1. Does Resume Font Really Matter?
  2. What Do You Need From a Font?
  3. What size font to use?
  4. Types of Font to Use
  5. Our Top Three Traditional Fonts
  6. Our Top Three Contemporary Fonts
  7. Two Fonts: Should you do it?
  8. How to Format Font Successfully?

1. Does Resume Font Really Matter?

Imagine your settling into a weekend at a relaxing herbal spa. 

You’re in a hot, thermal bath, surrounded by lush, vivid greenery, silk towels, and the sumptuous fragrance of rosewater and camomile. 

You sigh, entirely at peace, drifting gently into slumber…

relaxing herbal spa with hot thermal bath surrounded by lush, greenery, silk towels and rosewater

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images

And HEAVY METAL Blares over the speakers.

See how this completely ruins the ambience, the goal, the purpose of the spa? 

A poor font can do exactly that to your resume. Design, in this case, typography, imbues your writing with a specific ambience, genre and personality. 

You wouldn’t elect someone with the personality of a clown to be president, would you?

So why would you use a goofy font for your resume?

We, as humans, are biologically hardwired to search for patterns and meaning. It’s part of our evolutionary makeup.

Every time you interact with any form of media, your brain is continually making subconscious associations and assumptions which form your opinion of it. 

colorful brain vector art

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images 

That’s truly the job of a media professional- creatively hijacking your brain to sell you stuff. 

And if you’re trying to sell yourself- follow their lead. 

You can optimise the likelihood of recruiters and employers associating with traits of professionalism, honesty and skill- just through font alone. 

So yes- it does matter. 

And considering its such a tiny part of your resume- you wouldn’t want it to impact the professionalism and excellence of the rest, would you?

Here’s how to pick the right font for your resume, and maximise its positive impact.

2. What Do You Need From a Font?

monochrome 3d text font

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images 

Two things are essential- no ifs, no buts. 

Readability and professionalism.

Nothing that can be classified as a fantasy or a script font, aka those used in graphic design, really works for a resume. 

Anything that is intricately detailed, excessively thin, very bold or distracting will not work for you. 

Some go without saying.

say no to comic sans

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images

Once you have those two requirements- readability and professionalism– ticked, you have a range of options. 

Some fonts are more suitable for jobs in traditional, formal employment environments, and some are better for more relaxed or creative positions at a design company or a quirky startup. 

At Resume Cats, we can provide you with options of both, which can then be optimised through our selection of professional, modern and creative resume templates. 

But before that, you can’t choose a font without knowing the basics- like what size you should use.

3. What size font to use?

The optimal font size is between 12 and 14.

Research shows recruiters prefer size 12 font because it’s simultaneously easy to read while indicating you have plenty to say.

If you’re highly experienced with a lengthy resume, size 10 font can be acceptable, but it isn’t recommended. 

As a golden rule- Never go beneath 10. No matter how extensive your experience, and how much you want to show that. 

Middle Aged Man Using A Magnifying Glass

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images

Remember its a resume for recruiters to read, not ants. 

Either rework your resume to feature what is explicitly relevant to the job or if in the rare instance it’s too relevant to leave it out, take the plunge and extend your resume to two pages. 

Though it’s probably best to stick to one. 

Learning to leave stuff out of your resume will make it more straightforward and concise. 

There’s nothing wrong with being proud of being a prefect in high school, but we somehow doubt its relevant to your actuarial application.

4. Types of Font to Use

There are more fonts than you might think that will work well for a Resume. 

Font’s that will work for your resume generally fall into two categories: Traditional and Contemporary.

Traditional fonts

Like Times New Roman and Arial. They are associated with ‘maturity’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘stability’. Working best for more traditional, formal environments.

Contemporary fonts

Like Kristen and Playfair. They are associated with ‘excitement’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘individuality’. Working best for a more relaxed and creative environment.

Yes, you can use Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri to your heart’s content. But if you want an alternative, here are our top three picks from each ‘Cat’egory.

5. Our Top Three Traditional Fonts

professional man in suit man adjusting tie

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images 

  1. For Academics: Garamond 

Garamond is a typeface inspired by 16th-century design, often used in print, that came out in 1986. 

It has a vintage, classy look that gives it a distinctive personality, while still being highly professional, making it a perfect pick for academic and literary fields.

  1. For Business: Georgia

Released in 1993, Georgia is widely used by Amazon and the New York Times as a default font.

 It’s sleek and effortlessly professional, without looking stuffy or too classic like Times New Roman. 

Overall- it’s a modern font that reminds you of professionals, making it perfect for business. 

  1. For Professional Creatives: Didot 

Didot was created in the 1800s by the Didiot brothers.

As a neoclassical font, It looks smart and professional but retains an artistic, elegant charm.

Therefore if you are a professional creative operating in a more formal field- as a journalist within a big media company for example, Didot may be the font for you.

6. Our Top Three Contemporary Fonts

creative woman checking the shot on the monitor

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images 

  1. For Creatives: Avant Garde

Inspired by 1920’s German Bauhaus, Avant Garde was created in the 1970s for use in advertising. 

It’s a funky, retro, quirky font that has had a serious comeback- because it’s interesting enough to stand out while remaining readable for the web. 

Full of individuality, it may not cut it for a traditional employer, but it’s a solid choice for creative types and creative positions.

  1. For Web Or Tech Work: Roboto

Created in 2011 by google, Roboto has a slender, sleek typeface, and contemporary feel. 

As an open-source font, it’s free for anyone to use and remains legible on any screen.

 Its aesthetically very sleek and modern, so perfect for your application to any modern company, like a tech start-up, that prioritises web presence and online content. 

  1. For modern companies: Helvetica

Let’s say you work for a forward, modern business that is perhaps more creative but still requires an element of formality- say hello to Helvetica. 

Introduced in the 1950s, It is a beautiful, artistic font that is professional and stands out- without being too out there.

Its only downside is as a mac font it can be incompatible with some devices. Easy alternatives that exist are Swiss or Folio.

7. Two Fonts: Should You Do It?

Is it possible to use two fonts in your resume? Yes. 

Is it recommendable? Probably not. It brings more risks than benefits.

If done poorly, it can be extremely distracting and make your resume look highly unprofessional and novice. 

The fonts need to be cohesive, but not with a too similar a look, feel and size. They need to have contrast, but not contrast so significant they look unrelated. 

It also requires some kind of visual emphasis, like use in a title or to set apart a specific section like your skills.

See how specific a second font needs to be? If you feel you’ve found the perfect fit, feel free to double up, but if you just don’t know, maybe give it a miss. 

8. How to Format Font Successfully?

resume template illustration
resume template illsutration

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images

  1. Use visual emphasis sparingly and consistently

The golden rule for all visual flourishes added to a resume is: use them sparingly and consistently. 

If you underline one headline- you do them all. 

  1. Direct attention with Bold

Bold can make your standout achievements stand out even more. And easily draw the eye to titles to guide the reading process. 

But don’t go overboard- too much, and your resume becomes difficult to read. 

  1. For subtle emphasis use Italics

For subtitles and subtle emphasis that doesn’t draw attention away from bolder elements, its time to use Italics. 

Again, don’t overuse it- it can start to look visually overwhelming. 

  1. CAPITALISATION: If you use it, don’t abuse it.

Even bolder than bold, capitalisation is the visual equivalent of a shout. 

Certainly great for drawing attention, but is anyone going to hire an employee whose resume looks like its screaming at them? 

If you use it (it can work for titles) don’t abuse it. 

So…there you have it! 

The ultimate guide on choosing the right font on your resume, no matter the working environment. 

Traditional or modern, formal or informal, there’s a font to capture the personality and attitude you want your resume to convey. 

We hope this has helped, not only in using our unique yet simple resume builder to build your dream resume but also in informing any stylistic choices you may make in the future. 

Thank you very much for reading, and remember- the smaller details are more significant than you might think. 
Book a call with Resume Cats  today to get expert help on picking the perfect font, so even the smallest details of your resume are picture perfect.