Tech & Work

What is the best font to use in a resume?

Could the font you use in your resume really be that important? You bet it can.

Deep down inside, many qualified job candidates think that their skills and talents should shine right through any external distractions like a bad interview or a poorly constructed resume. Confidence in one's skills is great, but that doesn't mean you can show up at an interview wearing your favorite housecoat and puppy-themed slippers and expect to be taken seriously.

The same holds true for your resume. Your resume can contain facts that prove you to be the best programmer in the whole wide world, but if its physical format is hard to read, it won't do you much good. I hate to break your heart, but the average employer is not going to intuit that you're God's gift to the world and take the extra time to navigate through typos and bizarre fonts to weed out your career highlights.

I've covered this before, but a simple question remains: What is the best font to use on a resume? While there are no absolute answers, there are some that are pretty close:

Most people tend to use Times New Roman for its readability. However, this may be the very reason you should use something else. Think of how a resume with a different font than all the others will stand out initially.

However, don't go to extremes. Don't use a cursive font or anything really off the beaten path because it won't be easily scannable by HR apps. And don't be tempted to format your resume in

a font like this

just to underline your programming expertise. It will just cause an eye roll.

Use a more readable font like Arial or Helvetica, and keep it between 10-12 points in size. Using a bigger font size might make it more readable, but it also might make it look like it came from a first-grade student.

Don't use justified text. As you can see in Figure A, this can cause huge gaps in the text and be distracting.

Figure A

Hope these tips help!

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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