Ch. 2: The Best & Worst Fonts for Your Resume
Discover the best — and worst — typefaces and fonts for your professional healthcare resume. In the previous chapter, Ch. 1: What is a Resumé?, we cover the basics of resumes, their purpose, and why every serious hospital or healthcare job seeker needs one. Here in chapter two, however, we'll go a little more in depth and look at which typefaces and fonts are the best and worst for modern resumes.
First, let’s make it clear that a typeface is a family of basic design principles (e.g. Helvetica). However, within that typeface family there are multiple size and weight variations (e.g. italics, bold, semi-bold, light, condensed) that create individual fonts, such as semi-bold Helvetica in 12 point.
Not all typeface and font choices are created equal, especially when it comes to professional resumes. While one specific weight variation might be inappropriate to use, other weight variations could be recommended for a more professional feel and look. Furthermore, the best typeface and font for your resume may not be apparent at first, but that’s why we’re here to help!
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 typeface, as well as its fonts, that isn't used by most applicants, and will, therefore, do a better job of drawing the attention of the reader.
By choosing a more modern typeface and font selection, you not only show that you put more consideration into creating a quality resume for your potential employers instead of using a pre-built setting, but it can also help show elements of your attention to detail and your ability to stay on-trend with changes. In essence, the typeface and font choices in your healthcare resume can go a long way in terms of landing the desired interview.
While standing out among the masses is important, it's also key to stand out in the right way. That’s why this chapter will not only show you exactly which typefaces you should make a priority for your healthcare and hospital job resume, but the ones you should definitely be avoiding.
In general, your resume's font size should never exceed 12 points. We recommend using between 9 - 12 point font, with the larger being used for titles and smaller for descriptions. Along with this size variation, consider distinguishing yourself by displaying your name and other significant titles with your matching bold font.
The Best Typfaces for Your Resume:
Helvetica is considered to be the best typeface for a resume because of its clean lines and clarity. In fact, Helvetica is a good typeface to use for any professional usage. Helvetica is a modern sans-serif font which is one of the top choices used among designers. Helvetica has recently started creeping into more corporate brand logos as a more professional typeface to use.
Producing your resume with Helvetica will make you look modern, stylish, and thoughtful.
Calibri is making a comeback! Not only does an it make a great resume font due to its professional look, but it will produce a nice two page resume with 500-750 words when at a 12 point size. Calibri comes standard with Windows and Microsoft Word, so there is no need to download anything extra.
Because Calibri is one of the default options with Microsoft Windows, it is also one of the most universally readable fonts available today. This means that there will be no formatting or display issues if someone reads your resume on a different operating system than the original composition OS.
Designed for the corporate world, Lato is a sans-serif typeface that lends itself to a more neutral look in the body of paragraphs. One of the most useful characteristics of the Lato typeface is that it comes with a variety of weights and styles that resume writers can use to highlight different sections of their resume.
Even though there are different options to use, we recommend that you stay away from “thin”, “light, and “harline” weights as they can be difficult to see at smaller font sizes.
Lato comes across as serious, but if you expand the font, one can see its more playful characteristics, allowing it to give your resume or other writing a bit more character.
Garamond is an enduring serif typeface, much like its predecessor Times New Roman. Unlike Times New Roman, however, 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 type to use with resumes, Garamond is still a great choice if you want to go with a more classic look and keep the serifs.
Another great benefit to using Garamond is for those individuals who are looking to condense their resume into a single page. Garamond’s unique design will enable resume writers to lower the font size and still maintain readability.
Georgia is another professional looking serif typeface that's not quite as overused as Times New Roman. It also comes standard with all forms of Windows programs.
With thick letterforms, Georgia is an easy-to-read typeface and a great choice for digital documents. The creation inspiration for Georgia came from the developers wanting something that would appear clearly on computer monitors, while still keeping the traditional look of Times New Roman. So, if you're sending your resume as a PDF, don't overlook Georgia.
6. Gill Sans
Another simple yet sophisticated sans-serif typeface you should consider using is Gill Sans. Gill Sans has been around for quite some time as it was designed in the early 1900s and has retained popularity over time with its combination of a classic and modern look.Gill Sans has gained even more popularity recently as designers are using it for online marketing campaigns to generate awareness.
Gill Sans has gained even more popularity recently as designers are using it for online marketing campaigns to generate awareness.
Sans-serif is well known for its clean and crisp appearance over time, and Avenir continues that trend. There are many different weights that one could use for their resume, but it is recommended that individuals steer away from the light and book weights.
Constantia is a unique serif typeface that was initially commissioned by Microsoft. Constantia was released after three years of development and published with Microsoft Vista in the ClearType package to be easy to read through digital mediums on computer monitors. For those who are submitting their resumes through online review portals, this is a great typeface to use for a resume font.
9. Book Antiqua (or Palatino)
Book Antiqua, or most commonly referred to nowadays as Palatino is one of the older styled serif typefaces available today. Initially based around the italian renaissance writing styles, the Book Antiqua (Palatino) typeface mirrors the traditional style of a broad nib pen.
As one of the original fonts that came pre-installed on many Adobe and Apple products, Book Antiqua is one of the most used and widely recognized fonts.
The Didot typeface is great for those who are looking to add a bit of classical elements to their resume. The design utilizes rational design and elegant strokes, with added weight to the vertica stems of each letter or number. However, it is recommended that you do not overuse Didot, and only use it for key headings to avoid distraction to the rest of the resume.
Cambria was another one of the fonts included with the ClearType collection initially installed on many personal computer products. A serif based typeface, Cambria is one of the few fonts that remains its integrity and readability when reduced to smaller sizes. This means that this resume font is great for those who plan on submitting online resumes, and using the same typeface for their hard copy resumes.
Verdana, a san-serif typeface, was originally designed to be readable on low quality resolution screens and at smaller font sizes. Verdana features large letter widths with a loose letter spacing. This creates an easy to read typeface on any platform, and is thicker than normal fonts that are used for print or on-screen mediums.
13. Trebuchet MS
This sans-serif typeface was another of the commissioned designs for Microsoft to be installed for all personal computers. As one of the more popular designs, you cannot go wrong with using Trebuchet MS on your resume. This typeface is great for those who are looking to use something that contrasts to Verdana well.
The Worst Fonts for Your Resume:
1. Times New Roman
Times New Roman comes standard with all Windows installs, but its overuse throughout the years has a tendency to look old, tired, and lackluster. It is because of this overuse that using it in a resume shows potential employers that you gave no thought to the style and feel of your resume. For best results, opt for another serif typeface that isn't used as frequently.
Arial is another overused typeface that shows potential employers that you gave no thought to the design of your resume.
Much like Times New Roman, the only difference is that it's a sans-serif, Arial can be seen as a lazy choice when used in a professional resume.
For a more successful option, or if you want to seem like you care, go with Helvetica or any of the others listed in the first section of this article — they're cleaner and more modern.
Avoid Courier in your professional healthcare resume; it makes your document look outdated and like you typed it on a typewriter — which you didn't.It also comes across as unnatural, unprofessional, and like you're trying too hard.
Bottom line: We don't live in the 1800s and don't use typewriters anymore — pick a more modern font.
Impact was meant for use in headlines, and if you use it in a body paragraph, it’s almost unreadable, making it an easy toss-out for potential employers. Additionally, if you do use it, you might unfortunately give off the impression of being unprepared and less-than-educated.
Avoid using Impact in your resume. 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 designed for comic books, not resumes. Don't use it for one — unless you're applying to clown college.
The intent of Comic Sans is to be used for documents that surround humor or are targeted for children, not for professional documents. Using this typeface for a resume or another professional document is almost as bad as if you went with Wingdings, and it will solidify you as completely unprofessional and out-of-touch with modern ideas.
6. Lucida Console
This variant of the Lucida sans typewriter font features a couple different changes than the original Lucida font. Console features smaller line spacing and additional characters. With recent additions of several weight variations of bold and italicized forms, there are new forms of Lucida that many individuals don’t know about. The unique design of Lucida Console comes across as unprofessional and should not be used for resumes.
Futura, a sans-serif typeface that features inspiration from geometric shapes. With its similar appearance to roman numbers, the height of lowercase characters is taller than other typefaces available.
Futura has been historically used for movie posters and headline font to attract bold attention. The problem, is that these bold characters don’t transition well to the other elements of a resume.
Chalkduster, takes inspiration from the name it holds, chalk. With an appearance like someone took a piece of chalk to write their resume, it comes across as extremely unprofessional. With some recent creatives using it to show their design experience and background, chalkduster is one typeface to avoid at all costs.
9. Trajan Pro
One recognizable serif typeface that many people have seen before is Trajan Pro. With inspiration from roman typography with no lowercase letters, Trajan Pro uses an all-capital letter style.
While all capital letters might be useful to read, it comes across as unprofessional and might make employers think you left your Caps Lock key on while typing up your resume.
10. Bradley Hand
Bradley Hand has been recommended for personal branding and ad designs, but not for professional letters or resumes. With an appearance of casual handwriting based off the creator Richard Bradley’s own handwriting, the typeface comes across as unprofessional for those who are looking to use it in their resume.
The typeface comes across as more of a handwritten note instead of a professional correspondence.
11. Brush Script
Brush Script happens to be one of the most popular fonts in use today, but that doesn’t mean it’s recommended for use in resumes. With its unique design that looks similar to cursive calligraphy written with a brush, it can be difficult to read on digital screens and printed resumes.
The tight letter spacing of the characters also makes it difficult to read when in lower font sizes.
12. Apple Chancery
Apple Chancery is one of the many exclusive script typefaces for Apple and Apple products. The design is based off the chancery style of handwriting that showcases unconnected character styles.
This typeface commonly receives criticism for its poor design quality, and those seeking an easy to read resume should avoid Apple Chancery.
13. Apple Chancery
One more sans-serif typeface to avoid is the commonly used Century Gothic. Century Gothic takes inspiration from Futura, it features a bold weight with geometric shape inspiration.
Commonly used for large headings and signs, it doesn’t translate well to professional resumes due to its tight spacing between characters. This means that it doesn’t translate well to smaller sizes and compressed areas on a resume where spacing is premium.
The best typefaces and their accompanying fonts for your resume are those that look more modern and clean, but still remain professional.
With your typeface and font choices, you should avoid anything outlandish or that could possibly make you look unprofessional. While some unique typefaces might make your creative personality stand out from the crowd, it is better to use professional fonts that can help make your experience be the thing that stands out.
Typefaces like Helvetica and Calibri will remain strong resume choices until they, too, eventually become overused and suffer the same downfall as Times New Roman or Arial.