The Best Font Size and Type for Resumes
When you’re writing your resume, your font choice does matter. It's important to opt for a basic font – choose one that both hiring managers and applicant management systems can easily read. Your resume is no place to use difficult-to-read cursive, handwriting-style, or calligraphy fonts.
Why Does Resume Font Choice Matter?
There are a few reasons why it's important to keep the font on your resume simple.
First of all, many of them are read by the applicant tracking systems and not by people. Those systems work best reading text rather than fancy formatting. And it's not just the machines that benefit from easily readable text – human eyes also find it easier.
Don't Make the Size Too Small
Make it easy for hiring managers and potential interviewer to read through your entire resume. Choose a font size that's between 10 and 12. This will ensure that no one has to squint to read through all the information on this important document.
Remember: hiring managers and recruiters typically spend seconds glancing at each resume before moving it to the “yes” or “no” pile. Make your resume difficult to read, and you might wind up losing out on an opportunity that would have been perfect for you.
The Best Resume Font Type to Use
Basic bookprint fonts like Arial, Verdana, Calibri, and Times New Roman work well.
However, if you are applying to a position in graphic design or advertising (where resume layout and design might be part of your assessment), employers might be open to alternative fonts.
You can make section headers a little larger or bold. And don't forget about white space, too. Keep side margins a standard width.
Make your name stand out: Your name (which should be placed at the top of your resume) can be slightly larger.
Don't overuse capitalization, bold, italics, underlines, or other emphasizing features. Again, basic works best. Do be consistent in your formatting.
For example, if you bold one section heading, bold them all. Make sure all your bullet points are indented the same amount, and that alignment and spacing throughout is consistent.
How to Select a Font
- Select a font from the list at the top of your document before you start writing your resume.
- Type your resume.
- Highlight the resume.
- Either select the font from the pop-up window or select the font from the list at the top of the document.
- Select the font size you want to use the same way.
Confirming Your Font Choice
Hiring managers may read your resume on screen, but it's also quite likely that they'll print out a copy of your resume. So after you have selected a font and font size, it is always wise to print out a copy of your resume. Take a look at your printed resume to see if it's easy to scan through. If you have to squint to read, or find the font appears cramped, choose a different one or select a larger size.
Bottom line: You want anyone who sees your resume to be able to easily read it.
If you can read the document yourself, and you're not using a novelty font (e.g., comic sans, a handwriting font, etc.), you've probably made a good choice.
More Resume Style Tips
- Be consistent. Your resume, cover letter, and other application materials should look like they’re part of the same package. Choose the same font throughout, and make consistent choices about font size, margin width, and formatting.
- Don’t get fancy. With a few exceptions (such as graphic design or advertising jobs, as mentioned above) it’s best to keep your resume simple. Creative resumes may put off the hiring manager … or get stuck in the applicant tracking system and never make it a human HR person. Remember: the goal is to impress the reader with your skills and experience, not your resume style choices.
- Aiming for one page? Don’t tweak your font size to meet your goal. Writing a resume isn’t like writing an essay in school. You can’t squeak in under the wire by making your font larger or smaller. Plus, resume length is less important than resume content. You can always develop a one-page version to hand out at networking events and job fairs, and keep the longer version for other job searching purposes.
Fonts in your resume
By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer
The content of your resume—all those carefully chosen action verbs and achievement statements—is what convinces an employer to invite you in for a job interview. That’s why you spend so much time on writing and re-writing the words.
Your choice of fonts is also important. Select the proper type and your resume will be easily read by anyone who needs to view it (or by any scanning system the employer might use to capture your information electronically). But if you try to get overly fancy in order to attract attention, you may instead make your resume practically unreadable.
A font is a specific type of lettering and numbering design that you use in composing a written document. The words you are reading in this article are set in a particular font style used extensively by Monster.ca.
Fonts come in distinct families. They differ in terms of their look and other qualities, such as size, weight and spacing.
When you submit your resume in response to a job posting, your document will either be read directly by people, or will get scanned first into an electronic applicant tracking system. In either case it’s vital that the fonts you use make your words easy to interpret.
Simple, clean fonts like Arial or Verdana guarantee the readability of your text. More ornate fonts, such as those named Informal, Roman, or Chiller, may give your document more personality. They will certainly stand out from ordinary typefaces. However they may also make the reader strain their eyes, or the letters may not be correctly interpreted by scanners. This can drop your resume to the bottom of the pile.
Clean And Sleek Versus Fancy And Memorable
There are two main categories of typefaces. One is called Serif, the other is Sans Serif.
Serif fonts tend to be more stylized. They all have little markings, curves or hooks as part of their design. Here are some examples of Serif font families:
- Times New Roman
- Bookman Old Style
Because Serif fonts are not as sleek as Sans Serif typefaces, you should consider avoiding their use in job applications. They can cause scanning software to make errors and reject your resume.
As for Sans Serifs (which literally means “without serifs”), Arial is the most common family of fonts. It appears often in resumes. Arial is sleek and clean. It does not cause eye strain or scanning hiccups. The following type examples are from the Sans Serif category:
- Segoe UI Semibold
Don’t make the mistake of picking a crisp, clean font that you then shrink down in size, just so you can jam as many words as possible into your resume. That’s a bit like cheating. Better you should edit your content thoroughly to eliminate excess wording.
The more you reduce the size of your font, the less legible it becomes. Thus scanning systems are more likely to misread small print. And the people who must review your application manually may not want to squint. They could skip your submission for others that aren’t so visually challenging.
For a font family such as Arial, using a font size of 10.5 to 12 points gives the best results. When in doubt, go with 11 points. It gives you excellent readability and allows you to fit a good amount of content into your application.
One you decide on which font to go with, you’ll need to consider which style elements to add. This could include the use of bolding, italics, colour, etc.
For the sake of simplicity, opt for standard characters. Minimize the use of bolding except for section headers. Resist the urge to italicize words or phrases for effect: scanning systems might have problems reading such characters.
You can use all capital letters in headers, but don’t write entire sentences in capitals or IT WILL LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING AT THE READER.
The default colour for your fonts ought to be black. Unless you’re a graphics professional or in the visual arts fields, you are more likely to make a mess by using colour than to produce an attractive end product.
There’s no need to be fancy when it comes to resume fonts. Stick with one choice (such as Arial) and a couple of styles for variety (e.g. bold, all capitals). This way you won’t overwhelm your reader with a document that looks like it was stitched together by Dr. Frankenstein.
Ultimately you want your resume to be read easily by people and electronic scanners alike. So give them something they can digest effortlessly. Count on your fonts to make your words visually crisp. Count on your words for content that puts you atop the list of interview prospects.