When the hiring manager first sees your resume, they notice the layout and presentation before they read your skills and experience. No matter how qualified you are, your resume needs to make a good first impression.
A critical part of this is choosing the right resume font.
Some candidates assume font doesn’t matter, and miss an opportunity to stand out. Others get overwhelmed by choice, and risk using a font that sends the wrong signals in their industry.
Keep reading to learn what font a resume should be in, according to HR pros who have read thousands of applications.
8 Best Resume Fonts
The best font for a resume depends on your target position.
For example, acceptable resume fonts at established corporate firms are very different to those preferred by startup technology companies. To strike the right tone with your font, you should think about how your target employer values professionalism versus creativity.
And — your experience level affects the font you choose for your resume.
Wider fonts suit entry-level candidates who need to fill up the page, whereas experienced candidates may want to select a font that’s readable in the smallest sizes, so they can add more information.
The following list of recommended resume fonts considers all these factors, but also reflects modern design preferences and hiring trends.
Calibri is the default font used by Microsoft Word, and is therefore a reliable choice for any resume, because the hiring manager should have no problem opening it correctly. If you have doubts about which font to use, Calibri is one of the safest top resume fonts.
However, for candidates who want to make a bold impression with their font, Calibri is likely a little too safe.
2. Times New Roman
Although this serif font has fallen out of fashion among younger applicants, Times New Roman is still a professional standard in corporate environments. Be cautious of advice that says to avoid this font in your application — many offices prioritize traditional clarity in their documents.
Times New Roman won’t make your resume stand out, but in many positions, showing you understand convention and protocol is a highly sought after quality.
Professional yet contemporary, there’s a reason we chose Roboto as the font for several of our free to download resume templates. Roboto is different enough to attract attention to your resume, but sufficiently conservative to fit best practices. It’s therefore suitable for job applications in any industry.
Plus, Roboto works well with Google Docs and the Android operating system, making it an ideal modern font for tech-savvy job seekers in 2020.
Helvetica is a clean sans-serif font used by brands and on signs around the world, including the New York Subway. Because it’s a striking and easy-to-read font, formatting your resume in Helvetica helps highlight your strengths and confidence.
A favorite among designers, Helvetica is a common font on Macs but not PCs. If you’re applying to work in an industry that values aesthetics, Helvetica is a solid choice.
Georgia was designed to be readable when formatted in a small size. It’s therefore good at helping readers process large amounts of information. If you have extensive experience, using Georgia will help the hiring manager understand why you’re the best candidate.
It’s clearly a formal choice — for example it’s used by the New York Times — but if you want to squeeze more information on the page, it’s a good alternative to Times New Roman.
6. Trebuchet MS
This sans-serif font was designed to appear well on-screen, so it’s the perfect go-to font for the digital age. You may not have noticed, but you’ve already seen it in use on countless webpages. Therefore, as well as being informal and clear, it’s subtly friendly and familiar to many hiring managers.
Because of its relationship with the Internet, Trebuchet MS is a good resume font choice when applying for web-focused roles, such as social media. It also works well for entry-level candidates who lack experience, because its thickness takes up more space. This allows you to create a full resume with less information.
As you’ve seen, serif fonts are usually used on resumes for business roles that value uniformity. Garamond, however, is a serif font that suits creative industries and academia.
Don’t let the fact that it’s several hundred years old put you off — Garamond is still popular for a reason. Elegant and readable, this font resembles perfect handwriting, emphasizing personality, as well as intelligence and ability.
Our final font is modern and familiar without being overused. Verdana is a good alternative to Arial, which is one of the most common fonts used for resumes worldwide. It gives your resume the same clean presentation, but with a little extra impact, because the hiring manager won’t be as used to seeing it.
Guide to Resume Font Size
Once you’ve chosen an appropriate font for your resume, you need to think about your resume format and decide which font size is best.
Because fonts render differently, it’s impossible to give a definitive answer to which resume font size you should use. For example, Garamond appears much smaller than Arial — even if the same font size is selected.
As a rule, the best font size for a resume ranges between 10 and 12.
Never format your entire resume in a font size under 10 — it’s too difficult to read. Likewise, any font over 12 makes your resume look childish and immature.
Of course, you can use larger font sizes for your headings, but stick to the standard size for your experience bullets.
If you have too much information and need your resume to fit on one page, it’s better to edit the content than reduce the font size until everything fits. Learning to boost your experience with resume action verbs will tighten your writing, and won’t sacrifice the aesthetic of the entire document.
Conclusion: What Font Should a Resume Be?
The best font for your resume resume is whichever typeface successfully highlights your skills and experience, and matches the role you’re applying for. The key is to focus on readability, and strike the right balance between professionalism and creativity.
If you can choose the appropriate kind of font — in the proper font size — you’ve made an excellent first impression, which will shape how the hiring manager views your entire resume.
Whether you choose from our list of good resume fonts, or find a different one that inspires you, good luck on the job hunt!
Need more help writing your resume? Check out some of our other resources below: