The font you select for your resume can impact your employers perception of you.
Employers will look for something beyond your words, and having a well-selected font is one way you can express your professional presence.
If it's unreadable, it could be the first thing someone may notice and the reason why your resume gets skipped.
Choosing a font that is clean, crisp, and well-defined can show the reader that you have style, are professional, and have a personal touch.
If your resume is using a hard-to-read font, it tells the reader that you don’t care about presentation or looking unprofessional.
A font that is too cluttered, too big, or too small makes it difficult for the hiring manager to read your resume—and sends a message to them that you are disorganized, sloppy, or do not sweat the details.
While there is no perfect resume font, there are fonts that are better than others. It is important that you select a font that works for you and presents the best possible image for the type of resume you are creating.
What is an ATS-friendly font?
The ATS-friendliness of a resume is based on whether the ATS can correctly parse out the text on your resume.
Of course your resume’s content counts for much more than your font choice, but choosing a font that’s easy to read on any screen is a great way to make your resume more accessible to recruiters, hiring managers and ATS systems.
If you’re wondering what the difference is, it’s important to know that an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is the primary application that’s developed to track hiring processes for new candidates.
When you apply for a job online, chances are that the employer is using an ATS of some kind to accept and process all job applications.
To make an ATS-friendly resume, you need to make it easy for the computer to read.
This means making it easy for the computer to parse your text and pull out the information it needs from your resume without having to ask you for help.
Computer programs like an ATS can handle simple formatting like tabs and spaces, but they can be confused by larger and more complex changes to your text, like decorative texts. See the example below:
In the incorrect example above—when the computer wants to parse your text, it can miss the letters in a decorative font, making your content difficult to parse and possibly missed.
Choosing a font and size for your resume
It’s important to make sure that your font is clear and easy to read, both in print and on the screen.
What happens if you choose a resume font that’s not very clear?
Well, you’re going to run into problems when the hiring manager or recruiter can’t read your resume. If your resume looks like a jumbled mess, they won’t bother with it.
At best, you’ll get passed over for a more readable resume. At worst, you’ll get a rejection letter because the hiring manager or ATS won’t be able to make sense of your resume.
One of the most important aspects when choosing a font is how it looks. Your potential employer won’t be impressed by a resume that looks like it was typed by a teenager.
TIP: We also recommend trying to mix and match Heading & Body fonts like in the example below to help your resume stand out even more.
You can use our template editor to quickly change fonts for any resume template that we offer. We have a mix of professional fonts, commonly used ATS-friendly fonts, and even a selection of decorative Google Fonts for more creative industries and professions.
To change fonts, just open up any template in our resume builder and select fonts from the Heading Font and Body Font dropdown menu as seen in the example below:
When choosing a font size, make sure to keep it large enough to read.
At minimum, it should be 12pt. A font size no smaller than 10pt should be used on the name of the company and your contact information at the top of your resume.
This will help ensure it is easily readable and that the reader will be able to understand your content.
Deciding on spacing and margins
As far as spacing goes, the easiest way to decide how much spacing you should have is by following the 1-inch rule.
You should have to at least 1-inch of whitespace and margins across all sides of your resume.
If your resume has a lot of content, then you can try to decrease your margins by a quarter-of-an-inch at a time. Ideally never less than 0.5 inch margins.
We also suggest a good range of line spacing, this is the spacing in-between each of line of text in a paragraph. Somewhere between 7-8pt of line-spacing should be good. If your font size is bigger, you can increase the line-spacing between text relative to your font size.
That being said, you should also be aware of what is known as a generous line spacing. When we say generous, we mean to create a more readable resume that utilizes whitespace.
The exception to this is if you have experience, education, or awards that can’t be combined. In this case, the spacing needs to be generous so it doesn’t overlap and mess up the formatting.
Here are the Top 10 ATS-Friendly fonts
Times New Roman (serif)
Perhaps one of the most popular and classic fonts that gets used on resumes—and college essays. It's a default choice as a serif font in many applications and has been a solid go-to for many types of documents including resumes.
We'd recommend using Times New Roman when choosing a more professional style resume like our Wakefield template.
Times New Roman should be available as a font on most Windows & Mac computers.
Tahoma was created by the team at Microsoft and initially shipped with early releases of Windows 95. It has a similar feel to the font Verdana (below) and can often be a suitable substitute given it's more tighter character spacing.
Tahoma should be available as a font on most Windows & Mac computers.
Verdana, has similarities to Tahoma, and is another clean and crisp font designed by Microsoft. The main difference is Verdana's more generous character spacing (whereas Tahoma is more tighter). It feels professional, works great on screens and is very legible at smaller sizes, making it ideal for resumes that may contain a lot of body copy.
Verdana should be available as a font on most Windows & Mac computers.
Arial is everywhere. It has similarities to both Helvetica (below) and Verdana (above). You'll likely have seen or used Arial at some point in your career or even just browsing the web. Arial was also the default font for Microsoft Office applications, before being replaced by the introduction of Calibri in 2007.
Arial should be available as a font on most Windows & Mac computers.
Helvetica is one of the most enviable fonts of the modern era. The grotesque and Swiss style typeface is widely used and beloved amongst many designers. Using Helvetica will instantly make your resume feel more modern, easier to read and feel sophisticated all at the same time.
Helvetica is available as a font on most Mac computers. For Windows users, we'd recommend using Arial as a fallback or downloading Roboto from Google Fonts which can also be a suitable replacement.
As mentioned earlier, Calibri was introduced with Microsoft Office in 2007. It's commonly used amongst many as a replacement for more classic sans-serif typefaces such as Arial, Tahoma, and Verdana. It works for a variety of use-cases, and offers familiarity and flexibility to your resume. You can use Calibri as both heading and body copy.
Calibri is available as a font on most Windows computers. For Mac users, we'd recommend using Helvetica or Verdana as an alternative.
Georgia is a great classic serif font for resumes. Created by the same inventor as Verdana, Tahoma and Arial—Matthew Carter of Microsoft.
It is a serif font, which means that the characters are more fluid and the letters have little tails that serif fonts often have.
This works well for resume fonts because it is easier to read in small sizes, which you want in a resume. It is a good font for longer job descriptions because it can be easily read in the small space. It is still easy to read, but is not as distracting as other fonts.
This font is perfect for resumes and will help your resume stand out without being too flashy.
Georgia should be available as a font on most Windows & Mac computers.
Cambria is a beautiful serif font that is a bit more blockier than what we normally see. This makes the font ideal for body text and is readable at smaller sizes. The font itself is very sturdy and can stand on it's own very well.
We'd recommend using Cambria as an alternative to Times New Roman if you're looking to emphasize more parts of your work experience or resume in general.
Cambria should be available as a font on most Windows computers. If you don't have access, we'd recommend using Source Serif Pro from Google Fonts as a free alternative. It possesses similar characteristics, most prominently its blocky serif style.
Gill Sans (sans-serif)
Gill Sans has a rich history, mainly being introduced as one of the first prominent sans-serif fonts that gained wide popularity across parts of Europe in the early 20th century.
Gill Sans still remains one of the most popular and widely distributed typefaces as of today. It has a large x-height, a wide range of weights, and a classical appearance. It is often used to convey a sense of trustworthiness and prestige, and has been found in corporate branding, logos and signage.
Gills Sans should be available as a font on most Windows and Mac computers.
Garamond is a beautiful and classic font that represents old-style fonts extremely well. Use Garamond if you're applying to a more professional industry, and you want to stand out as someone who cares about the details which is what Garamond is primarily known for.
Garamond should be available as a font on most Windows and Mac computers.
Ed is a co-founder of Easy Resume. His background in scaling teams at tech startups over the last decade has given him extensive experience and knowledge around how to hire top talent and build successful teams. He enjoys mentoring, coaching, and helping others reach their career goals. When he's not writing about career-related advice, he's playing with his dog, Lilo, or going on long hikes in upstate New York.
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