Choosing The Best Font for Resume

Have you recently graduated and are eager to jumpstart your career? Do you have the perfect resume prepared to apply for your dream job? Are you feeling confident about your job application because you have an amazing education, the work experience, and expert skills you cannot wait to share? Here are the things you need to prepare for when writing that perfect resume:

  1. Your career summary
  2. Your contact information
  3. Your educational background
  4. Your relevant work and technical experiences
  5. The names who can give you a glowing recommendation

Apart from thinking hard about what to put on your resume, you should also pay attention to the font you will use – both the style and size can affect the readability and message of your document. Through this article, we hope to help you find the best font for CV or resume writing.

Why Bother with Choosing the Best Font for Resume?

The resume serves several purposes, all of which can become unmet without the right font. Here are reasons why you should polish your resume:

  • It demonstrates the skills you possess;
  • It presents the assets you could potentially contribute to the company;
  • It presents your goals and values;
  • It reveals your overall hire-ability.

However, regardless of what you write in your resume, all your efforts will go to waste if it is hard to comprehend and your HR refuses to go through it. Using the wrong resume or CV font will no doubt cause this.

No matter what position you are applying to, whether it is executive or entry level, if you want to be considered the perfect candidate, the first step is to use the right font! Do your research. Without proper knowledge, you can use the wrong font to convey your experience, skills, and interests. It only takes a few seconds for a recruiter to dismiss an applicant as not qualified and unfit if you have used an unconventional font that looks unprofessional. The ideal font is one that is clear, legible and does not detract from the content of your document.

Ranking the Best Fonts for Your Resume

We often get asked: “what font should I use for my resume?” There are some fonts that are perfect for a resume and more attractive to recruiters than others. Not all these, however, are of the same rank, as some fonts work better for specific posts or fields. If you want to stand out amongst all applicants, a more creative font may be suitable. Not all these fonts are tacky and informal- there are some that still look professional and normal to the eyes of HR recruiters.

Below are the best and most popular fonts for your resume or CV, ranked. These are good resume fonts that are preferred by almost all readers.Of course, it is a matter of personal preference and the nature of the company you want to send an application to. So, use your own judgment to decide which of these fonts you may want to apply:

Times New Roman. For most of our school papers and requirements, we have been assigned by our instructors to use Times New Roman. This font is a typical choice for most work and academic documents or official forms. This font is easily readable in both print and electronic versions, which is why it is one of the top suggestions for resumes. If Times New Roman is the default in most legal, operations, and corporate documents, using it as a standard resume font type makes a lot of sense.

Calibri. The font looks soft and modern. This is the reason why most email programs now utilize the standard font Calibri, making it now familiar to the eyes of many. If you prefer a Sans Serif font, unlike the Times New Roman, then this is your best bet for the font for your resume.

Arial and Arial Narrow. If you are someone wanting to work in the marketing or creative field, this is an excellent choice. It’s minimalistic, but not too boring. This classic Sans Serif font can show your creative tendencies while at the same time, remain very neat-looking. Arial Narrow is best too if you are tight on space.

Verdana. If you want to achieve the Arial effect but worry about its readability, you can choose Verdana. It’s more eye-catchy because it has a bit wider spacing compared to Arial, though it’s also clean and modern-looking.

Cambria. This is another default-type font that most human resource managers are familiar with. Using this is another safe bet.

If you do not like any of these, there are some more dependable fonts you can choose from. Bear in mind that these are more aligned to the expectations of modern companies, rather than old-fashioned ones that still would like to see a traditional font being used. These fonts are Garamond, Trebuchet MS, Didot, and Book Antiqua. Other fonts not on this list probably look too artsy and unprofessional.

Avoid These Worst Fonts for Your Resume

If the best fonts for a resume exist, there are also the worst. Ranking them in no particular order, below are the fonts from our “not to use” list if you want a higher chance of getting your dream job. These fonts may look cool, but to a resume reader, they are extremely unprofessional.

Courier New. This one looks like you did your resume with a typewriter. If you do not want to come across as a hipster or be accused of tactically making your document look longer, do not use this. For the majority of jobs today, it does not look appropriate.

Lucinda Console. This font has wide spacing as well as squat formatting that does not look professional for something as important as a resume. It even kind of looks like it could be used for an IT coding project. There are far more sophisticated fonts out there, perfect for selling yourself.  

Comic Sans. It is called comic for a reason. Unless you want to appear as a joke, avoid this.  

Bradley Hand ITC. For obvious reasons, this should not be used. It looks like a scribble, and something that certainly will not scream “professional!”. It is the font a high school student would use for a fun project, not one for the serious job-seeking person you are.

Brush Script. It is a given that resumes should not be typewritten with any form of script. Do not even try your chances for the sake of standing out. You might find yourself losing out on a chance to prove yourself in the workplace because your resume is thrown into the “not worth evaluating” pile.

Your resume should naturally reflect who you are and what you can possibly offer. But if you want to stand out, do it by using the right font, not one that could potentially make a recruiter shake his or her head and toss your resume away.

Beyond Best Font: More Tips to Create an Effective Resume

In addition to choosing the best style and size of fonts, there are more tips to consider:

Keep the font changes to a minimum. Nothing looks messier than a resume with varying styles and sizes. It is best to keep the font consistent throughout unless you are specifically asked to do so because the human resource manager wants to see your design capabilities. Preferably, choose the one that is legible and formal-looking throughout the document.

Never switch fonts within the body. If you prefer to differentiate between the header and body of your text, two fonts can be used. However, it is definitely not acceptable to switch fonts within one body of text. If the HR manager does not throw your resume aside, he or she will definitely have the wrong impression of you, and will question your strengths to be a good fit for the organization, and even the credibility of your school!

Be mindful when faxing resumes. It is common for quality to diminish when documents are faxed. A smaller font will look splotched or blurry, which may be a condition for the human resource manager to put your resume to the bottom of the pile.

Be mindful of the computer glare effect when emailing your resume. If your resume is sent over email, reading small fonts on a screen can irritate human resource managers.   

Emphasize your name. One great tip is to use your name as the title, making it the largest among all the other components of the resume. This is one way to ensure the human resource manager can have a better recall of who you are and what resume is yours.

Always use black fonts. One look at your multi-colored resume will make most human resource managers dismiss it as a joke. Even adding just a tiny color amidst a sea of black can be taken as an ill-prepared resume. The goal is for the human resource manager to focus on the content of your resume - different colors will just distract them.  

Use bold, underline, and italics sparingly. If you constantly use bold, underlines, and italics, what you are trying to emphasize by using these techniques will no longer be emphasized. Instead, you are left with a messy looking resume with no focus. So, it is suggested that you only use these formatting devices when it is absolutely necessary.

Choosing the right font size for your resume

Apart from the using the right font styles (Times New Roman, Arial, Geneva, among other), it is important to make sure your font size is just about right. Choosing an appropriate size ensures that you have a good balance between words and white space.

  • If it is too small, it will be too difficult to see. If it is too big, it will look unprofessional.
  • As a rule of thumb, 10 points should be the smallest size for your resume.

Use consistent fonts and their sizes. They can vary between headings, subheadings, and paragraphs, but there should still be a sense of consistency and cleanliness throughout. If you want to emphasize, you can choose to use bold or underline. For the body, 12 points are recommended because most readers are accustomed to reading typed text in this size. Headers can be larger; a good range is 16 to 22. Anything bigger will look distracting, ruin the graphic design, and make the whole resume look disorganized.

See Also