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What the Font?! Best and Worst Fonts to Use in Your Resume

Post Author Erin Tovo
Jun 26, 2017 8:00:00 AM
Career Tips

Due to the fast pace of today’s world and the huge quantities of resumes recruiters receive daily, studies show that you have about 6 seconds to make an impact on a recruiter. The font you’ve chosen will be the first thing a hiring manager notices and could be the deciding factor in enticing them to want to learn more about you or toss your resume in the trash. Terrifying, right?  Most people are going to open Microsoft Word, choose a resume template and unfortunately, not give font types a second glance. Use these tips, inspired by Design School and Monster, to make sure you don’t fall into this same trap!

The 3 most important things to keep in mind when choosing a font are:

  1. Can a hiring manager scan it quickly?
  2. Is it easy to read?
  3. And of course, is it mobile-friendly? (Can a hiring manager read it on their cell phone or tablet? Because let's be honest, not many people are reading things on a desktop computer anymore)

Here are 5 fonts that we recommend using in your resumes (and best of all, most are readily available in Microsoft Office programs):


Resume Fonts-02.png

Helvetica has sky-rocketed to the top of the must-use fonts list.  It has been widely used in everything from logos to New York City subway signs.  Designers and typographers consider it to be “the king of fonts”  Looking to give your resume a clean and contemporary make-over? Give Helvetica a try!

Resume Fonts-01.png

A professional and modern feel makes Calibri a great font to use on resumes. Another highlight - it is now the default for Microsoft Word so utilizing it is even easier!  Professional writer Donna Svei states that typing Calibri at a 12 pt size will produce around 500 to 750 words, the ideal length for a two-page resume.

Resume Fonts-04.png

Like Calibri, Arial is clean and easy to read making it ideal for resume usage.  It is also considered “a great choice for creative people or those in a marketing field.”

Resume Fonts-05.png

Cambria is part of the same suite of typefaces as Calibri.  These fonts were designed specifically to perform well on computer screens while maintaining their readability in print.  The studio that created Cambria described it as “the ‘new Times New Roman’”

Resume Fonts-03.png

Garamond is a great alternative to the highly over-used Times New Roman. While we would recommend using a sans-serif (no small decorative flourishes on the tips of some letters) font type, if you feel a serif (small decorative flourishes on the tips of some letters) font is appropriate Garamond is the way to go.  This modern font can give your resume a classic and polished look that Times New Roman just can’t get you.

Now, just for fun, let's discuss 2 fonts that should under no circumstances come anywhere near your resume:


Resume Fonts-07.png

Appearance-wise there’s nothing wrong with Times New Roman.  Except for the fact that it’s traditional, outdated, and quite frankly overused.  Are these words you want a hiring manager associating with your resume? Your resume won’t stand out because you’re using the same font as everyone else PLUS Times New Roman becomes very hard to read at small sizes and doesn’t display as well as other font types on screens.

Resume Fonts-06.png

Unless you’re sending a hiring manager a comic book resume, it’s best to leave Comic Sans at home.  Don’t get me wrong, Comic Sans has its place in the world.  It’s fun, it’s quirky, and it was created to mimic the fonts used in comic book speech bubbles.  What’s not to like?  However, if you want a hiring manager to take you seriously a good rule of thumb is to stay far away from the 4 F’s: fun, flowery, flashy, or funky.


 The font you choose is extremely important and can be your ticket in the door or the reason for radio silence from the hiring manager.  Make sure whatever font you choose is the perfect blend of uniqueness and professionalism and you'll be on your way to the next interview in no time!

For more career tips and tricks, subscribe to MAU's Career Tips Blog!

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