Why is Font Important?
Your resume is used to present your skills and qualifications for a job opening that you want to get, so it needs to project an air of professionalism. You do not want a recruiter to be put off from reading your resume because they would need to spend an hour deciphering it.
There are five types of fonts that each have their characteristics, but the best and most legible types for resume use are:
- Serif (with small lines at the end of each stroke of a letter).
- Sans serif (without those small lines).
Serif fonts may be easier to read, as the little lines help the brain to compute what it is reading a little faster, but sans serif fonts are more modern which suits today's more minimalist, limited-character-driven style.
While you do want your font to be easily read, you should still have your resume stand out in some way. The most common font style for resumes is Times New Roman, 12 points. However, it can get quite boring for recruiters to see the same style all the time. So, instead of just using the default font on your laptop or PC, here are some alternative fonts that look great on resumes.
Best Resume Fonts:
Calibri replaced Times New Roman as MS Word's default. It is gentle, soft, modern, and universally readable. Because of its soft design, Calibri is great for jobs where people take care of others, like teaching, nursing, or hospitality.
A default font, Cambria is familiar and dependable and works well on screen or in print. It is often considered to be a more traditional choice for resumes and makes it easier to read smaller text sizes. Cambria is great for traditional fields like law, academia, banking, or accounting.
A graceful, old-style font that suits artistic people and ad managers but also works well for academic resumes and people who have a lot of work experience.
Helvetica is a clean and modern font that is popular among designers, topographers, and advertising agents. It also works well for people in more modern positions, like sales, office work, or customer service.
Georgia is a traditional font that has a high readability, as it was designed to be read online and is available on any computer. Georgia is great for creative fields like graphic design, publishing, or photography.
Arial is a classic font and is a safe bet as the lines are clean and very easy to read. It is a very common font though, so may be a bit boring for your recruiter to read.
Book Antiqua is a gentle and distinctive font that is easy to read and readily available on Microsoft. It's a great choice for arts and humanities professions.
A rounded, friendly font, Trebuchet is a little more textured and modern than other fonts and is well-suited to creative, social media roles or marketing and sales professions. It is also great for entry-level applicants.
Didot is one of the more creative fonts that is still professional enough for resumes. It is a delicate, sophisticated, and distinctive font perfect for creative professions, most commonly in fashion. However, it displays better at larger sizes so is best suited to resume headers only.
|Times New Roman
A classic, formal font, Times New Roman is a default font that works best for legal and corporate professions.
Verdana is clean, modern, and easy to read in small print on screens as it has slightly wider than normal spacing. This makes it a great choice for people who need to squeeze a lot of information into their resumes.
Avenir is a geometric font that is popular among designers and is just neutral enough to be easy to read while still making a stylistic impact.
Additional Font Tips:
The best font size for the body of your resume is between ten and 12pt, depending on your resume's layout and the font type. Since it's best to keep your resume to one or two pages, if possible, start with 10pt and work your way up from there if you have space.
Even if your resume is longer than two pages, don't use anything less than 10pt, as smaller fonts will be difficult for recruiters to read. Instead, try to crop your resume and make it more concise. Also, remember that some fonts work better at certain sizes.
You can add style to your resume by changing the font size of your headings and subtitles. Most word processors come with different heading versions of the font, such as h1, h2, h3, etc. Using these for headers will ensure you get the right size differences and are consistent throughout the document.
Italics vs. Bold:
You can also add style to your resume by using Microsoft's default headings, which are in bold. Italics can be useful for supporting text if you don't want to use a smaller font. However, you need to remember to be consistent with this style and also to not use bold or italics too much. You need your resume to remain professional.
Using a pop of color for your headings and subtitles can really make your resume stand out, but this should be kept to just a few areas, such as:
- Your name.
- Section headers.
- Bars or charts.
- Any vertical or horizontal lines.
Only choose one color and stick with it for the areas you want to highlight as using multiple colors will just distract and confuse the recruiter. Also, be wary of using lightly colored or thin fonts, which can also be difficult to read. Stick with black instead of gray or another color in the body of your resume.
Another way to help your headings and subtitles to stand out from the body of your resume is to pair two different fonts that agree with each other. You can choose fonts with contrasting typefaces, standard script with cursive script, or serif with sans-serif, but the two fonts should look good together.
Fonts for ATS Resumes:
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) work by scanning resumes and parsing (or pulling out) information. ATS systems are not perfect, and they will miss information if the resume formatting isn't to the system's specifications. Certain fonts just don't parse well with an ATS, but the ones that do are:
- Times New Roman.
- Book Antiqua (or Palatino).
Using a font that doesn't parse well with an ATS system will result in the ATS converting important information from your resume into tofu, those little blank boxes that replace numbers, letters, and other characters. Simple fonts, especially Arial and Times New Roman, work best for ATS resumes.
No matter what font style or size you choose, the most important thing for your resume is to ensure that it is clean, neat, and highly readable. Make sure your font is clear and sized between ten and 12pts with larger headings.