Does Font Matter? The Deep Dive into Resume Typography


When constructing a resume, elements like your professional experience, skills, and qualifications are undoubtedly critical. However, there’s another component that plays an equally vital, albeit often overlooked is typography. The question arises, does font really matter? Let’s dive deep into the world of typography and its role in making a resume stand out.

resume fonts

The Psychology Behind Fonts

Every font has a personality. While this might sound far-fetched, research in typography and design highlights the subconscious perceptions we develop based on font choice. For instance:

  1. Serif Fonts like Times New Roman or Georgia often convey tradition, respect, reliability, and authority.
  2. Sans-serif Fonts such as Arial or Helvetica are perceived as modern, clean, and progressive.
  3. Script Fonts give off an elegant, creative, and personal vibe, though they can be challenging to read and are typically inappropriate for a professional resume.

Understanding these underlying perceptions can be instrumental in conveying the right image to potential employers.

Why Font Matters

  1. Readability: First and foremost, the chosen font should be legible. Given that a recruiter might spend only a few seconds initially scanning your resume, readability is paramount.
  2. Professionalism: Your font choice sets the tone. Some fonts might come off as too casual or playful, potentially undermining your professional image.
  3. Branding: A well-chosen font can add a unique touch to your resume, contributing to your personal branding efforts.
  4. Consistency: Employing different fonts or styles haphazardly can lead to a disjointed look. Maintaining consistency in font choice across the resume ensures a cohesive look.

Deep Dive into Successful Resume Fonts

  1. Arial: This sans-serif font is modern and exceptionally readable. Its neutrality makes it versatile, suitable for various sectors from corporate to creative.
  2. Calibri: As Microsoft Word’s default font, Calibri is familiar to many eyes. It offers a blend of professionalism with a touch of modernity.
  3. Times New Roman: A classic choice that has stood the test of time. While it can appear traditional, it’s universally accepted and highly readable.
  4. Helvetica: Popular amongst design professionals, this sans-serif font exudes modernity and elegance. When used correctly, it can make a resume look sophisticated.
  5. Georgia: A serif font that blends tradition with modernity. With its high readability, Georgia can be an excellent choice for those looking to stand out without appearing too avant-garde.
  6. Lato: A newer addition to the font family, Lato balances professionalism with design flair. Its clean lines and variety of weights make it adaptable to diverse roles.

Unpacking Fonts to Avoid

  1. Comic Sans: Its informality and childlike appearance can detract from your professional image.
  2. Papyrus: While decorative, its overuse in various unrelated domains (from restaurant menus to movie posters) has made it a less-than-ideal choice for resumes.
  3. Courier New: Its typewriter aesthetic can render your resume outdated in industries that value modernity.

The Subtleties of Font Size and Weight

Beyond font choice, the size and weight of your font play pivotal roles. As a rule of thumb:

  • Main headers (like ‘Work Experience’ or ‘Education’) can range between 14 to 16 points.
  • Sub-headers (job titles, for example) can be between 12 to 14 points.
  • Main content should ideally be 11 or 12 points.

Using bold or italicized text can emphasize particular sections, but they should be used sparingly to avoid overwhelming the reader.

Matching Fonts with Industry Norms

The font should resonate with the industry you’re targeting:

  • Corporate roles (finance, law, etc.) often prefer the classics like Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Creative roles (design, arts, etc.) might appreciate fonts like Helvetica or Lato that reflect a sense of design savvy.


Typography, while subtle, wields immense power in shaping perceptions. In the professional world, where first impressions count, the right font choice can be the difference between your resume being overlooked or spotlighted. By understanding the nuances of typography and the inherent psychology behind font choices, you can craft a resume that’s not only informative but also visually and psychologically impactful.

Get started on to prepare your professional resume. Also read Differentiate Yourself Through Your Cover Letter: The Ultimate Guide

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