At first glance, recruiters can make a decision if they want to continue reading your resume or not.
Typically, all it takes is no more than a 6-second skim.
It’s crucial that you use the right font to create a professional resume that’s appealing to the eye for a solid first impression. Good resume font choices will help guide the recruiter through your resume to make sure they finish reading it with the key takeaways for you you’re going to be a good fit.
Before we answer what fonts are best to use for your resume, it’s important to know how exactly your font choices have influenced your application outcome by getting called for an interview.
Looking for a guide on the essential sections of your resume? Check out our guide!
How Do Resume Font Choices Play Into Getting An Interview?
Imagine trying to find the most qualified candidate in as little time as possible…
Wouldn’t you feel tremendous pressure if you had to go through thousands of resumes within a set time limit?
It means you’ll have to quickly sort out several different applications from different people. Then you either throw them into a pile of yes, or no. If it doesn’t catch their attention or isn’t deemed worthy enough in the first 6 seconds as mentioned, they won’t read it.
If you make the best font choices to progress forward, that takes you one step closer to secure an interview. And, one step further away from being out-of-the-job or tossed into the rejection pile.
Why Do Font Choices Matter For Your Resume?
There are two audiences you want to impress when you create your resume:
- The person that will be reading it (the job recruiters/hiring managers)
- The system they used to preliminary screen your resume before it comes across their desk (automated tracking systems)
Your font choices can easily influence how both these parties read your resume. They could be impressed, or daunted by the way it looks, the way it’s laid out or the way it’s written.
No recruiter wants to spend an extra 30 seconds trying to decipher what your resume says.
If you’re already talking about a lot on your resume skills section, imagine how much extra effort it’s going to require to read what you’re saying…
Having font sizes that are too small (e.g., < pt. 10) can cause recruiters to squint, lose interest, and move on to someone else.
Creative fonts with slants, curls, and all that other fun stuff can be difficult for the ATS systems (that is, Applicant Tracking Systems) to process. This can lead to portions of your resume being omitted. As a result, your resume will probably never even get in front of the recruiter. To put it bluntly, keeping your font simple minimizes any risk of your resume being overlooked.
Every choice in your resume has an impact on how the recruiter sees you as a potential employee. If you’ve got typos galore, you’ll come across as sloppy, which is the exact opposite of what you want.
Your font choices don’t do much to prove you’re a good candidate. But making poor choices can instantly make you seem like a poor applicant.
An overly-designed and illegible font tells the recruiter you don’t know how to convey information professionally or in understandable ways. Essentially, It says you don’t think about the impact of your work on others. This is especially true if going into a field that requires you to do just that (for example, a research assistant).
Do you want to direct the recruiter towards the absolute must-read components of your resume?
Well, you’ve got less than six seconds to grab their attention and do just that. The choices you make around your font can go both ways. It will either do wonders or destruction for your resume application.
Using bold fonts and large headings can highlight those important elements of information. It also helps with making you stand out in the way you want them to. Just make sure those few seconds are spent viewing what’s most important.
The only thing you shouldn’t do is underline your text. It ruins readability as well as makes it difficult for the ATS to scan.
Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of making the right font choices, let’s get into the 5 best resume fonts you should use for your job application.
The 5 Best Resume Fonts You Should Use
Arial is one sans-serif font that’s neat, clean, and easy to read. Like the other fonts, it’s highly professional and gets the job done with making you look like a serious candidate.
But, there’s only one problem with Arial. Recruiters could find it tedious and repetitive because many other applicants are probably using it.
Calibri was good enough to replace Times New Roman as the default font style for Microsoft Word documents. Not only is it more modern and updated, but it’s a safe all-rounder, sans-serif font that’s versatile for several different resume applications.
Unlike Arial and Calibri, Georgia is a serif type font. It helps with making your resume scannable for the ATS. In some cases, it’s also preferable to use. E.g. if you’re sending your resume in the form of a PDF.
The font was designed to be smoothly readable on computer screens. So, if you’re sending an application online, or even if it’s on print, Georgia works both ways.
Similar to Georgia, Cambria is a serif font that was designed to be visually pleasing and readable on-screen. It works well for both your resume and cover letter. Since it’s part of a typeface, it works for sending your resume or cover letter digitally or physically.
Verdana is one of the best professional fonts to use for your resume. With the way it’s designed, it enables you to push the limits because it’s built for smaller legibility print. The only con is that it really resembles Arial, so it’s not as optimal if you’re trying to stand out.
What About The Different Resume Font Types?
From those fonts above, they’re either serif or sans serif. The only major difference you need to know between them is the stroke at the end of each letter. Both of them are professional, but both have their pros and cons.
There are 3 points you should know:
- While serif is outdated, the readability is arguably better than sans-serif. Because of the strokes at the end of each letter, it helps your brain process and recognizes the words or phrases easier
- Sans-serif is more modern and fits in better with resumes today to help you stand out
- Serif font may come off as cluttered depending on the screen resolution
It’s safe to say that sans-serif is more cohesive in today’s corporate world, especially because of the way resumes are built. For example, take a look at Shuaib’s property manager resume below:
Serif is better for increasing the readability of your resume and making it easier to consume. But you can notice that there are no strokes in Shuaib’s resume, therefore it’s a sans-serif font.
However, it wouldn’t be as visually appealing if Shuaib used serif font because it wouldn’t match the contemporary resume design that’s more modern.
Since Shuaib’s resume was built with Enhancv, he didn’t have to worry about all the technical details. You can skip some of the research steps and find your job position to see what’s most effective for your specific type of resume by checking out the 530+ examples here.
Now let’s move onto the next section. Let’s look at how you can use your resume font to your advantage to increase your interview chances.
How to Use Resume Font To Your Advantage
Stick to a Uniform
If you’ve made a certain stylistic choice with your resume font, it should be consistent across the board. If one heading is in bold and is size 12, all headings should be the same.
However, do NOT go overboard.
An overuse of CAPITAL LETTERS or exclamation points (!!!) can do more harm than good and ruin the tone of your resume. Remember to keep your margins consistent too.
To ensure readability, stick to a font that has clean margins and a simple typeface. Most fonts are split into two categories: serif (with tails) and sans-serif (without tails). A classic serif font is Times New Roman, while a classic sans-serif font is Arial.
Choosing a font that is easy to read and that keeps an appealing design no matter the style (i.e., capitalized, in bold, italicized, etc.,) is key.
Tip: With Enhancv’s resume templates, you can choose from our automated resume formats that will do all of the uniform work for you.
Pick Your Resume Font Size
The size of your font will differ depending on the type of content you’re writing. As we discussed above, all headings should be the same size. But, there are exceptions.
When writing your resume header, your name should be a few sizes bigger than the rest of your writing. More importantly, the main text of your resume should all be the one size.
In terms of the font size for your resume or cover letter, the standard norm should be 12. You can push it down further, but it shouldn’t fall anywhere below 10 pt in size. Otherwise, it’s going to be too difficult to read. You can’t rely on the recruiter to use a computer to zoom in on your content. Check out my rules-of-thumb for different parts of your resume:
- Resume Header – Name largest, with contact details consistent with the main body
- Resume Headings – 2pts larger than your main body
- Main Body – Nothing smaller than 10 pt
If you’re writing a plain text resume, the rules are slightly different. You want to stick to a courier font with a fixed size of 12 pt.
Look At Your Resume on Different Mediums
Every resume deserves a resume review. One step you should take in this process is dissecting your resume through different mediums. This means printing your resume out on resume paper and looking at your font in its physical form. You should also take the time to look at your resume on a computer and mobile device.
Remember, recruiters often have hundreds of resumes coming across their desk. So, it’s quite likely your resume might go through its screening between meetings, in the car, or quickly over lunch.
Server Resume Example
In Hannah’s server resume, she uses Rubik, a sans-serif font available with Enhancv. With its clean edges and letter spacing, Rubik is easy-to-read and is also unique which helps her to create an eye-catching resume that grabs the recruiter’s attention.
With the Enhancv resume builder, you can craft a resume that blows all other applicants out of the water. From design options to bullet and section suggestions and content writing tips, we’re here to help you land your dream job!
The deciding factor and the main decision with whether you get called in for an interview don’t come down to the font on your resume. But, it still certainly plays its part in making the final choice.
If you fail to think about the font you’re using, how it reads, and how accessible it is to the recruiter, you’ll leave devastating effects on your chances. Luckily, the challenges around picking a resume font are easily manageable.
In fact, with Enhancv’s resume templates, you can put your mind at ease.
You don’t need to focus on the size of your font, the margins you use, and all the other small technical details. It’s pretty simple – pick the font you like, and the rest is taken care of.
Are there any other fonts you like to use for your resume that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!