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The devil’s in the details, as they say. And this is never truer than it is on a resume. A seasoned recruiter will be paying attention to everything on your resume and comparing it with the tens if not hundreds of other resumes they get, so it is of utmost importance that you include the most relevant information in a clear, concise way.
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This brings us to the topic of font.
What is a font if not the vehicle you use to convey your message? As such, the choice of font should not be a random one.
Not only does the right font allow you to present your candidacy clearly, it can also give your resume character.
So as you can see, it is definitely worth giving the font you are going to use to introduce yourself to the recruiter some thought. And that’s what we’re going to do together now 😄
If you don’t even have a resume prepared at all yet, though, the font you choose is probably the last thing on your mind.
But don’t worry!
I’ve written a detailed guide on how to write a great resume that you can consult right now, and then come back when you have your resume done and all that’s left to do it give it a final polish.
I’ll be here!
Remember, the font you use on your resume should also be the one you use on your cover letter.
This is just another reason why it is very important that the font you choose for your resume is both easy to read and aesthetically pleasing — remember, the human brain is biologically programmed to like symmetry, so take advantage of that by making your resume and cover letter match!
If you don’t yet have a cover letter and are not quite sure how to go about writing a good one, don’t stress it! I’ve written a guide on how to write a good cover letter that you can check out here to walk you through the entire process 😄
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are 10 fonts you can safely use for virtually any resume + cover letter combo.
Cambria looks good both in print and on screens, making it very practical for resumes. Considered “traditional” by many, it nevertheless manages not to be boring and is a good choice for resumes in virtually any field.
Both modern and traditional at the same time, Helvetica is ultra-legible and a favorite of designers at smaller firms and giant corporations the world over. Much like Cambria, it is a safe but not boring option that will be a good fit for your resume no matter what kind of job you are applying for.
Using Didot will give your resume a classic, elegant feel. For this reason, this font is a good choice for those seeking a career in creative fields. In STEM-related fields, however, Didot may come off as a bit pretentious, so make sure you will have the right audience when choosing this graceful font.
Often referred to as “serious but friendly”, Lato was originally created as a corporate font. Very uniform and neutral when small, the larger the letters, the more unique they become. Using Lato can be a good alternative for people who would like to use 2 different fonts but are afraid of things getting too messy.
Verdana was literally designed to help improve readability, especially on smaller screens, and it is considered among the most legible, if not the most exhilarating, of fonts. Its small-print legibility makes it a good choice for candidates who need to cram a lot of information onto their resumes, so if that’s you, go with Verdana.
Garamond makes for a good choice of font, as it is both classy and legible. Many designers would vehemently argue that this is actually the absolute best font, as every detail of every letter and number looks just right.
Using Garamond is the perfect way to make your resume stand out.
Georgia is a practical and aesthetically pleasing font. Thanks to its rather old-world charm, Georgia has also been referred to by many as “friendly”.
Depending on what kind of job you are applying for, this might be the perfect font to let a little bit of your personality shine through. Georgia is also legible at low resolution, meaning it will stay crisp on a variety of screens.
08. Book Antiqua
Much like Didot, this font best suited to professions connected to the arts or humanities. Book Antiqua gives any document a distinctly different feel than the more geometrical designs of most other fonts.
Calibri is a fine option for a resume that will be universally legible and as clear as day. Safe if not particularly exciting, Calibri is a font for candidates who don’t feel the need to dress their accomplishments up.
It renders smoothly on virtually every screen, which is more than can be said about countless other fonts.
Tahoma is widely considered to be the best font for tech-related fields, and for good reason — it has a quite formal feel to it. It is also very versatile, meaning it looks good regardless of where it is used, and whether it is being used as a header or a tiny footnote.
01. Times New Roman
Not the most exciting font in the world, but not terrible, either. Still, I would suggest you go for something a bit more interesting lest a recruiter passes over your resume completely in favor of one that tried harder to catch their eye — Times New Roman is overused, simple as that. Now, use that information to your advantage by going with something else!
Much like Times New Roman, Arial is nothing to write home about, but if you are feeling too tired to bother looking for something more original, so be it. At least it will not send recruiters running for the hills like the fonts listed below.
We talked about fonts you should use. Then we talked about fonts you could use. Now, we’re going to talk about fonts you should never, ever use. Not on your resume, anyway. Save them for the “Live, Laugh, Love” canvas print.
Jokes aside, there are fonts that make your resume and cover letter nearly illegible and are sure to prevent any recruiter from taking you seriously.
So do yourself a favor and avoid wonky, wacky fonts including but not limited to:
This is a resume, not a wedding invitation, and to be honest, I am not even convinced it is good for that. Vivaldi is way too cramped to be a good font to convey important information clearly, and isn’t that exactly what you need to do when writing your resume?
This font was designed to look like it had been typed up using an old-fashioned typewriter, so forget coming off as modern and tech-savvy using this font. Not to mention its (albeit intentional) inky splotches make it messy and not particularly easy to read.
03. Lucida Handwriting
Look at it I mean, just look at it. Need I say more? When it comes to tacky, nothing quite beats fake handwriting. Not to mention that it is borderline unintelligible. You are going into all this effort to create a good resume and cover letter. Don’t throw all of that hard work in the trash by choosing Lucida Handwriting as your font, mmkay?
04. Comic Sans 😄
I get it, nostalgia. Everyone loved getting the comics section from their parents’ Sunday paper as a kid. But the comics section is where this font needs to stay.
Keep in mind that these are but a few of the fonts you should be avoiding — anything that puts style over substance is a big no-no when it comes to resumes.
As for size, you’re going to need to make sure that it’s not so small that the recruiter needs a magnifying glass to read it, and not so big that you end up wasting precious space.
Generally speaking, a 12pt font should meet those criteria. Note that you CAN use a smaller font every now and then, but only for supporting text, and even then, make sure you don’t overdo it.
Make your headings stand out! This means using a noticeably bigger font, like a 14pt or even 16pt, and bolding them as well.
You can also use italics to list, say, your past responsibilities in point form or a short little blurb of a paragraph.
Don’t overdo it with the italics, however, as this can make it very difficult to spot important information.
And that’s it, that’s all there is to choosing the right font to make your resume shine!