For those looking for a job, the question of choosing a resume font is one of the last things coming across their minds. The reason is simple: job seekers have got enough on their plate already. They have to think about so many things at the same time (i.e. analyze the target job requirements, highlight relevant skills on their resume, make sure they meet the criteria, etc.). Many applicants don't even bother thinking about such things as font, spacing, text size, etc. They simply don't believe these details can make any difference whatsoever. The truth of the matter is they can.
The thing is that when it comes to job search and hiring practices, appearance can go a long way in demonstrating one’s professionalism and perspective. We don’t use crayons or paint to draft official correspondence, do we? Considering the fact that hiring managers have hundreds of resumes to review, the appropriate resume font can certainly help you have an edge by making your resume more readable (skimmable). If the person can’t quickly scan your document because of a funky font, it is unlikely your resume will never get a second look. Therefore, job seekers need to concentrate not only on the content and its organization but also on the way their resume looks. Otherwise, you risk that the hiring authorities will never get to the actual content of your application at all.
How to Choose a Resume Font?
A good resume font would be the one that will make the document skimmable and easy-to-read. Since HRs spend seconds to review a resume, they prefer looking through papers with a good structure and easy-to-read text. If you have ever seen how people with zero design skills try to experiment with fonts to make text look better, then you know how complex fonts can make things difficult for readers. Your task then is to choose a simple, clean font for your resume that will make your text clear to the one reviewing it.
There are basically two font families to choose from: Serif (with “tails”) and Sans Serif (without “tails”). Those that belong to the Sans Serif category are considered easy-to-read fonts that should work well for your resume. Apart from Serif and Sans Serif, there are a couple of more font types you should be aware of. For example, monospace is a font family associated with typewriters because these fonts are designed in a way where each letter takes up the same space on a line. The examples of such fonts are Courier or Courier New. They allow for consistent and clear graphic design. Besides, they are becoming more popular because it brings up nostalgic feelings, sending people back to the days of telegrams. Another popular type is cursive fonts. They appear to be handwritten to give the message a personal touch. Largely, cursive fonts (like Comic Sans) are used for marketing materials and graphic design. Rarely (if ever) they are used for business correspondence or resume writing though.
Another aspect to be mindful of when choosing a resume font is the thickness of the lines. Very “thin” fonts can be very difficult to read on a computer screen so it is better to avoid using those. Lastly, it is very important to go with the optimal font size. Sometimes, when job seekers want to squeeze all of the information into a single page, they go for a smaller font size which can be daunting to read. The recommended size margin is between 10 and 12 points.
Top 10 Resume Fonts
When it comes to well-polished application documents, the clean and simple font is vital. This makes Sans Serif fonts a clear favorite as they provide a simple yet contemporary look. Based on the criteria provided above as well as the experience of our resume experts and former HR managers, we have compiled a list of the best fonts for a resume. The list contains the fonts that look professional and are easy-to-read. There are obviously a lot more of good resume fonts you can choose from; we just feel that these 10 make the top based on the recruiters' preferences.
It is one of the best fonts to use for resumes and cover letters. It is a simple yet contemporary font that maximizes readability. Since Calibri replaced Times New Roman as default Microsoft Word font, it has become a standard choice for many.
Calibri looks simple and clean – exactly what the hiring managers want. It should render correctly on their computer regardless of the word processing software they use (for cases, when you prefer sending your resume in MS Word format).
Because Calibri is a default font, it means many other job seekers will use it as well. This will make it hard for you to stand out if you choose this option.
Open Sans has become one of Google’s signature fonts. This fact alone should hint that using this one for resume might be not a bad idea. Its letters are wide and tall which helps readers skim through information quickly.
Optimal readability is reason #1 why web designers like this font a lot. Besides, Open Sans is often used by Google and Mozilla Firefox which makes it familiar to the eye.
Just like with Calibri, this font appears standard and neutral which will not help you stand out from the crowd and highlight your personality in any way.
Curved edges and slight tails make this Sans Serif font a good choice. Although it was designed over 40 years ago, it is still widely used today.
Rated as one of the most favorite fonts among designers, it can help you express your personality. It is warm and lively. If you are applying for a creative position where the aesthetic approach is important, Avenir might be the right choice.
It is not a standard font; therefore, it is not that safe. To a highly formal eye, that can be a problem so there is a certain risk here.
A good old Georgia that was developed back in the 90s remains one of the popular fonts used nowadays. The reason is simple – it is easy to read and neutral.
It is easily accessible. Served as a good replacement for good old Times New Roman. Georgia font was updated about 6 years ago so it is not completely outdated as some suggest.
No chance to stand out with this one. Many people use it today so if you want to emphasize your personality, you better go with a different one.
Garamond is also one of the old and classic fonts that has been created a while ago. It is often used in print as well as in business correspondence.
If you are applying for the academic or literary types of jobs then this old-school font with a vintage look will make a difference. It will demonstrate your personality without going too extreme into the modern look.
Just like Sabon and Cormorant, Garamond font has a retro look, which makes it not the best choice if you are pursuing jobs in contemporary companies.
This not a standard font and will help you stand out against the other candidates. It is a unique typeface somewhat revised from the font used in the 1970s.
It is creative and easy-to-read at the same time. Avant Garde is a perfect font to be used in resumes of creative personalities pursuing similar kinds of jobs.
It may not work well for executive positions in traditional fields. Simply because it is a non-conventional font, it is better to avoid Avant Garde for management resumes.
This sans-serif font is one of the most popular in the advertising business. It looks great and it is easy on the eyes. BMW, Panasonic, Lufthansa use Helvetica for their signs.
This is a great choice if you are looking for a light, modern, and professional font. It is somewhat universal and can be used for creative resumes as well as conservative ones.
It comes preloaded on Macs, while PC users have to download it.
Designed by Firmon Didot, this font was created before the French Revolution. It can significantly boost a resume because of its look. Besides, not many people use it so you have a chance to stand out.
If you want to show off your sophistication and style, Didot is a perfect choice. It works great for the fashion and photography industry as well as for the jobs where creativity is required.
You have to download this font. Besides, it should be used sparingly (works best for headings) because too much of Didot will make your text look terrible (see the picture above).
This font looks great on a computer screen which is where all resumes are usually reviewed. It goes a step further than traditional fonts, such as Arial or Calibri helping job seekers express their personalities.
Trebuchet MS is one of the core fonts for the web. It is computer screen-friendly and is considered a great choice for the sales application and marketing field.
Some of the features in Trebuchet MS have to be purchased before they can be used. In addition, it is not the best font to use for the executive type of jobs.
The word ‘Lato’ is translated summer from the Polish. While being a professional font, it still has some brightness touches making it more attractive for creative job seekers.
It is an easy-to-read and stylish at the same time. A perfect mix of lightness and profession style. It is also an open-source font that is available for everybody.
Not every computer has this font installed. This means you should always send your resume in PDF format so that the employer would see the same formatting as you do.
Summary of Findings
Despite the fact that content is the key of every resume it may well be that the hiring manager won’t even proceed to review it due to a poorly chosen font. Therefore, choosing the right font is extremely important when drafting a resume (unless you are writing your resume only for self-gratification purposes). Here are some tips on how to choose the right resume font:
- Make sure the font is easy on the eyes (which means the hiring authorities will be able to skim everything through quickly).
- It is better to use a universal font that will open on every PC (otherwise, make sure you send a PDF version of your resume).
- Use font to express your professionalism and personality.
- Remember it is not about what you like. Some industries prefer traditional fonts, while others are open to creative ones.