The right font makes your resume stand out in all the right ways.
The experts say it takes 10 seconds (or less) for a hiring manager to decide if your resume is a keeper — and the font size and style you choose will have a major impact on that decision.
A font that in any way makes your resume hard to read or look unprofessional will land it quickly in the trash pile. You could be the most competent candidate, but you'll be out of the running from the beginning if your resume can't be read properly.
To help ensure that your qualifications are the main focus and not your font choice, here are some reliable resume font rules that you should know and follow.
What are the most effective fonts to use on a resume?
The fonts listed below will all work well on a resume because of their clean, professional look and overall easy readability.
However, if you can't decide which to use, there is one that's highly regarded over the rest.
What is the best font for a resume (and why)?
Calibri is first on the list because it's more professional and modern looking than most of the other choices, which makes it ideal for a resume. It's spaced well, clean, and easy on the eyes.
More importantly, it can be readily deciphered by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which means the software will see text and not little boxes or symbols on your uploaded document.
On this same note, your resume may be printed out on paper before it's reviewed. Again, Calibri, Arial, and Times New Roman look most professional and are easiest to read when printed.
What fonts should you avoid on a resume?
Avoid using flowery, themed, or “fun” fonts, like Comic Sans and Impact or cursive fonts such as Freestyle Script and Segoe Script.
Along with being difficult to read and not compatible with an ATS, “artistic” fonts tell employers that you don't know the rules of creating a professional resume, which could potentially lead them to think you don't take your job search seriously. Remember, no snazzy font will showcase your qualifications as clearly as your job experience, talents, and accomplishments.
What is the best font size to use for a resume?
Generally, a 10- to 12-point font size is recommended. A good rule of thumb to remember: Don't decide on a font size until you've chosen the specific font you'll use for your resume. This is because some fonts like Calibri and Trebuchet MS, take up less space than Times New Roman or Verdana.
Depending on the font, you might be able to slightly reduce or slightly increase its size to have the two-page resume that recruiters like while still ensuring it's easy to read and the format is pleasing.
However, going above a 12-point font in the resume body to make two pages means you probably need to add more details about your past responsibilities and achievements or include skills developed from voluntary work and hobbies.
If you're submitting your resume online, you also might need to use a 12-point font size throughout and eliminate any formatting, like underlining, italics, or bolding. Online programs often convert your information to an ASCII format, or ask you to use an ASCII format so the resume displays correctly, and a 12-point font works best.
Is a 10-point font too small for a resume?
Again, it depends on the font you choose to use. The larger, well-spaced fonts will sometimes work well in 10-point while the smaller fonts may be difficult to read at that size.
If you're trying to make the font smaller so you can include all your information without having a five-page resume, then you may need to consider some other formatting alternatives, such as making the margins smaller, tightening up/summarizing your copy, or removing jobs that are either too old or no longer relevant to your career objective. Once that's done, you may be able to use a slightly larger font.
You can also let friends or family review the resume in different font sizes and get their feedback on the readability, which will confirm whether 10-point is or is not readable and what adjustments might be needed. If you're still feeling confused, our team of professional resume writers can help you figure it out.
There are three specific targets to aim for when choosing a resume font:
Does it present you as a professional who is well qualified for the job?
Can a recruiter or hiring manager easily read and scan it for critical keywords and information?
Will it be read correctly by an Applicant Tracking System or online application program?
A well-written resume is always the key goal, but a particular font can have a major effect on the message you want to convey to a potential employer, whether that's of a seasoned expert, a young and hungry professional, a new graduate, or anything in between.
It can also mean the difference between getting called for an interview and getting a “no thanks” email. Take the time to follow these tips and create a resume that clearly presents who you are — and you'll find yourself interviewing in no time.
Not sure if your resume format and font are working for your job search? That's where our objective resume review comes in!