Finding a job is tough these days, with steep competition and hundreds of applications per open job listing. You want every aspect of your resume to convey that you’re the best fit for the job. After you’ve considered your experience, skills, education, and qualifications, you have another choice to make: what is the best font to use for your resume?
Your resume font is one of those things that can either support your message (I’m perfect for this position!) or send the wrong message (I’m too old/too young/ too out of touch for this job). In this article, we’ll give you the 8 best fonts to use on your resume and how you can choose the right fit for your resume.
There is also a video recap at the end of this article.
8 Best Fonts to Use on a Resume
Font selection is an important part of your resume because it sets a tone for your whole document. You can use different fonts for the body and the headings, but you don’t want to use more than two.
The fonts listed above–and detailed below–are all good, clean font choices. Any font with too many flourishes risks being illegible to the ATS. You want your font to come across as professional, not detract from your message.
Calibri takes number one on our list and has really gained popularity lately. It’s professional and more modern-looking than some of other fonts, making it a great font to use on a resume.
Lucas de Groot, the creator of the Calibri font, described it as having “a warm and soft character.” Microsoft has also Times New Roman with Calibri as the standard font for Word and other applications.
Arial is another great font to use on your resume. It’s part of the popular sans-serif font family. Many have said that Arial is clean and easy to read. It also has a more modern look to it than other fonts.
Here is a good description from Wikipedia:
“Arial contains more humanist characteristics than many of its predecessors and as such is more in tune with the mood of the last decades of the twentieth century.”
Helvetica is another good sans-serif font you can use for your resume. It’s very similar to Arial and requires close inspection to really tell the difference. It, too, offers a clean and modern look that’s easy on the eye.
Also a sans-serif font, Tahoma has a more modern look than the rest of the fonts listed. It was used by Microsoft for many years for a variety of different programs.
Trebuchet is another san-serif font, created by Vincent Connare. His goal with Trebuchet was to create a font that appeared well on a screen and also provided a contrast in texture to Verdana, which is next on our list.
Verdana is another sans-serif which is a good font for a resume. It was designed in 1996 by Mathew Carter, who worked for Microsoft. Verdana was created to appear well on a small screen as well as screens with low resolution.
Garamond is a collection of old-style serif fonts created by 16th-century French engravers. Although it is a good choice, it may seem a bit stale and outdated to some. If you have a lot of experience, it may be a good choice.
8. Times New Roman
This is probably the most debated font when it comes to resume writing. Times New Roman is a classic serif typeface that may be a bit too overdone for a resume. Although no hiring manager will dismiss your resume because you used Times New Roman, it may not stand out as well as the other fonts on our list.
Fonts You Should Never Use on a Resume
We hope it goes without saying but absolutely DO NOT use Comic Sans or any similar “fun” font on your resume. It will make you stand out, but not in a good way. It’s so childish that it will convey to the employer that you’re out of touch with the professional world.
Just in case you’re not sure what font-type we’re talking about, here are a few examples:
Do not use these fonts, please!
How to choose the font for your resume
Let’s go over some factors to keep in mind when choosing a resume font for your resume.
Readability is, far and away, the most important thing to consider when choosing a font for your resume. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people completely screw up on this one.
If readability is your only concern, any basic serif or sans serif font will do the trick. Also extremely important, avoid those comic-looking childish fonts at all costs.
Some fonts were designed to look better on a screen, while others look better printer out. Think about who is viewing your resume and how they are likely to view your resume. You should be able to use your own judgment to determine readability.
Resume font size
We’ve been so intrigued by font styles that we almost forgot to talk about the size! Generally, you will be fine using a font size somewhere in between size 10 to size 14.
However, it is very important to realize that some font styles run bigger and some run smaller. For that reason, it’s important to make a judgment on the font size AFTER you’ve already decided on a style.
Your goal is to maximize the ease of reading your resume without making the text look overly bloated. Of course, you’ll have to use your best judgment when deciding if it looks bloated. But, if you stick to font smaller than 14, you will be fine in nearly every scenario.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the font size effect on resume length. Obviously, the size of the font can dramatically change the length of your resume–use this to your advantage!
For example, say your resume is just a line or two over a single page or just a few lines away from filling a full page. Adjusting the font just one-tenth of a point can make the text fill out the rest of a page or prevent it from spilling over into the next one. These slight adjustments can work wonders in making your resume more aesthetically pleasing.
Purpose of a resume
The font changes the entire feeling of a resume. Remember the message you want to convey with your resume. When you take a quick glance at it, does it convey the purpose you want it to?
Does it look like the resume of an old, seasoned veteran? Or, does it look like it is representing a young professional? A recent college grad?
Just like a piece of art can induce certain feelings, so can a good resume. A great font selection will pop out immediately. It should give hiring managers an idea of who you are and what your purpose was for writing the resume they see before them.
The font you choose for your resume is important. You want to strike the perfect balance of uniqueness, class, and professionalism. Keeping these things in mind when choosing a font can be the difference between a call-back and radio silence.
Remember that the “perfect” resume font is subjective. While you should certainly select a font that doesn’t distract from your message, having a well-written resume is more important. While drafting your resume, keep these factors in mind. You’ll be on your way to the next interview in no time!
To make sure the content and format of your resume are ready for online applications in 2020, check out our free resume review tool.