Resume Tip Tuesday: Top 5 Best Fonts For Your Resume

Posted August 11, 2015

Welcome back to Resume Tip Tuesday! Come to CareerBliss every Tuesday for a brand new resume tip to help you in your job search. Check out the archive for resume tips galore!

Best Font Resume

After slaving away on your resume, the last thing you want to happen when you're finally ready to email it and hit 'SEND,' is for the hiring manager to open it, and - horror of horrors - find that it looks very different on their screen than it did on yours.

But unless you pick the right font, this may very well happen.

Why? Simply because every computer and laptop is different, and the HR department's computers may have a different set of fonts to yours. Most resumes are viewed on a computer screen before (if you're lucky) being printed out, so this can result in any one of the following unintentional resume issues:

* Text becomes misaligned and may overlap other text, making whole sections unreadable.

* Tabbed spaces shrink or shift, and those neat gaps you created to separate your resume sections may get messed up.

* Your meticulously formatted one page document expands to become a two-and-a-half page document. Eek!

* Text may overflow from formatted boxes and tables.

* Special characters may disappear or change to a different character.

"When I initially scan resumes, looking for the best fit, first impressions count," says Kyle Beatty, a recruiter with 10 years of experience in the hiring industry. "If my first impression of a resume is that the text is disorderly or has become jumbled, I'm not going to bother to read much of what it contains. If a candidate can't present a one-page text document in a readable format, what's to say that the rest of their work will be any better quality?"

According to recruiters CareerBliss spoke to and other career experts around the web, these are the top five safest bets for your resume.

The Top 5 Best Fonts For Your Resume

1. Arial


If you want to go with the safe bet, Arial is the choice for you. The lines are clear and easy to read, and every computer should have Arial installed as part of the basic Fonts packs. This means that text written in Arial is unlikely to change or shift when read on a different computer or on a mobile device.

Although it is often called "the poor man's Helvetica" (usually by people who are too cheap to buy the real Helvetica font), Arial will always be the standard and reliable option.

2. Times New Roman


Times New Roman has been around so long that using it is almost a cliche. However, Times New Roman is another standard font almost always included in font packs for text editing programs, both on PC and Mac. If you want to go ultra-safe and a little conservative, this is the font for you.

Says Executive Recruiter Cathy Walters Miclat, "I've been in executive search for 20+ years, and as a recruiter, I think simple is best. I have no problem with Helvetica or Arial, however, I would never make a judgement about a candidate who uses Times New Roman - the most universal font."

While this font is highly readable, like Arial, it may earmark you as being conservative and safe, and is therefore not the best choice if you are applying to work at a design firm. As one creative director said, "Times New Roman is the comfy sweatpants of the hiring industry."

Enough said.

3. Helvetica


Helvetica is the top choice if you're applying to work at a modern, forward-thinking company. "It feels professional, lighthearted, honest," says Brian Hoff, creative director of Brian Hoff Design. "It's cleaner and lacks the discrete embellishments of fonts like Times New Roman."

With its sleek, clean lines, Helvetica is a great choice if you are applying to work in an executive or technological role. However, if you have a lot of text you're trying to jam into that 'perfect' one-page resume, you'd best choose another font, as Helvetica can be a space guzzler.

4. Calibri 


Calibri is clear and legible. As a fairly narrow font, it allows for more text to be added in the same space, and is legible even at a fairly small size such as 8 or 10. Calibri is the default Microsoft Word font, and as such it is familiar to most readers. It displays perfectly on both computer screens and on mobile smartphones.

You should avoid Calibri if you have limited work experience that you're trying to 'fluff up' into a full-looking resume. You can type a whole novel on one page in Calibri and still have room to spare.

However, if you've had a 30-year career that you're now good-naturedly trying to shoehorn into the two pages maximum that your recruiter (who looks younger than your latest grandson) has sternly recommended, you're onto a good thing with Calibri.

5. Garamond


With it's simple, rounded elegance, Garamond looks polished in print. Often used by booksellers, Garamond is the refined choice and hints at a certain sophistication. Besides being easy on the eyes, it looks polished in print, which makes it the font of choice if you are planning on printing out your resume before delivering it.

And Finally....

If you simply can't decide on a font, or if you're determined to stick to that new and fancy font you bought at great expense online specifically for your resume, there is another way forward - save your resume as a PDF. That way, your exact font is set in stone and you can rest assured that your resume will look exactly the same to the hiring manager as it does when it left your computer.

Tune in next Tuesday for more great resume tips! Same time, same place!

photo of Natasha Rhodes

Natasha Rhodes

Natasha Rhodes is a careers expert and writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listingscompany reviews, and salary information.

Other Articles Written by Natasha Rhodes

Sign up for Job Alerts!
Show me more jobs

Resume Writing Services

Free resume evaluation from career experts
  • Guaranteed interviews in 30 business days or get a free rewrite
  • All staff writers are Certified Professional Resume Writers (CPRWs)
Learn more
We noticed that your web browser is outdated!

Update your browser to have a more positive job search experience.

Upgrade My Browser