Choosing a font that’s easy to read on any screen is a great way to make your resume more accessible to recruiters and hiring managers. Of course, the content counts for much more than your font choice, but this is still something you should think about when writing your resume.
So, what is the best font to use for a resume?
- Times New Roman
Below, we’ll dive in deeper with why these 10 fonts are safe choices for your resume and friendly to applicant tracking systems.
Let’s get started!
10 Modern, ATS-Friendly Resume Fonts
An important reminder: keep it simple. As a general rule, recruiters don’t care which fonts you use, as long as your resume is easy to read on a screen.
When writing your resume, stay away from script fonts or any other fonts that recruiters may perceive as unprofessional. Focus on your resume’s content—on what makes you a standout candidate—and add a last layer of polish with a serif or sans serif font (or a combination of the two). Here are our top picks.
Garamond is a group of old-style serif fonts often used in print publishing. It’s a French Renaissance font, so not technically “modern” but it does have many contemporary digital interpretations, such as Adobe Garamond (seen below). It is an elegant, regal, and easy-to-read typeface. A great resume font for the wordsmiths out there.
Calibri became a go-to font with the rise of Microsoft Office. It was released to the public in 2007 and quickly became the most common replacement for Times New Roman. This font is incredibly familiar and a great font to use when you want a recruiter’s eyes to pass right over design and get to the content.
Cambria was commissioned by Microsoft in 2004 and included with Windows and Office. It is a blockier serif font designed to read well on screen. Full stops are square rather than circular. Cambria, while easy to read on-screen and ATS compatible, may not be available if a recruiter is using a Mac. In these cases, the font may be replaced with a metric-compatible typeface such as Google Font’s Caladea.
The Georgia font was made for the internet. In the nineties, webmasters needed a typeface that worked on all screens, at all resolutions. Georgia was designed for these needs and continues to be one of the most readable fonts. This makes it a great font for your resume. It’s used widely online and at prestigious publications like The New York Times.
Helvetica is so popular that on its 50th anniversary, a documentary film was released chronicling the font’s use in modern design. It has a reputation for representing corporate dominance, making it a great choice for corporate candidates.
6. Times New Roman
No doubt you’ve used TNR at some point in your academic or professional career. Many professors and editors require essays and submissions to be typed in this popular font. It’s a great resume font because it is both familiar and elegant. Some may claim Times New Roman is outdated, but it remains the most popular and commonly used font.
Arial is one of the most frequently encountered fonts on the web. It’s another font that was adopted by Microsoft and introduced as computers became more commonplace. Chances are you are using Arial font at some point in your day. Like TNR, this font is a safe and classic way to go.
Palatino is an elegant serif font used widely across the world. It works as a great alternative to Times New Roman for those who have grown tired of the more generic font.
Tahoma was first released with Windows 95 and has become common in the last 25 years. It has a technical feel to it and is a great option for engineers. Tahoma is often used as a substitute for Arial and Verdana.
Verdana is another Microsoft commissioned font designed for screens. Its main purpose was to be legible on small screens at small resolutions. That makes it a safe font for resumes.
Resume Font Size, Italics, and Bolding
Another resume formatting choice to consider is the size of the typeface you choose.
The body of your resume, including headers, should generally be 10 to 12 points, no matter what typeface you’re using.
Your name at the top of the resume can be a bit larger — 16 or 18 points depending on how much space you have to play with.
A lot of job seekers try to squeeze in more information on their resumes by using a small font size. Remember that when it comes to fonts, the main objective is readability. If a recruiter has to squint to see your text, they may not make the effort to take a close look. Make it easy for them.
Italics and Bolding on Your Resume
Don’t overuse emphasis on your resume. It’s fine to bold a section header such as Summary or Education and also italicize past roles you’ve held, but if you overuse emphasis, it starts to lose meaning. If everything is emphasized, then nothing is emphasized.
Stick to bold and italics for emphasis on your resume. Other methods might not scan or convert well through an ATS or make your resume look busy and crowded, decreasing the chances a recruiter or hiring manager will want to read it.
Also avoid underlining, since in the digital era underlines are usually associated with web links. On top of this, some typefaces don’t play well with underlines, meaning lowercase letters like g, j, or q might not scan or convert correctly within an ATS.
Find Out if Your Resume Font and Formatting are ATS-Ready
Scan your resume with the Jobscan resume checker below. You’ll receive a report with optimization tips for any job.
Once you’ve got your resume curated for the specific role you’re applying for, it’ll be much easier to fit your text in at the optimal resume font size.
For even more help, take a look at our free resume templates.
Other Resume Font and Formatting Dos and Don’ts
Don’t use more than two fonts on your resume
Be sparing with the use of a secondary font. A good use of two fonts would be a serif typeface (e.g., Garamond) for your name, then a sans serif (e.g., Helvetica) typeface for the body of the resume. Using more than two fonts starts to make your resume look aimless, or even worse, like a ransom note!
Don’t try to use line spacing adjustments to get more space
This will also make your resume look crowded and be difficult to read by ATS robots and recruiters. You can play with margins, but be careful not to overcrowd the page.
Don’t bother with color for a digital resume
It just isn’t worth the effort. Certain colors or shades sometimes appear as invisible to an ATS and others can be challenging for hiring managers or recruiters to read. Save graphics, colors, and headshots for your CV or in-depth resume that you take with you to an interview.
Do get fresh eyes to look over your resume
A good time for this is after you’ve redone your typeface, font, and formatting. A friend or family member looking over your resume can give you feedback about its readability and appearance. They can also help point out any typos or problems you might have missed – it’s easy to overlook errors when you’ve been looking at the same document for ages!
Beat the ATS Robots, Reach the Humans
Simple details like typeface, font size, and where to bold your resume might initially seem like they aren’t worth focusing on. But today ATS robots scan through hundreds of resumes, recruiters only spend seconds on a flood of applications, and hiring managers need to choose between highly competitive candidates.
Correct typography and formatting put you a step above other candidates and give you a much better chance to get your resume past an ATS and into the hands of a real person. Why not take any advantage you can get?