01. Times New Roman
Surprised this one is on the list? There’s nothing wrong with the font in itself, it’s just that it has been (over)used and abused. Since everyone else is using it on their resumes, yours won’t stand out. Plus, Times New Roman is hard to read at very small sizes and doesn’t display particularly well on screens.
Like Gill Sans on our “Best” list, Futura was created in the 1920s. Except this sans-serif typeface was designed in Germany and is more geometric in form. Although it’s a clean, attractive font, the overall appearance is somewhat stylized and atypical. With quirks like unusually tall lowercase letters and a jarring contrast between sharp and round letter shapes, Futura leans more toward decorative and interesting than practical for text-heavy documents like resumes.
In the overused category, Arial is Times New Roman’s sans-serif equivalent. Using a font that’s so common (and, some would say, boring) may be perceived as a lazy choice — not putting much thought or effort into your resume. Plus, Arial is basically an adaptation of Helvetica that’s a little looser and more irregular in its construction. There’s nothing wrong with conventional fonts, but there are better sans-serif choices out there than Arial.
Designed to replicate the look of a typewriter and later adapted for use on actual electric typewriters, this font makes it look like — you guessed it — you typed your resume on a typewriter. Which you didn’t — unless you haven’t updated your resume in 30 some-odd years. Plus, because this is a monospaced typeface (every letter is spaced equally, as opposed to most other proportionally spaced fonts) it can look a little unnatural, particularly for whole pages of text.
05. Brush Script
Tempted to put your name at the top of your resume in a script that looks like handwriting to give it a little personality? Don’t do it! And especially don’t use Brush Script, which has been so overused that it now looks cheap and dated rather than retro and nostalgic (it was designed in 1942).
06. Comic Sans
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, you’ll know that using Comic Sans is considered the cardinal sin of font choices. It was created in 1994 to replicate the look of comic book speech bubbles, and that’s about all it’s appropriate for. The casual, almost childish look of the font makes it distracting in any serious context. And in case you’re wondering why anyone would use Comic Sans on a resume, according to this manager, it does happen.
07. Century Gothic
Century Gothic has a sleek, modern look, but it’s probably a little too irregular for resumes. Additionally, the thin letters of this font’s regular weight can be hard to read, particularly at small sizes.
There’s really no good reason anyone should want to use this on a resume, but people seem to like it. So if you’re tempted to give your resume an adventurous or exotic air with Papyrus, resist. This font is so cliché (probably second only to Comic Sans) that is has become something of a joke — Fast Co. Design puts it this way: “as everyone who has written a school project over the last decade will tell you, Papyrus is the font you use to spell out the word “Egypt.”
Want to make a bold, confident impression with your resume? You don’t need a bold, heavy font to do it. Impact is most likely intended for use in all caps for headlines, but because it includes lowercase letters, people are sure to use it for body copy, where it’s almost impossible to read.
10. Trajan Pro
Yes, Trajan Pro has a dignified, important feel, but it would be more appropriate etched into stone than typed on your resume. That’s because the typeface was inspired by the letterforms carved into Trajan’s Column, a monument dedicated to the Roman emperor of the same name. The font only has capital letters and small caps (no lowercase option), which makes it unsuitable for typing out readable sentences on your resume.
For resumes, a font size of 10 to 12 pt. (depending on the particular font, but no smaller than that) is standard. Larger sizes are acceptable for headings or subheadings. Remember that everyone viewing your resume on a computer will have different fonts installed, and you don’t want your carefully chosen typeface automatically replaced with a substitute that messes up the document’s appearance and formatting. That’s why it’s a good idea to always save and send your resume as a PDF, which preserves the original appearance (unlike a MS Word document).
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