What is in a font?

We see a lot of resumes in the staffing industry (it’s kind of our job). But flipping through resume, after resume, after resume – we’ve noticed a few minor details that can make or break your resume.

For some employers it all comes down to one little word – font.

You spend tireless hours writing, perfecting, and re-creating every detail of your resume (and sometimes for every job application). We don’t want that time and energy to go to waste on making a mistake as simple as choosing the wrong font. So we did a little research on what industries think about certain fonts, what fonts say about you as a person, and simply what fonts are the most likely to get your resume read (and hopefully snag the job).

According to an article in Business News Daily, the top resume fonts that are used are:

  • Arial – The standard, safe choice with clean lines; but some might consider it too standard and boring.
  • Calibri – The default for Microsoft Word making it familiar and universal; the font is smaller so at 12 pt. you could fit everything you need on a one-two page resume.
  • Garamond – An old style, yet elegant look that is bound to stand out.
  • Georgia – A good alternative to Times New Roman, and designed specifically to be read on the computer screen, but doesn’t appear as clean on print.
  • Times New Roman – An oldie but goodie, it is highly readable; but most consider it unimaginative, boring, and too reminiscent of your high school and college essays.
  • Trebuchet MS – A good san-serif font choice if you want to stand out, but still legible.

Sure these fonts are the top used resume fonts. But are they the best?

In a June 2015 article, the Huffington Post  sat down with Samantha Howie, senior human resources recruiter at the New York-based Maximum Management Corp., and narrowed it down to the Top 5 Fonts to Use on Your Resume and Why.

  1. Calibri: “Perfection” – Howie’s favorite, this font has all of the best characteristics. It is highly legible, straightforward, but it still has design substance. It is the new classic default and highly used in most industries.
  2. Helvetica: “Timeless” – This font is on an even playing field. In fact, Howie mentioned that this font is preferred in the recruiting firm where she works.
  3. Georgia: “Modern” – This font feels less dated than other serif fonts, and has a modern yet elegant appeal. Watch out for using it for print, though.
  4. Arial: “The Safe Choice”– This font is neutral and clean, but doesn’t have much of a personality.
  5. Garamond: “Classic” – This font is readable and elegant. A great old fashioned choice, but not the one for you if you want a modern approach.

The Huffington Post article even gave some negative font reviews, stating that “Times New Roman might cost you your next job” and that Comic Sans should never be used either and “in the professional word, it is totally inappropriate”. We completely agree.

If you are wondering what the font style you choose may say about you – Weems debunked the “Psychology of Fonts”.



Before you sign off we have a few key takeaway points when choosing that award-winning font that will line up interviews:

Make it legible

Regardless of the font you choose, make sure it is legible. If the font is too distracting, if you have to squint or zoom in to read it, then find another font. Not too bold, or too light. Not too big, or too small. Don’t get too elegant, but don’t be too bland. Find that happy median that showcases who you are, but will also be easy to read.

Across the Universe

It is important to choose a universal font that will open on any Mac or PC, regardless of the software.


If you have indecision on choosing a font, we highly suggest to go with the Huffington Post’s Top 5: Calibri, Helvetic, Georgia, Arial, Garamond.

Don’t Use Times New Roman

This font is simply dated. It may be OK for high school and college, but not for the working professional. If Microsoft Office dropped it as its default in 2007, so should you. Don’t be behind the times. Pun intended.

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