Complex fonts can make your resume difficult to read, which could encourage employers to overlook it. Instead, choose a clean, simple resume font that makes your words clear to the employer.
There are two general buckets fonts fall into: Serif and Sans Serif. These mean with and without intricacies like “tails,” respectively. Sans Serif fonts (or fonts without tails) are generally good fonts for resumes due to their high readability. There are fonts like Georgia, however, that are still widely accepted among employers as simple and professional.
These font types can sometimes be difficult to read on a screen. You can still select a font that you feel is representative of your personality, as there are several good options in word processors today.
The optimal font size for your resume is anything between 10 and 12 points. The size you choose will be largely determined by how the font size impacts your resume layout. Because it is best practice to keep your resume to one or two pages, begin with size 10 font and experiment with sizing up if you think you have space.
While it may be tempting to keep your entire resume on one page, avoid dropping your font size below 10 points. This will make your document hard on the reader’s eyes. If your resume is two pages or longer at a 10 point font, edit your resume content to create more concise ideas by removing any unnecessary words or phrases. Only the most important content that best displays your skills and experiences most relevant to the job should remain.
For example, here’s a resume sentence that can be shortened:
“Performed inventory audits on a monthly basis and discovered issues with over-ordering—executed an organization solution across all teams which resulted in a 10% increase in revenue over the next two quarters.”
Make your ideas concise and remove filler words to include only the core value of your statement:
“Performed regular inventory audits, identifying and solving over-ordering problem to achieve 10% revenue increase.”
Here are a few other ways you can use to make a shorter resume:
You can also add personality or definition by selecting font styles for your name and section headers, including bolding, underlining and italicizing. While your entire resume should only be one font, you can stylize or increase the size of your name and important sections like “Education” or “Professional Experience”. Be consistent with stylization, and only select one or two to ensure your resume appears professional and easy to read.
Here’s an example:
Conscientious Counselor with 3+ years of experience staying attentive to the needs of children, students, and parents, while ensuring a welcoming, trusting environment. Enjoys creating customized plans and programs to spur educational and emotional growth.
CRANE & JENKINS | Counselor
Aug ’14 – Jan ’18
Develop comprehensive guidance and counseling programs in collaboration with faculty and staff for 1,200+ students
Conduct career awareness sessions and meet individually with parents and students to explore education options based on career goals
Pioneered and coordinated Career & College Day, introducing 800 students and parents to 60 universities, colleges, and companies
CLOUD CLEARWATER | Camp Counselor
Mar ’14 – Aug ’15
Supervised children aged 8-12 with special needs, including down syndrome and autism
Recognized and tended to needs regarding diet, medication, and behavior
Planned and coordinated daily indoor and outdoor activities, encouraging participation, engagement, and teamwork
If you’re creating a resume for a creative field like graphic design or advertising, you have more flexibility when it comes to style. Often, creative interviewers view the resume as a showcase of creative skills and abilities and is expected to be representative of your work. Even so, ensuring your resume is easy to read is a top priority
Many employers also use software called an applicant tracking system (ATS) to record and sort job applications. These programs don’t always read and interpret intricate fonts well, so complicated or overly detailed font options can sometimes be turned into blank boxes or other illegible characters.
After you’ve selected your font, font style and polished your resume accordingly, take time to review and get feedback. Since the employers looking at your resume may print it out to share with stakeholders or bring to your interview, print out a test copy to make sure the font is readable and stylization is consistent and doesn’t detract from the resume content.
Ask trusted friends or colleagues to review both your digital and printed versions for any feedback. Getting a fresh perspective can be helpful—third parties can give you an unbiased opinion, not having looked at and criticized the resume for hours like yourself.
You have several options when it comes to selecting a font size and style. The key idea to keep in mind when selecting one is simplicity. A clean font that is easy to read gives your resume preference over those with complex or otherwise illegible fonts. In addition, a highly readable and neat font can communicate professionalism to employers.