You may have seen employers specifying job seekers to use specific fonts and font sizes when preparing their resumes. But why particular fonts and font sizes? Why not give them the freedom to choose any font from the list of fonts?
The answer is straightforward. Often employers spend a few seconds on a resume before deciding to consider it further or not. Using the wrong resume font means employers will have a hard time reading your resume, and this is likely to put them off. This is not something you want to happen to you.
The other reason why you need to be mindful about your choice of resume fonts is that the applicant management systems are designed to read specific fonts. You use the wrong fonts, and that automatically means your resume will not be detected.
That simply means you must focus on using simple fonts that applicant management systems and recruiters can easily read. Fortunately, there are a number of fonts suitable for resume. Calibri, Arial, and Times New Romans are a good example of fonts suitable for resumes.
However, if applying to a role in graphic design or advertising where employers are also focusing on creativity, you might want to consider using fancy fonts.
It is hard to talk about fonts without talking about font sizes. These two go hand in hand when writing any document. Often consider choosing a font size that is between 10pts and 12pts for the normal text and increasing the font size for headings. For example, if you decide to use Times New Roman, use at least 11pt. If using Arial, use 10pt for normal text.
How to select a font
There are two ways to select the right font. You can choose by going to the top of your document before you start writing your resume. Alternatively, type your resume, and once done, highlight it and from the pop-up window that appears or from the top of your document, pick the font you want to use.
Read our indepth article on resume font size
Resume fonts and sizes
Below is a more detailed list of resume fonts and font sizes:
- Times New Roman is the most common font to use, in black and size 12 points.
- Other serif fonts (with tails) to consider that are easy to read include: Georgie, Bell MT, Goudy Old Style, Garamond.
- Popular sans serif (no tails) fonts include Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic, and Lucida Sans.
Any of the above fonts would be reasonable for a resume as long as you consistently use one font only. Also, remember to make your headings and names stand out. For example, make them bold and increase the font size. You can also capitalize or underline them.
More resume style tips
- Be consistent: Make sure to use the same font across all the application materials. Using the same fonts makes your work neat, not to mention you also look professional by using the same font across all the documents.
- Don’t get fancy: Unless the employer has requested or you are applying for a job in graphic design or advertising, always use basic resume fonts. Using fancy fonts when not required is likely to put off recruiters. Your resume may also get stuck in the applicant tracking system and never to be seen by the recruiting team.
- Avoid tweaking your font size to meet your goal: While it is recommendable to keep your resume short, never try to reduce your font so that your resume fits in fewer pages. Remember, we talked about choosing a font size that is between 10 and 12. Going below that will only make your resume shorter but horrible. A horrible resume will get you nowhere.
While focusing on resume font and font size, it is also prudent to focus on your resume format. The right resume format is that which allows you to start with the most crucial information. A professional resume format should include:
Contact information: Make sure to list your full name, address, and contact details at the top of the page. Remember to center the information and be sure to bold and capitalize your name.
Value statement: Clearly, state the role you are applying for and what values you bring to the role. Your value statement must explain why you are a fit candidate for the position.
Core strength: Here list specific skill-sets and industry keywords related to your job and industry.
Experience: List your experience first, starting with your most current job and all your responsibilities.
Education: Clearly state your education history from the most recent institution you have attended, with all dates, locations, and certifications received.
Honors and awards: After education and experience, you can list your professional skills and any relevant awards or certifications.