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What Is The Best Font For Resumes And Cover Letters

The best fonts for your resume ranked

Before you submit another resume, make sure you’re using one of these recruiter-approved fonts.

Recruiters take six seconds to decide whether or not to toss your resume, so the right font makes a big difference.

Your resume communicates your skills, assets and hire-ability. So if a recruiter can’t read it, or is put off by a funky font, you won’t even get a second look.

“The most important thing is that your font is scannable, easy to read,” says Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume. “Because so many recruiters are reading resumes on-the-go, you’d also be smart to chose a font that’s easy to read on a mobile device, which means a sans serif font like Arial, Tahoma or Calibri.”

With so much being made of “personal brand,” it’s natural to want to stand out or make a statement. Augustine says you can still have some style, as long as you stay with one of these 10 resume-friendly fonts, ranked in order of preference.

1. Calibri

Soft, gentle and modern, this is the default font of many email programs, so it’s familiar to the eye—and it’s a safe sans serif font.

2. Times New Roman

“For legal, operations and corporate jobs, this formal serif font is still readable electronically and goes with the brick-and-mortar feel of those industries,” says Augustine.

3. Arial

This classic sans serif font “is a great choice for creative people or those in a marketing field,” according to Augustine.

4. Verdana

Like Arial, this is another clean and modern font that’s even easier to read because of the slightly wider spacing.

5. Cambria

This is another default-type font that recruiters are familiar with, so you can’t go too wrong with it. It’s not as formal as Times New Roman, but just as dependable.

6. Garamond

More graceful than some if its sans serif friends, Garamond might suit artistic types more than bankers or executives.

7. Book Antiqua

As its name suggests, Book Antiqua would work well for professions in the arts or humanities.

8. Trebuchet MS 

Friendly and round, this is probably a good choice for creative or marketing fields.

9. Arial Narrow

If you’re tight on space, this sans serif is modern and still legible even in its narrow form.

10. Didot

This has style and panache, yet it is still readable. It’s probably the most artistic font that’s still professional enough to use on your resume.

Writing your resume and could use some help? A great first step is to join Monster. As a member, you can upload up to five different versions of your resume and make it searchable to recruiters.


Fonts in your resume


By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer

 


The content of your resume—all those carefully chosen action verbs and achievement statements—is what convinces an employer to invite you in for a job interview. That’s why you spend so much time on writing and re-writing the words.
 

Your choice of fonts is also important. Select the proper type and your resume will be easily read by anyone who needs to view it (or by any scanning system the employer might use to capture your information electronically). But if you try to get overly fancy in order to attract attention, you may instead make your resume practically unreadable.
 

Font Basics
 

A font is a specific type of lettering and numbering design that you use in composing a written document. The words you are reading in this article are set in a particular font style used extensively by Monster.ca.
 

Fonts come in distinct families. They differ in terms of their look and other qualities, such as size, weight and spacing.
 

Font Readability

 

When you submit your resume in response to a job posting, your document will either be read directly by people, or will get scanned first into an electronic applicant tracking system. In either case it’s vital that the fonts you use make your words easy to interpret.

 

Simple, clean fonts like Arial or Verdana guarantee the readability of your text. More ornate fonts, such as those named Informal, Roman, or Chiller, may give your document more personality. They will certainly stand out from ordinary typefaces. However they may also make the reader strain their eyes, or the letters may not be correctly interpreted by scanners. This can drop your resume to the bottom of the pile.

 

Clean And Sleek Versus Fancy And Memorable

 

There are two main categories of typefaces. One is called Serif, the other is Sans Serif.

Serif fonts tend to be more stylized. They all have little markings, curves or hooks as part of their design. Here are some examples of Serif font families:
 

  • Times New Roman
  • Bookman Old Style
  • Century



Because Serif fonts are not as sleek as Sans Serif typefaces, you should consider avoiding their use in job applications. They can cause scanning software to make errors and reject your resume.
 

As for Sans Serifs (which literally means “without serifs”), Arial is the most common family of fonts. It appears often in resumes. Arial is sleek and clean. It does not cause eye strain or scanning hiccups. The following type examples are from the Sans Serif category:
 

  • Arial
  • Segoe UI Semibold
  • Verdana

 

Size Matters

 

Don’t make the mistake of picking a crisp, clean font that you then shrink down in size, just so you can jam as many words as possible into your resume. That’s a bit like cheating. Better you should edit your content thoroughly to eliminate excess wording.
 

The more you reduce the size of your font, the less legible it becomes. Thus scanning systems are more likely to misread small print. And the people who must review your application manually may not want to squint. They could skip your submission for others that aren’t so visually challenging.
 

For a font family such as Arial, using a font size of 10.5 to 12 points gives the best results. When in doubt, go with 11 points. It gives you excellent readability and allows you to fit a good amount of content into your application.
 

Font Styles

 

One you decide on which font to go with, you’ll need to consider which style elements to add. This could include the use of bolding, italics, colour, etc.

 

For the sake of simplicity, opt for standard characters. Minimize the use of bolding except for section headers. Resist the urge to italicize words or phrases for effect: scanning systems might have problems reading such characters.

 

You can use all capital letters in headers, but don’t write entire sentences in capitals or IT WILL LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING AT THE READER.

 

The default colour for your fonts ought to be black. Unless you’re a graphics professional or in the visual arts fields, you are more likely to make a mess by using colour than to produce an attractive end product.

 

Be Consistent

 

There’s no need to be fancy when it comes to resume fonts. Stick with one choice (such as Arial) and a couple of styles for variety (e.g. bold, all capitals). This way you won’t overwhelm your reader with a document that looks like it was stitched together by Dr. Frankenstein.

 

Ultimately you want your resume to be read easily by people and electronic scanners alike. So give them something they can digest effortlessly. Count on your fonts to make your words visually crisp. Count on your words for content that puts you atop the list of interview prospects. 

 


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