What is the best font for resumes?
Do you want a simple answer or a long answer? We’ve got both.
If you just want the simple answer, and don’t really care why – Then here ya go: Use one of the following 7 fonts on your resume.
- Book Antiqua
- Times New Roman
- MS Reference Sans Serif
- Century Gothic
Okay, for the rest of us who want a little wiggle room for creativity, we have a few tricks up our sleeves. Below, the long answer will help you learn more about why you should use these fonts on your resume, what size font you should use, and other font types that might work.
1. Use a font that is universally recognized.
Why did we choose those 7? As resume expert Peter Newfield suggests, these fonts are universal fonts recognized on all computers, including PCs and Macs of all ages and models. If the font you use on your resume isn’t an option on any and every computer, it could cause problems for the reader and your resume could have major unintended formatting errors that could cause the document to look all messed up in another program.
Again, the 7 fonts that that won’t fail you are: Times New Roman, Arial, Century, MS Reference Sans Serif, Book Antiqua, Century Gothic and Calibri.
2. Are ANY other fonts okay to use?
Well, in short, yes. You can use other fonts (some suggested here) – but if you are going to do so remember one thing: Send your resume as a PDF! The reasoning behind this is the same as point 1 – you’ve got to make sure that the formatting looks the same no matter who opens it. When you save your resume as a PDF (a format recognized by both Mac and PC computers) this helps make sure that the reader sees the same thing that you see.
As long as you are saving the final copy as a PDF, than please feel free to be more creative. A personal favorite not in the list above is Corbel. It is a relatively unique font yet is still pretty simple and but not too “out there.”
3. To Serif or Not to Serif?
Serif is a small line at the ends of each letter in certain fonts.
For instance, Times New Roman is a serif font. When you look at a serif font, you will notice the small embellishments on the tips of the letters.
Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, are more straightforward. For example, Arial is a sans serif font. When you look at a serif font, you will notice how the letters are made of solid lines, with no fancy strokes.
For a long time, serif fonts, particularly Times New Roman, were the only choice in academic and business circles. However, lately, there has been a rise in the popularity of sans serif fonts: notably Arial and Calibri, the latter of which replacing Times New Roman as the default Microsoft Word font in 2007.
Now, both types of fonts can be great resume fonts. But here’s the trick:
On paper, readers have a much easier time reading serif fonts like Times New Roman. However, if your reader will be viewing your resume on a computer screen, (an iridescent medium that can sometimes be more difficult for the human brain to absorb information) a sans serif font is easier to read.
So, if the potential employer will likely be reading your resume in printed form especially if you are mailing your resume as we suggest here, it is probably best to use a serif font. However, if the potential employer is most likely be reading your resume on a computer, (if you are going to email or submit your resume as a PDF), than it is probably best to use a sans serif font.
4. Font Size
On jobsearch.about.com they suggest that your resume should be beween size 10 and 12. They are right. This one is pretty simple – too small and it’s hard to read, too big and it looks like you are just trying to fill space. Stick to the basics, and use a font size 10-12. With most normal size resume fonts, even size 10 can be too small, so if you really want to play it safe – go with size 11 or 12.
5. What NOT to do:
You should never use a “script” style font. Basically anything that looks remotely like cursive is a surefire way to get your resume thrown away right off the bat.
Why? While you might be trying to make your resume look fancy or artistic, it only serves to make your resume more difficult to read. And, as I’ve said before in my blog post about graphic highlighting, you have about five seconds to capture the hiring manager’s attention, so you better make your font as straightforward as possible!
Look, the truth is there isn’t one “perfect resume font.” You can make it simple and use one of the above fonts if you are looking for a quick, no-fail answer. Or, do a little research on your own using the resume font principles above.
And while you’re at it, please don’t get too stuck up on the small things. When it all boils down, the font, the color, the layout don’t really matter nearly as much as following the three fundamental principles of a good resume:
2. A resume layout that catches the readers eye during their six second skim
3. You’re not simply applying online, but using carefully thought out resume tricks to capture the attention of the employers.
As long as you’re using your resume right, things like font aren’t going to matter much at all. Will your resume catch the attention of employers? Find out now with a Free Personal Resume Review with an expert from Cold Collar.