Having to find the most qualified candidate in as little time as possible puts recruiters under tremendous pressure. This means quickly sorting resumes into Yes, No, and Maybe, piles with a 6-second skim. Everything from the resume buzzwords you use right down to your resume headings can influence their decision, your font is no different. Putting your best font choices forward will get you one step closer to getting called for an interview, and one step further away from being out-of-the-job.
Why do font choices matter for your resume?
There are two audiences you want to impress when you create your resume. The person that will be reading it (the recruiter), and whatever system they used to preliminary screen your resume before it comes across your desk (automated tracking systems). Fonts influence how easily both these parties can read your resume, be impressed by your resume, and by directed by your resume.
No recruiter wants to spend an extra 30 seconds trying to decipher what your resume says. Having font sizes that are too small (e.g., < pt. 10) can cause recruiters to squint, lose interest, and move on to someone else.
Creative fonts with slants, curls, and all that other fun stuff can be difficult for ATS systems to process. This can lead to portions of your resume being omitted. The result being that your resume will never even get in front of a person. To put it bluntly, keeping your font simple minimizes any risk of your resume being overlooked.
Believe it or not, the choices you make in your resume influence how the recruiter sees you as a potential employee. If you’ve got typos galore, you’ll come across sloppy. Your font choices don’t do much to prove you’re a good candidate, but poor choices can instantly make you seem like a poor candidate. An overly-designed and illegible font tells the recruiter you don’t know how to convey information in understandable ways, it says you don’t think about the impact of your work on others. This is especially true if going into a field that requires you to do just that (for example, a research assistant).
In the six-seconds you’ve got to grab a recruiter’s attention, so the choices you make around your resume font can do wonders to direct them towards your absolute must-read elements. Utilising bold fonts and large headings can make the essentials stand out the way you want, making sure those few seconds are spent viewing what’s most important.
How do I use my resume font to my advantage?
Stick to a uniform
If you’ve made a certain stylistic choice with your resume font, it should be consistent across the board. If one heading is in bold and is size 12, all headings should be the same. Don’t go overboard, however. An overuse of CAPITAL LETTERS or exclamation points (!!!) can do more harm than good and ruin the tone of your resume. Remember to keep your margins consistent too.
Tip: With Enhancv’s resume builder, you can choose from our automated resume formats that will do all of the uniform work for you.
To ensure readability, stick to a font that has clean margins and a simple typeface. Most fonts are split into two categories: serif (with tails) and sans-serif (without tails). A classic serif font is Times New Roman, whole a classic sans-serif font is Arial. Choosing a font that you find easy to read and that keeps an appealing design no matter the style (i.e., capitalized, in bold, italicized, etc.,) is key.
Pick your resume font size
The size of your font will differ depending on the type of content you’re writing. As previously mentioned, all headings should be the same size. But, there are exceptions. When writing your resume header, your name should be a few sizes bigger than the rest of your writing. Importantly, the main text of your resume should all be the one size. Nothing smaller than 10pt would be my recommendation, as it’s too difficult to read, and you can’t rely on the recruiter to use a computer to zoom in on your content. Check out my rules-of-thumb for different parts of your resume.
- Resume Header: Name largest, with contact details consistent with main body
- Resume Headings: 2pts larger than your main body
- Main Body: Nothing smaller than 10pt
Look at your resume on different mediums
Every resume deserves a resume review. A step you should take in this process is taking a look at your resume in different mediums. This means printing your resume out on resume paper and looking at your font in its physical form, but also taking the time to look on your resume on a computer and mobile device. Remember, recruiters often have hundreds of resumes coming across their desk. This means your resume might go through its screening between meetings, in the car, or quickly over lunch.
Server Resume Example
In Hannah’s server resume, she uses Rubik, a font available with Enhancv. With it’s clean edges and letter spacing, Rubik is easy-to-read and is also unique to catch the recruiter’s attention.
Choosing a font for your resume
The font you choose for your resume won’t be the deciding factor for the recruiter, but it certainly plays into the decision. Failing to think about the font you use, how it reads, and how accessible it is to the recruiter can have devastating effects on your chances. Luckily, the challenges around picking a resume font are easily managed. In fact, with Enhancv’s resume builder, you can put your mind at ease and not worry about the size of your font, the margins you use, and all that other stuff. Simply pick a font you like and the rest is taken care of for you.