course, pick something that’s not mentioned in this post. The world is full of worthy fonts in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
However, a few fonts in the world are not worth considering under any circumstance. These can cause the hiring manager grow a few extra grey hairs. So, make sure you don’t pick these fonts under any circumstance:
|The worst fonts to use in a resume|
|Comic Sans||Everyone should know by now that Comic Sans is the biggest font mistake you can ever make. It replicates the look of an old comic book speech bubble and it really shouldn’t be on a serious resume – or many other things, for that matter.|
|Impact||Impact is big and bold. While these are not bad impressions for a resume, the font is simply too much for a professional document. It’s not easy on the eyes so avoid it at all cost.
|Windings||Windings is essentially a comedy font and therefore, you shouldn’t even consider it on a serious document. This is a bit of an obvious thing to say but people have done outrageous things in their resumes so it’s worth mentioning.
|Times New Roman||This might be the most surprising font on the list. However, it isn’t due to the font looking weird bur rather down to its popularity.
Times New Roman is used so widely that it won’t help your resume stand out. It will give it a boring and safe feel – something that won’t help when you want the job.
|Courier||Courier tries to emulate the look of a typewriter and that’s exactly what it does. But we live in the 21st century and you’re resume shouldn’t look like it was typed using an old typewriter.|
FINDING THE BEST FONT – THE BOTTOM LINE
The above tips should help you in picking the right fonts for your resume. The seven are definitely worth considering, with the above list of five worth avoiding at all costs.
Essentially, the right font is determined by the purpose of your resume. What kind of message do you want it to convey? Are you looking for something safe and traditional or do you want to be more playful? After you find fonts to go with your message, it’s down to presentation. It’s important to test different fonts and consider changing font size. This can dramatically change your font and improve the readability.
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