The Best Font Size and Style for Resumes

Fonts for Resumes

Theresa Chiechi / The Balance

When you’re writing your resume, your font choice does matter. It's important to opt for a basic font—choose one that both hiring managers and applicant management systems can easily read. Your resume is no place to use difficult-to-read cursive, handwriting-style, or calligraphy fonts.

Resume Font Size Options

Make it easy for hiring managers and potential interviewers to read through your entire resume. Choose a font size that's between 10 and 12. This will ensure that no one has to squint to read through all the information on this important document.

It's fine to use a larger font size for your name in the heading section of your resume at the top of the page.

Hiring managers and recruiters typically spend seconds glancing at each resume before moving it to the “yes” or “no” pile. Make your resume difficult to read, and you might wind up losing out on an opportunity that would have been perfect for you.

Keep Your Resume Font Style Simple

There are a few reasons why it's important to keep the font on your resume simple. First of all, many of them are read by applicant tracking systems and not by people. Those systems work best reading plain and simple text rather than that with fancy formatting.

It's not just the machines that benefit from easily readable text—human eyes also find it easier.

The Best Resume Font Type to Use

Choose a Basic Font Style

Basic bookprint fonts like Arial, Verdana, Calibri, and Times New Roman work well. However, if you are applying to a position in graphic design or advertising (where resume layout and design might be part of your assessment), employers might be open to alternative fonts.

Don't use more than two different font styles (one for the headings and another for the content) or it could be distracting to the reader.

Headings and Margins

You can make section headers a little larger or bold. And don't forget about white space, too. Keep side margins a standard width.

Your Name

Make your name—which should be placed at the top of your resume—stand out. It can be in a slightly larger font.

Be Consistent

Don't overuse capitalization, bold, italics, underlines, or other emphasizing features. Again, basic works best. Do be consistent in your formatting.

For example, if you bold one section heading, bold them all. Make sure all your bullet points are indented the same amount, and that alignment and spacing throughout is consistent.

How to Select a Font

Select a font from the dropdown list at the top of your document before you start writing your resume.

OR:

  • Type your resume.
  • Highlight the resume.
  • Either select the font from the pop-up window or select the font from the list at the top of the document.
  • Select the font size you want to use the same way.

Confirming Your Font Choice

Hiring managers may read your resume on screen, but it's also quite likely that they'll print out a copy of your resume. So after you have selected a font and font size, it is always wise to print out a copy of your resume.

Take a look at your printed resume to see if it's easy to scan through. If you have to squint to read, or find the font appears cramped, choose a different one or select a larger size.

Bottom line: You want anyone who sees your resume to be able to easily read it.

If you can read the document yourself, and you're not using a novelty font (e.g., comic sans, a handwriting font, etc.), you've probably made a good choice.

More Resume Style Tips

  • Be consistent. Your resume, cover letter, and other application materials should look like they’re part of the same package. Choose the same font throughout, and make consistent choices about font size, margin width, and formatting.
  • Don’t get fancy. With a few exceptions (such as graphic design or advertising jobs, as mentioned above) it’s best to keep your resume simple. Creative resumes may put off the hiring manager … or get stuck in the applicant tracking system and never reach a HR person.

Remember: the goal is to impress the reader with your skills and experience, not your resume style choices.

  • Aiming for one page? Don’t tweak your font size to meet your goal. Writing a resume isn’t like writing an essay in school. You can’t squeak in under the wire by making your font larger or smaller. Plus, resume length is less important than resume content. You can always develop a one-page version to hand out at networking events and job fairs, and keep the longer version for other job searching purposes.