Those that take the time to obsess over every detail of their resume are the ones that tend to get more phone calls. That is because when it comes to resumes, every detail matters. From the details of your work history to professionalism of your email address, each part of the resume is critical to making sure that it receives positive attention.
That is why the resume font is so important. Your application will receive only about 7 seconds of attention before the recruiter decides whether or not to bring you on staff. The wrong resume font and your application will immediately be ignored.
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Why is Font So Important?
The font of your resume determines its entire personality. It decides whether your resume is professional and personable or rigid and childish.
- It affects how easy it is to read your resume.
- It affects how much space you fill with each word.
- It affects the aesthetics of the resume, and how “pretty” it looks to the eye.
- It affects the first impression, as it will be seen before even one word is read.
- It affects the details that you share in your resume, such as your presentation skills.
You can write the best resume possible, but if you write your resume entirely in Wingdings, no one will be able to read it.
What Are The Worst Fonts?
Before we share the best fonts for a resume, it’s important to understand what makes a “bad” font.
A bad font is any font that is distracting to the content of the page.
The more time an employer spends thinking about and noticing your font, the worse the resume is. The most common joke is that unprofessional candidates will use a font like “Comic Sans” (the least popular font in professional circles). But there are many other resume fonts that are distracting to the eye, including:
- The Gothics (MS Gothic, Century Gothic, Showcard Gothic etc.)
- Any “Script” Font (Vivaldi, etc.)
- Specialty Fonts (Comic Sans, Algerian, Broadway)
These are some of the most distracting. Use of them in any way will immediately cause the hiring manager to recognize that the font is unique, which in turn will create a bad first impression.
However, many good fonts also have bad styles. For example, Arial is a good font (more on that later), but Arial Narrow and Arial Black are both distracting.
In addition, some of the most well-known resume fonts are also some of the worst. Times New Roman, for example, is easily one of the worst font choices. Although it is well known, the serifs are distracting, it is difficult on the eyes, and the font isn’t held in high regard by hiring managers.
The best fonts are those that are easy to read, not distracting or “interesting,” and also aesthetically pleasing. On resumes, simpler is often better.
What Are The Best Resume Fonts?
Now that the “bad” fonts are out of the way, what about the good fonts?
Every hiring manager has different preferences. Most fonts are broken out into two styles:
- Serif — Serif fonts are fonts that have little tails and lines that add to the detail of the writing. For example, Times New Roman and Perpetua are both Serif fonts.
- San-Serif — Sans Serif fonts are fonts without the stylization. The best examples are Arial — one of the most popular fonts available — and Calibri, the default font of newer versions of Microsoft Word.
According to various experts, serif fonts are seen as more professional and authoritarian, while sans serif fonts are considered more modern, friendlier, and “cleaner” in a way that is easy to read and less jumbled.
Because all hiring managers are bound to have their own unique preferences, the final choice in fonts may vary and there is no perfect resume font. However, the following is a list of some of the best resume fonts available.
- Calibri — This default Microsoft Word font is also one of its best. It is a sans serif font that is very easy to read, gentle on the eyes, and so well known that most hiring managers tune it out (in a good way). Calibri is also seen as professional, which helps bridge the gap between serif and sans-serif font.
- Helvetica — Another san-serif font that is incredibly popular is Helvetica. It is frequently used in as a professional text, and receives better feedback than another font on this list, Arial. While modern and clean like Calibri, Helvetica also has that air of uniqueness that comes from not being the default font on Microsoft Word, which may help your resume stand out without being distracting.
- Cambria — Cambria is the first serif font on this list. It is the serif version of Calibri — an easy to read, very clean, modern font decorated with serifs. Although Times New Roman is the most well known serif font ever created, it is also harder on the eyes and not considered to be very professional (which is supposed to be the serif-font’s strength). Cambria is highly professional, and great for those that want to showcase their executive background.
- Garamond — Garamond comes a close second to Cambria for serif fonts. Although Garamond is less readable, it has the added benefit of taking up far less space, which means that it is easier to fit more information on the resume without sacrificing professionalism.
- Arial — Arial has all of the same benefits of Calibri, except that some companies see Arial as a little too childish a font and without the professional flare of Calibri. It is ideal for those applying to entry level jobs, but can also be a perfectly reasonable font for higher level resumes as well.
These are considered five of the best fonts to use. Although they are not the only fonts available. Other fonts you can consider include:
- Bookman Old Style
- Goudy Old Style
These do not carry the same value as the best resume fonts, but they are still worthy of consideration.
Other Resume Font Selection Information
The above list refers to the font choices that you should make for your entire resume. But there is one place you can be a bit more unique and creative — the header.
Your name, and possibly your degree (eg: John Smith, Ph.D.) should be in a large size in the header of your resume. You are allowed to be a bit more creative with this font, because it is designed to capture attention.
However, the same rules apply:
- No Gothics, Specialty Fonts, or Scripts
- No Distracting or Hard to Read Fonts
- No Crazy Choices
Instead, you can use any of the fonts listed above, or use several slightly more stylistic fonts, including:
- Book Antiqua
Keep in mind these are for your name in the header ONLY. They should not be used as the body of the resume, as they are much less professional and harder to read. Still, if you do not want to use Calibri, Helvetica, or any of the other popular resume fonts for the header, the fonts above may be a good choice.
Choose a Great Resume Template
If you are developing a resume yourself, the font you choose should be simple, clean, and ready to highlight your best features. But when choosing a resume template, make sure that the font also complements the rest of the design.
If you are interested in starting on your resume, with great templates and the most influential fonts, sign up with Online Resume Builders today.