Font selection for your resume can make a difference in the search for your next job. It should direct the reader across the page smoothly while showcasing the information you want to convey. By following these guidelines, you will avoid reader frustration that could potentially sabotage your efforts.
A vital concept to embrace is restraint. In order to make an impression and stand out from the crowd, you may be tempted to use a loud, decorative font. Unfortunately, the only impression these fonts will make is an unprofessional one.
Stick to simple serif or sans serif fonts. Serif fonts have small flourishes and the end of the characters and convey a more formal and refined look. Examples include Times New Roman, Garamond, Palatino and Bookman. Sans serif fonts do not possess the flourishes of their counterpart and are noted for their clean, contemporary look. Examples of these fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma and Futura.
Do some research on your potential employer to find out a bit about their corporate culture. While this is also a good idea when preparing the content of your resume, it can also assist in selecting an appropriate font. Find out if the organization is more traditional or progressive in their approach, and choose a font accordingly.
Confine your selection to two fonts maximum. This will allow your resume to maintain a sense of consistency, making for a better reading experience. One font could be used for headings, while the other is used for body text. However, a visual hierarchy can be maintained with just one font. Changes in size and style can differentiate your headings from your body text.
Boldface and italics should be used sparingly. In fact the use of only one such font styling in your body text is recommended. By using only one of these styles to highlight important information, you maintain the impact of its use. Using too much font styling dilutes the impression that it makes.
The size of your fonts should make your text readable without being too garish. Generally speaking, keep your font size between 10-12 points. The readability of fonts at different sizes will vary, so experiment to discover which size suits your needs.
Your resume may be scanned by a potential employer for entry into a database. This process uses Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, to translate a printed page into electronic data. Making your resume scannable will avoid any errors if your information is entered into a computer in this manner. Italics can be a problem for older scanning software. OCR software has problems when any two characters touch each other, so make sure your font does not do so.
Choosing a common font will help you avoid formatting glitches. Many employers request a resume in Microsoft Word format. If the font you used when you created your resume is not installed on the reader’s computer, it will default to another font. This can play havoc with spacing and other formatting issues. Fonts such as Arial, Courier New, Georgia, Palatino, Tahoma, Times New Roman, and Veranda are common among varying computers and operating systems.
A font for your resume is more than decoration. It can be a vital tool in clearly presenting your qualifications to an employer. Choose wisely to make the best impression.