Best Font for Resume: How To Choose Type and Size
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 6 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Writing a perfect resume requires a lot of decision-making, including the font choice. With hundreds of fonts available, choosing the best font for your resume becomes an overwhelming task, especially with employers spending less than 30 seconds to scan every resume. For making an impression and getting shortlisted for the next round, you need to choose a font that is easy-to-read and professional. The goal of the font is to present your information in a readable and aesthetically pleasing manner.
In this article, we will learn how to choose the best fonts for a resume, explore ATS-friendly fonts, learn about the pairing of fonts and the kind of fonts to avoid in a resume.
Factors to consider while choosing the best font for resume
Here are three factors to consider before choosing the best resume fonts:
1. Easy-to-read and professional
While it may be tempting to use overly stylish and fancy fonts that reflect your personality, they might not be easily readable to the employer. Therefore, choose a simple and professional resume font that makes your words clearer to the employers.
There are two types of professional fonts, Serif and Sans Serif. Serif fonts have a curl or tail, whereas Sans Serif fonts are without a curl or tail. The former is stylish and easier to read on paper because the tail on each letter helps the employer's brain to compute and read a little faster. The latter is easier to read on a computer and often the first choice for resumes. However, many Serif fonts, including Cambria, Garamond, Didot and Times New Roman, come in the professional category for employers.
2. Readable by application tracking systems
Often, companies use applicant tracking systems or ATS to filter out applications based on keywords present in the resume. For your resume to be ATS-friendly, it must be readable by the computer program.
The ATS-friendliness of your resume largely depends on your resume format and the font you use. ATS reads some fonts better than others.
Computer programs like ATS can parse out simple formatting and get confused on encountering decorative texts and fonts. Therefore, when you choose an ATS-friendly font, you make your resume more accessible to employers.
Related: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)
3. Font size
If you aim for a one-page resume, do not tweak the font size for reaching this goal. Instead, choose a font like Garamond that allows you to write more text without compromising the readability. Usually, the optimal font size for the body text of a resume lies between 10 to 12 points. Avoid dropping the font size below 10 points as it making reading strenuous for the eyes. When you go above the 12-point font, it shows that your resume lacks content and you are increasing the font size to fill up the page.
Select the font size only after choosing the best font for your resume. This is because fonts like Calibri take up more space than Times New Roman.
7 ATS-friendly fonts for your resume
Here are seven resume fonts that help make a positive first impression even before you walk into the job interview:
This font gives your resume a polished look and ensures it captures the employer's attention. As a bonus, if you want to condense your information on a single page without affecting the readability, Garamond is a font you should choose. Using Garamond, you can fit more text on a page without reducing the font size or overcrowding the resume by tightening up space.
This font is designed for reading on-screens. This serif font is blockier and sturdier, making it perfect for a resume body text. Moreover, Cambria is readable in small sizes.
Being a Sans Serif font, Calibri is clean and sleek. As it is the default Microsoft Word font, Calibri is easily recognisable and does not distract the employer. The warm and soft character of the font makes it appealing to many employers.
Another Sans Serif font that is easy to read and one of the safest to use on your resume. Arial is a tried-and-true classic and is probably the best font for resumes for many industries. The font is ideal for all industries and career levels.
A classic serif font capable of imparting style to your resume. As the tail displays clearer at larger sizes, use this font for headings and subheadings when applying to fashion, design and photography jobs.
6. Times New Roman
It is the most popular and classic serif resume font. Times New Roman has been the default resume font for many years. Use Times New Roman in body text only when you are using the 12-point font, as this font is hard to read in small sizes.
One font that gives your resume a trendy and classic look is Georgia. Plus, the font reads great on digital documents, especially when you send the resume in PDF format.
How does the pairing of fonts help?
One common way of making your resume visually attractive while ensuring ATS compatibility is using two fonts instead of one. It is called font pairing or pairing of fonts. The best font pair helps create a positive first impression. The pair works together, makes the resume visually appealing and does not fight for employers' attention.
The best font pairing includes using one Serif font and one Sans Serif font. Using two fonts of different typeface creates a balanced look as the two fonts complement each other. On resumes, try using Serif or Sans Serif for body text and the opposite typeface for headings and subheadings.
For example, you can use Helvetica for the headings and Garamond for the body text.
However, never use over two fonts on your resume as it distracts the employer.
Related: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing
Using bold and italics
After choosing the best font for a resume, make your resume stand out using different formatting on your font – bold and italics. Here are four ways of using bold and italics in a resume:
Use bold and italics sparingly. You do not wish to overwhelm the employer with a mixed style of formatting. Using too many bold and italics confuses the employer and reduces the readability of your resume. Therefore, be selective about the formatting you choose.
If you use bold and italics, be consistent. If you decide to bold and italicise your previous job titles, do so with every job title. Establish a pattern in your style choice to make your resume pop up.
Use bold to highlight specific keywords. To make your resume stand out, bold the areas of your experience or education sections that are relevant to the job description. Also, you can use bold for headings to improve the layout and visual appearance of your resume.
Use italics for the subheading. Italics in resumes help provide extra emphasis on key aspects related to your education or work experience. You could italicise your previous job titles and dates from which you worked at a particular job. Also, use italics when sharing quantitative data, like “Social media followers grew by 20% in 30 days”.
Using different colour fonts
Colours, bold and italics, inject a personality into the resume and are a subtle way to capture the employer's attention. Adding colours will make your resume appealing only if you sparingly use a single colour. For example, you can change colours for your name and section headers. If you change the font colour of one header, change it for all to maintain consistency.
What kind of fonts should you avoid in your resume
Just like the best resume fonts, there are specific fonts you should never use in your resume. Here are four kinds of fonts you should avoid:
Overly stylised fonts
While such fonts increase the visual appeal, they are tough to decipher both by humans and ATS. Avoid using modern cursive fonts.
Non-standard or downloaded fonts
Fonts that are not standard to the commonly used operating systems are often deciphered inaccurately by the ATS. Never download a font from the internet for your resume. For example, Helvetica is an excellent resume font and it comes pre-installed in Mac and Google Docs. But you may have to acquire it for Windows operating system. If your employer uses Windows without the Helvetica font, the Word processor automatically converts it to another font. This messes the formatting and layout of your resume.
Light or thin fonts
A resume's goal is to capture the employer's attention, so always choose the resume font solely based on readability. Thin and light fonts reduce readability and force employers to strain their eyes.
Gimmicky and fancy fonts
These fonts make your resume look unprofessional and you come across as a juvenile. For showcasing your professionalism and ensuring your resume gets shortlisted, avoid using gimmicky fonts like Wingdings, Papyrus, Comic Sans and Curlz MT.
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