The golden rule of building a resume is always to focus on simplicity and clarity. In other words, you should style your resume in such a way that the recruiter can easily and effectively find the information to determine whether or not you are qualified for the job. We already have several articles explaining generally how your resume should look and what sorts of materials are required when you print it out, but this time we'll discuss the tiniest element of a successful resume: typography, or the font that you choose to use.
How to Apply Fonts Correctly
As already mentioned, it’s most important that your resume is legible and in that regard you should choose a typography that is easy to read to minimize the effort needed for the reader to get the relevant information. But more than that, the chosen font can convey a subconscious message to the reader about your style, personality and professionalism – not to mention, a font that differs from the common trio of Times New Roman (from here on ‘TNR’), Calibri and Arial can indeed help you stand out from the rest, even if your resume is a simpler one. Remember, though, that there is nothing wrong with using these three fonts, just make sure you toy with the overall appearance of the resume to make it outstanding.
If you have a typeface you like, start writing your resume with it to see how it looks when you apply different emphasizing techniques, such as bolding, italicizing, underlining, changing the font's size, using various margins and so on. If the font turns out to be unappealing after applying any of these formatting options, choose another typeface and repeat this process until you find a font that remains legible regardless of what you do to your resume. To be 100% sure, try printing your resume and checking it on a phone or tablet, then make subtle changes to see whether you can read your CV despite the inferior conditions. If the typeface passes the test, you have a winner.
The Best Fonts
Believe it or not, some recruiters immediately trash any resumes that were written using TNR. There is nothing wrong with it, but this typeface is so overused that employers get tired of it – especially after reading hundreds of CVs using the same font. Therefore, you can try Arial or Calibri because they are less popular, but you can also go with less convenient but visually more appealing fonts such as Cambria, Garamond, Didot, Georgia, Helvetica, Trebuchet MS and so on. Basically pick anything that is Serif or Sans-Serif and you will be okay.
The Plagues of Resumes
Although they look stylish, you should avoid any fonts that resemble handwriting (i.e. Brush Script or Papyrus) or the look of something created with a typewriter, like Courier. You should also avoid fonts that either look too bold even when they are not (since they often look like they are smudged if you apply the wrong size) or they use very thin lines that could make the text invisible and impossible to read. However, even if you accidentally use any of the above typefaces, there is one that is considered a sin by literally everybody and shall be avoided under all circumstances: Comic Sans.
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