Choosing a font is an important part of your resume. A good font choice will make your resume look professional and help it stand out to hiring managers. Furthermore, resume scanning software can better recognize most professional fonts. In this article, we give tips to help you pick a good font for your resume.
Why is resume font important?
The style of the font you choose for your resume is important because it impacts the readability and appearance. It gives your resume a professional appearance and helps you present a positive first impression to the hiring manager.
Choosing the right font ensures your resume is readable to applicant tracking system software. When you use a standard font, the likelihood of the hiring manager receiving your resume for review increases. When you fill out an application online, some ATS software can automatically scan your resume and populate the boxes for you. Using an easy-to-scan font makes it simple for the ATS to translate your resume to the application.
When choosing a resume font, consider the size, presentation and legibility on both paper and a computer screen. You'll likely send your resume through an online link or email first and present a paper copy during an interview.
Common resume fonts
You have several professional fonts to choose from for your resume. The two styles of fonts are serif and sans serif:
Serif fonts have a decorative line or taper added to the start and end of a letter stem. Examples of serif fonts are:
- Baskerville: The font is noted for its clean lines and traditional look. It is frequently used in academic publications and works best for people applying for academic roles or professionally conservative roles, such as lawyers.
- Book Antiqua: Now called Palatino, this font is based on Italian renaissance writing styles and mimics the style and grace of a broad nib pen. This font can give your resume a classic look ideal for librarians, teachers and other academic professionals.
- Courier New: The Courier New font has a contemporary look. Use Courier New if you want a balance between a contemporary and traditional look for your resume. Courier New is good for user interface designers, tech professionals and executives.
- Garamond: There are at least 17 variants of the Garamond font, and they're all relatively conservative. Use this font if you're applying for a job in a traditional business or medical setting.
- Georgia: The Georgia font is intended to be legible on small or low-resolution computer screens. This font is useful for passing automatic resume scanning software. Consider this font if you're sending your resume electronically.
- Times New Roman: As the font was created for a newspaper, Times New Roman is good for conservative and traditional resumes for lawyers and similar professions.
Sans serif fonts
Sans serif fonts don't have the lines or tapers at the end of the letter's stem. Some examples include:
- Calibri: Calibri has is a softer font and is ideal for those who need to balance personality and professionalism, such as teachers. Artists, graphic designers and user interface designers should also consider Calibri for their resume font.
- Arial: Arial is a sans serif that is clean and easy to read. There are several variants of the Arial typeface. The font has a contemporary look that is good for creative resumes or resumes intended to convey emotional warmth as well as professionalism.
- Helvetica: The Helvetica font is a neutral font without ornamentation that is good for anyone who wants to present a modern, sophisticated look. Variants of this font are Neue Helvetica and Helvetica World.
- Lato: Lato is a sans-serif typeface that has a neutral look for your resume. The font has a variety of weights that you can use. It's good for corporate and executive resumes.
- Tahoma: As a humanist sans serif font, Tahoma is good for teachers and other educators to use as it has a warm-looking but professional appearance.
- Trebuchet: Trebuchet MS is a humanist sans serif typeface. The Trebuchet font was designed to appear well on a computer screen. It's a useful font to use in any field or setting.
- Verdana: Verdana is intended to appear well on small computer screens as well as computer screens with low resolution. This font is a good font for passing automatic resume screening software.
Resume font tips
While knowing the different font types is a good start to helping you choose the right font for your resume, you also need to consider how other necessary elements such as spacing, color, style and size apply to the font you choose. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right font to leave a positive impression with the hiring manager:
- Avoid using color.
- Use the right number of fonts.
- Avoid specialty fonts.
- Use a standard font size.
- Use bold or italics for emphasis.
- Review your resume.
Avoid using color for fonts
It is usually best to use a black font on a white background when writing a resume. The contrast of black and white makes it easy for automatic resume scanning software and hiring managers to scan your resume. Black fonts also work best if you're applying for a job in a traditional setting, like medicine or finance. If you are a creative job applicant, such as an artist or graphic designer, consider saving the color and design for your portfolio where color can accentuate your qualifications.
Use the right number of fonts
Using multiple fonts throughout your resume can help you emphasize specific areas and make your resume easier to scan. Using a different font for headings and the rest of your resume text makes each section heading stand out. For example, use a serif typeface, such as Garamond, for the headings in your resume, and a sans serif font, such as Helvetica, for the body of your resume. It is also important to maintain a consistent writing style throughout your resume, so try not to use more than two fonts in your resume, and use each one consistently.
Avoid specialty fonts
Although specialty fonts may look nice, these fonts may be difficult for automatic resume scanning software to read and may make your resume look less professional to the hiring manager. Avoid using specialty and fancy fonts even if you are a creative job applicant to ensure you make a positive impression. Here are some fonts you may want to leave off of your resume:
- Comic Sans
Use a standard font size
Though you may be tempted to make your font size smaller to fit your resume on one page, it's best to use a size that hiring managers can read easily. Use 10- or 12-point fonts for the body of your resume, including section headers. A larger font size between 16 and 18 points is appropriate for the heading banner at the top of your resume that includes your name. Avoid using smaller fonts that may crowd your resume and larger fonts that use too much space.
If you need more space, try adjusting the line and margin spacing. Single-line spacing and smaller margins can help you fit more on the page without making your font size too small.
Use bold or italics for emphasis
If you want to emphasize specific areas of your resume, use bold or italics. It is also important to use bold and italics sparingly to make your resume appear more professional and easier to read. Automatic resume scanning software is better at converting bold and italics than it is at converting underlined text. Underlined text may also create confusion for the hiring manager as it is common to use this emphasis for web links.
You can use bold or italics to separate your sections without increasing your font size. Bold or italicize section headers like 'work experience,' 'education' and 'skills,' then use regular font for the content.
Review your resume
After you have finished writing and formatting your resume, ask a friend, family member, mentor or trusted coworker to review your resume and provide constructive feedback. Ask them to review the overall content, style and format of your resume and to ensure the fonts and formatting you chose appear professional and are easy to read.