Ch. 2: The Best Fonts for Your Resume
In the previous chapter, Ch. 1: What is a Resume?, we cover the basics of resumes, their purpose, and why every serious job seeker needs one. Here, we'll go a little more in depth and look at which fonts are the best and worst for modern resumes. Not all fonts are equal, especially when talking about resumes, and the best fonts for your resume may not be apparent at first.
Today, when the labor market is completely saturated, it's important to stand out in any way you can. An easy way to differentiate your resume from others in the pile is to use a modern font that isn't used by most applicants, and that will do a better job of drawing the attention of the reader. By choosing a more modern font, you show that you put more consideration into creating a quality resume for the employers to send it to, and it can go a long way in terms of landing the interview.
Although standing out among the masses is important, it's also key to stand out in the right way. This chapter will show you exactly which fonts you should make a priority, and ones you should definitely be avoiding.
Your resume's font size should never exceed 12 pts. We recommend using between 9 - 12 pt font, with the larger being used for titles and smaller for descriptions.
The Best Fonts for Your Resume:
Helvetica is considered to be the best font for a resume because of its clean lines and clarity. In fact, Helvetica is a good font to use for any professional usage. Producing your resume with it will make you look modern, stylish, and thoughtful.
In fact, Helvetica is so popular that companies like Toyota, Nestle, and Post-It use it in their logo.
Calibri is making a come back and makes a great resume font due to it's professional look and will produce a nice two page resume with 500-750 words when at a 12pt. size. It comes standard with Windows and Microsoft Word, so no need to download anything extra.
Designed for the corporate world, Lato is a sans-serif font that lends itself to a more neutral look in the body of paragraphs. Lato comes across as serious, but if you expand the font, one can see it's more playful characteristics and is a good choice to give a resume character.
Garamond is an enduring serif typeface like its predecessor Times New Roman. Unlike TNR, Garamond isn't overused and is more elegant and unique. Using it on a resume is a good choice for a clean, polished, classic looking document. While we prefer a sans-serif font to use with resumes, Garamond is still a great choice if you want to go with a more classic look and keep the serifs.
Georgia is another serif font that's not as tired as Times New Roman and comes standard with all forms of Windows. With thick letterforms, it is an easy-to-read font and a great choice for digital documents. So if you're sending your resume as a PDF, don't overlook Georgia as a font great choice.
The Worst Fonts for Your Resume:
1. Times New Roman
Times New Roman comes standard with all Windows installs, and is a tired, played-out font that reminds us all of the English papers we had to write throughout school. Using it shows potential employers that you gave no thought to the style and feel of your resume. Go with another serif font that isn't as overly used. Avoid Times New Roman.
Arial is another over-used font that shows you gave no thought to the design of your resume. It's as played out as Times New Roman, the only difference is that it's a sans-serif. It's a lazy choice, so if you want to seem like you care, go Helvetica or any of the others listed above--they're cleaner and more modern.
Avoid Courier because it makes your document look outdated and like you typed it on a typewriter--and you didn't--so it comes across as unnatural, unprofessional, and like you're trying too hard. We don't live in the 1800s and don't use typewriters anymore--pick a more modern font.
Don't use Impact in your resume. It was meant for use in headlines, and if you use it in a body paragraph it is almost unreadable and makes you look like you did no research and have no education. Avoid it. In fact, don't even use it for the headlines as it can actually be painful for the reader, and that's the last thing you want when trying to land an interview.
5. Comic Sans
Comic Sans was meant for comic books, not resumes. Don't use it for one-- unless you're applying to clown college. It's intent is to be used for documents that surround humor or are targeted for children, so this font is almost as bad as if you went with Wingdings. Use of this font will solidify you as completely unprofessional and out-of-touch with modern ideas.
The best fonts for your resume are those that look more modern and clean, while still remaining professional. You should avoid anything outlandish or that could possibly make you look unprofessional. Fonts like Helvetica and Calibri will remain strong choices until they, too, eventually become overused and suffer the same downfall as Times New Roman or Arial.
Once more job seekers jump on the bandwagon, in several years, other fonts may become more desirable and better choices. For now, though, we stand by these recommendations.
Next: Ch. 3: Resume Format