Do Fonts Really Matter?

Nancy Anderson
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Your resume is your formal introduction to prospective employers. Every part of this document needs to come together to show your competence and qualifications, and the font is an important aspect of the image you project. Although the wrong resume font is unlikely to cost you a job, the perfect font makes your resume shine, moving you closer to getting an interview. Consider these options to find a resume font that is right for you.

Conservative Standards

If you're applying to conservative companies, it's usually best to stick with a standard font, such as Arial or Times New Roman. Arial has crisp, clean lines that are easy to read in print or on screen, while Times New Roman is a classic serif font that is similarly safe and legible. Neither makes your resume stand out, but both show that you know how to be professional and follow the rules. Choose these standards for industries such as law and banking where reliability is especially important.

A Traditional Look

Although there are many fonts suitable for resumes, traditional serif fonts are the most popular. Serifs are the small lines at the beginning and end of letter strokes that give the letters a finished appearance. These fonts make a solid impression, portraying an authoritative personality with an air of reliability and old-fashioned respect. Cambria and Garamond are suitable serif resume fonts that look dependable and businesslike without being as formal or common as Times New Roman.

Clean and Modern

On the other hand, sans-serif fonts give your resume a clean, modern feel, being a great choice when applying to contemporary organizations that value simplicity, clarity and universal design. Helvetica and Calibri make great resume fonts if you value minimalism. They are both easy to read and familiar yet have a bit more personality than the more traditional Arial. Tahoma and Verdana are exceptionally easy to read digitally, so keep them in mind if most of your job search takes place online.

Fonts for Creative Types

When applying for jobs in creative fields, look for resume fonts that express more of your personal style. The right font grabs the reader's attention, making it easier for your resume to pass the six-second test and hopefully improving your chances for getting an interview. Book Antiqua is a creative font that gives your resume an old-time feel while still being easy to read. It is a good choice if you are in the creative writing or advertising industries. Didot is a distinctive serif font that combines different stroke widths to give it an upscale, classy feel. Choose Didot if you are a designer or artist who wants to stand out from the crowd.

The best resume fonts are professional, easy to read in all formats, and in line with the image you want to portray to hiring managers. Avoid fonts that are cute, childlike or overly fancy, such as Comic Sans MS, Courier or any script font. Instead, choose a resume font that shows your ability to meet business standards with just a hint of your personal flair.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at


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  • Phil P.
    Phil P.

    I wouldn't call Courier "cute, childlike, or overly fancy". It is a typewriter typeface (not only that, but usually fixed pitch), and it makes you look extremely old-fashioned, even for law or banking. On the other hand, Comic Sans is for morons who can't figure out how to change the typeface, or think cute is desirable in a professional communication.

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