The ‘Best Resume Font’ Myth

Your resume font doesn’t really matter.

I know, I know — Bold words from someone who just wrote over a thousand words on choosing the right font.

But hear me out. Sure the font you choose for your resume is a little important. You want a font that exudes professionalism and trust.

Here’s the problem – You’re spending too much time trying to find the ‘perfect’ font when you should be spending 10-15 minutes finding a ‘good enough’ font.

If you’re reading this article, you probably shouldn’t be.

Stop wasting time trying to choose the best resume font. It’s a form of procrastination to focus on a small detail like the font at the expense of your main goal (writing a great resume, and getting more interviews).

You’re wasting your time fretting about something trivial. Instead, you should be writing a great resume that demonstrates your work experience, knowledge, skills, and achievements.

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The Resume Advice Trap

It’s not your fault you’ve been wasting so much time trying to find the perfect resume font. Unfortunately, you’ve fallen victim to the 21st century publishing business.

Magazines, newspapers, and even blogs need to constantly come up with new content to keep you reading. These so-called ‘experts’ make money by coming up with new ways to get you to their site.

In short, their business model is based on keeping you reading articles when you should really be doing the work of finding a new job. That’s tough because the essentials of writing a great resume don’t change very often.

Therefore, publishers have two options:

  • Write a helpful guide that you can read once and craft a winning resume, or
  • Write 50-100 fluff pieces about resume tips, resume fonts, resume ‘trends’ (whatever that means), and the same old career advice (written slightly differently each time)

Option 1 would be in your best interest. Option 2 gets you to click more pages on their website, allowing them to sell more ads and make more money. You already know which option most publishers choose.

The Resume Font Challenge

Every font listed below will look professional, and be easy to read. All of them are great choices for your resume or CV.

I challenge you to spend no more than 15 minutes reading this article.

Choose any font from the list below. If you can’t decide, pick one at random. Then, stop reading about resume fonts, and go write your resume. Get back to doing the hard things that are most important for your job hunt. Here’s some links to help you out.

How to Write Your Resume — Everything you need to know about writing an accounting resume that gets results. Plus, download my proven accounting resume template to create your own resume fast & easy.
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The Least You Need to Know About Resume Fonts

Marketers learned long ago that fonts can subtly alter how we perceive things, or influence how we feel and think. Familiar fonts can look like old friends on the page and increase our feelings of trust, while unfamiliar fonts leave us uncertain and more hesitant.

More importantly, some fonts are just plain hard to read, and some look like they belong on a 5 year old’s birthday invitation. The wrong font can make a poor first impression, and might even get your resume dropped in the trash.

Therefore, in choosing a resume font, your focus is on choosing something that doesn’t make your resume look bad. Let me repeat – You’re not looking for the perfect font. You’re looking for a font that is good enough to make a recruiter or hiring manager read it.

Serif vs. Sans-Serif Resume Fonts

You have two main families of typeface to choose from with your font: serif and sans-serif.

Serif fonts are those that include decorative strokes on the letters. For example, with a serif font the letter “I” will appear with some sort of tail or crossbar attached to the ends.

A sans-serif typeface, on the other hand, lacks these flourishes and strokes. Sans-serif literally means “without serif,” and is the exact opposite of a serif font.

Which is better? There are many arguments for both, but the truth is that it doesn’t matter. As a rule of thumb:

  • Serif fonts are easier to read when they’re on printed paper
  • Sans-serif fonts are easier to read when they appear on a screen

Unfortunately, you can’t control how a hiring manager will view your resume. So just pick a font you think looks professional, and move on with your job search. Consistency is key. Use the same font throughout your resume.

Traditional Resume & CV Fonts

Most resumes should stick with safe, classic fonts that are familiar, legible, and clean. Don’t try to get fancy with the formatting. Simple fonts with plain black font color still work the best.

You can’t go wrong with Times New Roman in terms of readability and style.The following fonts will also look great on a resume:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Tahoma
  • Helvetica Neue

Times New Roman is a serif font, while the other three are sans-serif. None of these are inherently better than the others. Choose one that you like best, and get back to writing your resume.

Note that Helvetica Neue is a premium font, and doesn’t come standard with most word processing programs. You’ll probably have to purchase it separately. That raises an interesting question: where can you access a selection of fonts for your resume if you don’t have Microsoft Word, the de facto corporate word processing program?

Free Open Source Resume Fonts

Don’t have a copy of MS Word to write your resume?

Fear not. With the rise of Google Docs and the various Linux distributions, you have more options than ever to write a great resume without shelling out the cash for a copy of Word. You can use free resources and choose an open source font for your resume. Start with these free open source fonts:

  • Tinos: This is a free alternative to Times New Roman. You can download the font from Google.
  • Open Sans: If you don’t have Microsoft Office or Word to create your resume, Open Sans is a great (and free) open source font you can use.
  • Roboto Condensed Light: This is another free font alternative available from Google.

One Caveat for Open Source Resume Fonts

Most employers and hiring managers won’t have these open source fonts installed on their computer. So you’ll need to be careful when sending them your resume.

The best practice is to convert your resume to a PDF file before sending it. These files can be opened and read on almost any computer, and your font choice and formatting will remain intact.

Choosing a Font Size for Your Resume

A good rule of thumb is to set your font no smaller than 10pt and no larger than 12pt.

The appropriate size for your font will be one that allows you to keep your resume to a single page without making it hard to read. Keep in mind that every font is different. Calibri 12pt font will look different than Open Sans 12pt font. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your resume draft and evaluate how different fonts at sizes cause the resume to change.

If you’re starting with two pages, take a step back and continue to edit your content. Work to clean up the copy and make your resume more concise.

Just barely over a page? Try adjusting the font down a notch. See what changing the text to a point smaller does to the resume.

Stop Reading, Get Back to Work (Now)

You know everything you need to know to choose a resume font. In fact, you’re practically a resume font expert by now.

So just pick one already!

Stop procrastinating, and get to work wiring a great resume, preparing for interviews, and looking for your next job.

ACCOUNTANTS:

GET THE 5-MINUTE RESUME CHECKLIST

Avoid embarrassing resume mistakes.
Get more interviews.

GET IT NOW, FREE