Before you land the interview, you have to pique the hiring manager's interest with a strong digital portfolio and resume. And while certain things are always true – like the fact that experience, skills and ability trump more superficial aspects like where you went to school or resume style – your resume should still impress across the board. That means keeping look-and-feel in mind, especially when considering resume fonts.
Choose the best font for your resume strategically, as you would consider how it's organized or how long it is. Just like you shouldn't begin your resume with your "Activities and Interests" section or allow it to creep onto five pages, the best resume font is one that covers a few bases.
A strong resume font should be:
- Easy on the eyes. This means it doesn't cause strain or confusion. (For example, avoid this font for your resume.) Being "easy to read" is less subjective than it may seem. In fact, once the Internet became a thing (some of us may remember life pre-WWW), fonts were designed specifically for readability on computer screens, which is important to note because the majority of resumes are viewed at least initially on a computer screen.
- Clear no matter what. Some fonts lose their cool when you switch to italic or seem more bubbly than bold. Make sure your resume font can hold its own no matter how you format it. Others have symbols that can appear distorted, especially at smaller sizes. (Don't get me started on Futura Narrow's exclamation point – it's basically a lowercase "l".) Serif fonts in particular can become less readable at smaller sizes, hence the push for sans serif fonts on screens.
- Non-distracting. This is of utmost importance when choosing a resume font. When your resume lands in the hands of a hiring manager, you want your experience and skills to shine through, not the font. Just like a glaring typo, a distracting resume font will take away from what you're trying to sell – yourself.
Take Your Pick: The Best Font for Your Resume
Remember that with resume fonts, the effect is subliminal. Focus on ones that will subtly impress rather than obviously detract. Here are four resume fonts to consider, though I welcome your additions or disagreements:
- Arial – This is a standard resume font, but it's not particularly sophisticated. It's a sans serif font that many of us are familiar with, especially when browsing the Internet, but it may border on banal. Nonetheless, Arial is a safe bet.
- Times rather than Times New Roman – TNR reminds me of my youth because it was one of two rather plain-stream fonts my teachers accepted for papers. Like Arial, it's tried-and-true, but if you want to go Times, might I suggest Times minus the New Roman? The letters appear less awkward and condensed, especially at smaller sizes, thus making it ideal for digital use.
- Georgia – If you're looking to stand out from the Times New Roman crowd, Georgia is a nice option. It was designed for computer screen reading, so it's both easy and pleasant to read.
- Garamond – We've discussed this font before (it's the ballet flat of the shoe-font world). It has a simple elegance that looks polished in print (on decent cardstock, of course) or on screen.
Have a Favorite Resume Font?
Please share your favorite resume font or fonts, whether they're ones you use yourself or ones you've encountered as a hiring manager or resume reviewer.