As we have written before in our rules for writing the perfect resume, a resume is a teaser for your professional life. And like any good highlights reel, form matters almost as much as substance. When employers are flooded with resumes and only have a few minutes or less to read a resume, visual cues matter in setting up the right first impression.
Yes and no. As more and more large companies are using automated keyword matching for the first sift of a resume, algorithms are less moved by visual cues. Moreover, candidates are getting better at finding templates and standardizing the format of their resumes. But even after the computer sort, the resumes still spend time with a recruiter or a hiring manager, and visual cues do matter.
Bloomberg has an interesting article out on the best and worst fonts to use on your resume. Their consensus favorite — Helvetica. Its a good article and worth a read. We largely agree with it although their estimation of Times New Roman is a tad over-dramatic
Using Times New Roman is the typeface equivalent of wearing sweatpants to an interview
We agree that Helvetica is a great choice. We think Times New Roman works for some resume formats, especially ones with density. With a Times New Roman font, you need to be careful to only use serif fonts consistently across the resume. The biggest ding on Times New Roman is just how common it has become.
We actually disagree with the choice of Arial as a font. Arial is pervasive and probably the most popular sans-serif fonts, but it sometimes appears with inconsistent spacing, which can look disorganized.
The absolute NO NO fonts? Comic Sans (no, its not cute and fun), and Courier.
Make sure to test your font on the exact format that the resume will be viewed under. So even if you draft your resume in MS Word, make sure you like how it looks in PDF if thats the format you will send it in, or if the employers website automatically converts resumes to pdf.
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