The Impact of Font Choice on a Resume

In today’s tough job market, job seekers will pursue just about any route to land the perfect position just as employers will use any method within their means to find the perfect candidate. When it comes to the resume or CV, most applicants know how to construct an impressive document that adequately reflects their goals, accomplishments and characteristics.

But in an age of digital onboarding and online submissions, candidates may forget that one of the most important aspects of the CV is its readability. In other words, the font or typeface used on a CV may actually affect that person’s likelihood of getting a callback. The following offers an overview of the most effective fonts for impressing hiring managers.

Sans-Serif vs. Serif

What’s the difference between a serif font and a sans-serif font? As can be inferred by its name, a sans serif font lacks the serif feature of traditional fonts. Typefaces such as Times New Roman, Georgia and Baskerville Old Face look more formal thanks to the curled edges and rounded lettering.

These stylistic embellishments are what make a serif font look distinguished. Sans-serif fonts lack these details and are more straightforward. Open Sans, Arial, Verdana and the Microsoft Word standard font Calibri exemplify sans-serif typeface. Both styles offer benefits to job seekers because different employers interpret font choice differently.

Virtual Readability

Fonts matter more now than they did in previous generations because most hiring managers review resumes and CVs on computers or straight from online submission forms. Candidates should keep this in mind when choosing a font. Times New Roman was once the standard typeface for formal documents as well as newsprint, journals, academic papers and job resumes.

In recent years, fonts like Arial and Calibri have superseded Times New Roman thanks to the former fonts’ clarity. Arial is much easier to read on a screen whether the screen is a large desktop computer or a tablet. Both Times New Roman and Arial would be acceptable choices, but the latter offers better virtual readability.

Personal Characteristics

Readability isn’t the only consideration when choosing a CV font. Over the past decade, more research has been conducted behind the psychology of consumer choice when it comes to colors and fonts used in advertising. As it turns out, font choice can reveal more about a person’s character than do the words on a resume.

Stronger and more assertive fonts like Verdana indicate a sharp mind and dependable nature while softer fonts such as Trebuchet MS indicate responsibility with a side of originality.

Fonts to Avoid

Creative or nontraditional jobs may demand fonts with more spunk such as Impact or Lucida Handwriting, and many websites exist to offer graphic designers even more options than a standard font back provided by word processing software. However, there are also fonts that should always be avoided when it comes to a professional CV.

One of the best examples is Comic Sans. This fun font might look festive on a college flyer, but most people dismiss text written in Comic Sans as silly or frivolous. In fact, a recent study found that participants were less likely to believe the information typed in Comic Sans even when it mirrored information typed in a more respectable font like Times New Roman.

Job seekers should steer clear of frivolous fonts to avoid sending the wrong message. In doubt, just go for Open Sans.

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