Earlier this week, Bloomberg Business published an article on choosing the right typeface for your resume. It ran with the subhead, “Using Times New Roman is the typeface equivalent of wearing sweatpants to an interview.”
Bzzzt. Wrong. Try again.
Times New Roman is not sweatpants at a job interview—not even close. Sweatpants at a job interview are inappropriate, sloppy, and out of place. Never, ever called for.
Fortunately, the experts consulted for the piece weren’t quite as melodramatic as the subhead implied.
Brian Hoff, creative director of Brian Hoff Design, was quoted as saying that choosing Times New Roman for your resume is “like putting on sweatpants.”
Now, Times New Roman can be accurately compared to many things. But not to sweatpants. (Not even to the high-end “athleisure” kind.)
What Times New Roman is: perfectly functional, but not flashy. Times New Roman is a Honda Civic. A glass of chardonnay. A middle relief pitcher. Beige.
In other words: perfectly serviceable and unobtrusive.
Generic, commonplace, familiar, run-of-the-mill—yes, any of these could describe Times New Roman. When it comes to resume fonts, though, that’s not necessarily a drawback.
In fact, Times New Roman’s ubiquitousness means that it’ll be recognized by every applicant tracking system (ATS) out there. The same can’t be said for the nonstandard typefaces recommended in the Bloomberg piece.
And, should you be among the minority whose resume gets past an ATS and reviewed by an actual human, Times New Roman’s ubiquitousness means it won’t distract that person from the actual content of your resume.
Obviously, this is a good thing.
Times New Roman will get the job done without stealing the show. Its legibility and familiarity make it easy to take in at a glance. And, really, a glance is all you have: An eye-tracking study of recruiters showed that a resume gets looked at for an average of only 6 seconds before a decision is made.
Generally, if something is common, it’s common for a reason: It works.
Times New Roman may be a conventional choice for a resume typeface, but that doesn’t make it a bad one.
When choosing a typeface for your resume, common sense—not clickbait—should prevail.