Fake content
Skip to main content

The best resume font to use

The best resume font to use

What's a good font for a resume? This question has dozens of potential answers. The font you choose should be clean, professional, and impactful enough to make a good impression without alienating the hiring manager. Recruiters spend an average of just six to eight seconds glancing at a resume before they determine whether it's appropriate for the job opening. This isn't enough time to read the content, but it is long enough to take in the typography. Choosing the right font could help you land in that coveted 20% of resumes that make it past the first screening.

What should I look for in a font?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Instead, select a font that's appropriate for the position and audience. You can consider a variety of elements.

Industry

The best font for an engineering resume isn't necessarily the same as the best font for a graphic design resume or the best font for a lawyer's resume. Consider the variety of different typefaces that you find on company websites. Fonts for a law firm are often different than the typography for a daycare. 

If you're applying to a law firm, consider which fonts are court-approved, and use one as a subtle nod to your knowledge of the legal system. Verdana and Arial are appropriate options. Didot is a font commonly seen in fashion magazines, so this can make a great impression if you're applying for a position with a fashion company. Exploring marketing materials in your industry may give you some inspiration as to what typography is usually associated with your niche. 

Company culture

You can quickly tailor your resume to different employers by considering their company culture when you select your font. Times New Roman is the most traditional option and may still appeal to a company that remains staunchly loyal to its roots. Modern businesses, however, have come to look down upon Times New Roman as an outdated and overused option. Georgia has a distinctly modern air that's better for an up-and-coming business.

Availability

In many formats, documents won't open or render properly unless the font has been downloaded on the computer of both the sender and recipient. Certain unrecognized fonts will also cause issues with applicant tracking systems. You can overcome these barriers by sending your resume as a PDF, but be aware that not all employers accept this type of document. It's best to upload your resume using a universal font.

You can fit more text on each line when you use a sans serif font, which makes this an ideal option for a resume where you want to fit all your information on a single page.

Serif vs. sans serif

All fonts can be broken down into two categories: serif and sans serif. Serif fonts have little embellishments or feet at the bottom of the letters. Georgia, Times New Roman, Palatino, and Book Antiqua are all examples of serif fonts. Though small, the extensions added to the letters in serif fonts make them bigger. Thus, a serif font will take up more space. Serif fonts are usually best for headings or titles, where you can afford to use more room.

Sans serif fonts lack embellishments or feet and look cleaner and simpler. Most professional fonts are sans serif, including Geneva, Trebuchet MS, Courier New, Arial, and Helvetica. You can fit more text on each line when you use a sans serif font, which makes this an ideal option for a resume where you want to fit all your information on a single page.

What fonts should I use on my resume?

With hundreds of fonts in most word processing and design programs, choosing the right one is no small task. Here are a few samples of the best and worst fonts for a resume. Reviewing these options will give you a better understanding of what you're looking for and what you need to avoid.

The best resume fonts

There are a few safe fonts that you can default to if you don't know where to start with your resume formatting. The best professional fonts for a resume include:

  • Arial: A longstanding favorite, Arial is best for an extremely traditional company.
  • Calibri: The default for Word, this typeface is clean and recognizable.
  • Georgia: Modern and slightly decorative, Georgia is a playful serif font that's a bit cleaner than Times New Roman.
  • Helvetica: Commonly used in advertising, this font is easy to read on pages with a lot of text.
  • Garamond: Timeless and elegant, Garamond is often used in scripts, making it ideal for a creative role.
  • Lato: This neat sans-serif option creates a clean, simple look.

The worst fonts for a resume

The wrong font can cause a hiring manager to click away from your resume before reading a word. Watch out for some of these troublesome options:

  • Comic Sans: Designed for comic book content and young users, Comic Sans is childish and unprofessional.
  • Courier New: This typewriter-style face is bulky and unpleasant to read.
  • Bradley Hand ITC: With a scrawled, handwritten look, this font is too casual for a resume.
  • Harrington: The elaborate, decorative lines of Harrington have a playful, medieval flair that's not suited to a resume.
  • Impact: Though you want to stand out, this heavy font is too distracting for a resume.
  • Lucida Console: The default for older versions of Microsoft Notepad, this font looks dated. It's also monospaced, so it will stretch to fit the entire line, making it difficult to read.

What size font should a resume be?

Wondering if a 10-point font is too small for a resume? As a general rule, the best font size for a resume is between 10 and 12 points. 

The particular font that you choose will play a big role in determining the final size. You typically want your resume to fit on a single page, so if opting for a 10-point font gets you there, that's what you should do. Don't make your font any smaller than 10 points, though, or you risk making it impossible to read. If you're applying for your first job and your resume is on the shorter side, go with a 12-point font, but don't increase the size any further.

You can make your resume headings slightly larger than the resume copy, but you should top out at 14 points. Anything larger will detract from the overall neatness and professionalism of the finished product.

Can I use multiple fonts on a resume?

Yes, you can use more than one font on a resume, but you shouldn't use more than two. If you choose more than one font, use one selection for your name and section headings and another for the body. 

The larger font is usually the more decorative of the two, so you may choose a serif font for headings and complement it with a cleaner sans serif font for the larger blocks of text. You can reverse this in certain situations, but do so with caution and always use a simple, clean serif if you opt for this approach to body text.

Thoughtful font selection can make all the difference in whether your resume gets discarded or reviewed. Use these tips to format your submission for optimal results with every job application.

More tips for creating a great resume

Optimize the content on your resume so you can say what you need to without taking up too much space.

Present your skills in an interesting way, so the content in your resume is as engaging as the font.

Use your resume to present a well-rounded picture of your skills, knowledge, and personality so recruiters will understand everything you have to offer.