The Best Fonts and Size to Use on a Resume (Updated 2021)

Caitlin Proctor

9 min read

Finding a job is tough these days, with steep competition and hundreds of applications per open job listing. You want every aspect of your resume and cover letter to convey that you’re the best fit for the job. After you’ve considered your experience, skills, education, and qualifications, you have another choice to make: what is the best font to use for your resume?

Your resume font is one of those things that can either support your message (I’m perfect for this position!) or send the wrong message (I’m too old/too young/too out of touch for this job). In this article, we’ll give you the 8 best fonts to use on your resume and how you can choose the right fit for your resume.

In addition to the best fonts, this post also includes these sections:

If you prefer, we have the same information in video format.

The top 8 resume fonts (video)

Font selection is an important part of your resume because it sets a tone for your whole document. You can use different fonts for the body and the headings, but you don’t want to use more than two. 

The fonts listed above–and detailed below–are all good, clean font choices. Any font with too many flourishes risks being illegible to the ATS (applicant tracking system). You want your font to come across as professional, not detract from your message. 

Expert Tip

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1. Calibri

Calibri takes number one on our font list and has really gained popularity lately. It’s professional and more modern-looking than some other fonts, making it a great font to use on a resume and cover letter.

Lucas de Groot, the creator of the Calibri font, described it as having “a warm and soft character.” Microsoft has also Times New Roman with Calibri as the standard font for Word and other applications.

2. Arial

Arial is another great font to use on your resume. It’s part of the popular sans-serif font family. Many have said that Arial font is clean and easy to read. It also has a more modern look to it than other fonts.

Here is a good description of Arial from Wikipedia:

“Arial contains more humanist characteristics than many of its predecessors and as such is more in tune with the mood of the last decades of the twentieth century.”

Example:

Arial is an excellent font to use on a resume. 

3. Helvetica

Helvetica is another good sans-serif font you can use for your resume. Helvetica is very similar to Arial and requires close inspection to really tell the difference. It, too, offers a clean and modern look that’s easy on the eye. It also comes in a variety of weights and styles.

4. Tahoma

Also a sans-serif font, Tahoma has a more modern look than the rest of the fonts listed. It was used by Microsoft for many years for a variety of different programs.

Example:

Tahoma is a great option that gives your resume a kick while still appearing professional. 

5. Trebuchet

Trebuchet is another san-serif font, created by Vincent Connare. His goal with Trebuchet was to create a font that appeared well on a screen and also provided a contrast in texture to Verdana, which is next on our list.

Example:

Trebuchet is a great option since it was designed to appear well on a screen which is how most employers will view your resume. It also provides a modern kick compared to other traditional fonts. 

6. Verdana

Verdana is another sans-serif which is a good font for a resume. It was designed in 1996 by Mathew Carter, who worked for Microsoft. Verdana was created to appear well on a small screen as well as screens with low resolution.

Example:

Verdana is a good font choice to use on a resume!

7. Garamond

Garamond is a collection of old-style serif fonts created by 16th-century French engravers. Although it is a good choice, it may seem a bit stale and outdated to some. If you have a lot of experience, it may be a good choice.

8. Times New Roman

This is probably the most debated font when it comes to resume writing. Times New Roman is a classic serif typeface that may be a bit too overdone for a resume. Although no hiring manager will dismiss your resume because you used Times New Roman, it may not stand out as well as the other fonts on our list.

Example:

Times New Roman may be a bit too “classic” when it comes to making your resume stand out. It is still an acceptable font to use, especially for those who want to go with a classic look. 

Times New Roman is a classic for print such as newspapers and books. However, resumes are now often viewed on computers or mobile devices. Sans serif fonts (such as the one we use on this website!) are easier to read on a computer screen. it may help you make your font decision if you know whether or not your resume will be read on paper or on a screen.

8 best fonts to use on a resume (graphic)

How to choose the font for your resume

Let’s go over some factors to keep in mind when choosing a resume font for your resume.

1. Resume readability

Readability is, far and away, the most important thing to consider when choosing a font for your resume. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people completely screw up on this one.

If readability is your only concern, any basic serif or sans serif font will do the trick. Also extremely important, avoid those comic-looking childish fonts at all costs.

Some fonts were designed to look better on a screen, while others look better when printed out. Think about who is viewing your resume and how they are likely to view your resume. You should be able to use your own judgment to determine readability.

2. Resume font size

We’ve been so intrigued by font styles that we almost forgot to talk about the size! Generally, you will be fine using a font size somewhere in between size 10 to size 14.

However, it is very important to realize that some font styles run bigger and some run smaller. For that reason, it’s important to make a judgment on the font size AFTER you’ve already decided on a style.

Your goal is to maximize the ease of reading your resume without making the text look overly bloated. Of course, you’ll have to use your best judgment when deciding if it looks bloated. But, if you stick to fonts smaller than 14 points, you will be fine in nearly every scenario. One exception: your name. Your name is often the largest font size on your resume, with good reason–you want it to stand out and stick in your readers’ minds! This part of your resume can be about twice as big as the other section headings.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the font size effect on resume length. Obviously, the size of the font can dramatically change the length of your resume–use this to your advantage!

For example, say your resume is just a line or two over a single page or just a few lines away from filling a full page. Adjusting the font just one-tenth of a point can make the text fill out the rest of a page or prevent it from spilling over into the next one. These slight adjustments can work wonders in making your resume more aesthetically pleasing.

3. Purpose of a resume

The font changes the entire feeling of a resume. Remember the message you want to convey with your resume.  When you take a quick glance at it, does it convey the purpose you want it to?

Does it look like the resume of an old, seasoned veteran? Or, does it look like it is representing a young professional? A recent college grad?

We don’t mean to suggest your resume font is going to manipulate people into thinking you are something you are not. Just like a piece of art can induce certain feelings, so can a good resume. A great font selection will pop out immediately. It should give hiring managers and recruiters an idea of who you are and what your purpose was for writing the resume they see before them.

Compare these versions of the same resume:

Calibri font resume example

Times New Roman font resume example

The content is exactly the same, but the left example (Calibri font) is easier to read on a screen, while the right-hand resume sample looks more like a newspaper.

Expert Tip

Look at our library of 200+ professional resume examples for all industries. Each post also has an ATS-friendly resume template and a guide on how to write your own job-winning resume from our experts!

Fonts you should never use on a resume

We hope it goes without saying but absolutely DO NOT use Comic Sans or any similar “fun” font on your resume. It will make you stand out, but not in a good way. It’s so childish that it will convey to the employer that you’re out of touch with the professional world.

Just in case you’re not sure what font-type we’re talking about, here are a few examples:

Comic Sans

Impact

Wingdings (Wingdings)

Do not use these fonts, please!

Not for headings, not for symbols, and definitely not for your name. Keep it professional.

Just for comparison’s sake, here is the resume we used above with a Comic Sans font.

DO NOT USE COMIC SANS.

It looks childish and doesn’t fit on a single page anymore. The work experience is completely overridden by the unprofessional font choice. This will most likely get your resume tossed out of hand. Don’t use Comic Sans for your resume, cover letter, or any professional communication!

Summary

The font you choose for your resume is important. You want to strike the perfect balance of uniqueness, class, and professionalism. Keeping these things in mind when choosing a font can be the difference between a call-back and radio silence.

Remember that the “perfect” resume font is subjective. While you should certainly select a font that doesn’t distract from your message, having a well-written resume is more important. While drafting your resume, keep these factors in mind. You’ll be on your way to the next interview in no time!

To make sure the content and format of your resume are ready for online applications in 2021, check out our free resume review tool.

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Written by

Caitlin Proctor, Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW)

Caitlin joined the ZipJob team in 2019 as a professional resume writer and career advisor. She specializes in strategic advice for executives, career pivots, and remote workers. Read more resume advice from Caitlin on ZipJob’s blog.

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