A resume is the first impression a potential employer will ever get of you. It should outline your best achievements and qualities, and somehow express the essence of YOU in the only ways it can: language, layout and font. Three typography experts weigh in on which fonts make a curriculum vitae look best, and which you should just send straight to the “recycle bin.”
This font is the most beloved of the modern design community. It’s “professional, lighthearted, honest,” says Brian Hoff, creative director of Brian Hoff Design. “Helvetica is safe. Maybe that’s why it’s more business-y.” One of Helvetica’s qualities is that it is a “sans-serif” font, meaning that it’s letters don’t have the small “feet” the others do. Hey, if it’s good enough for the New York Subway system, it’s good enough for you. Applying for a design job? Use it.
If you’re a baller, you could purchase the font Proxima Nova, a cousin of Helvetica that feels a bit more relaxed and less stiff. A design aficionado might realize and be impressed by your pricey individuality.
This font is perfect if you need to fit a lot of information into a one-page resume, and still keep things legible. It’s “easy for the eye to follow,” says Matt Luckhurst, the creative director at Collins, a San Francisco-based brand consultancy firm. “Garamond has all these quirks in it, so what that does is allow the eye to see where it should go.”
Times New Roman
It seems that there are endless opposing opinions on this classic font. While for many, it seems staid and boring, knowledgeable people realize that it’s only because it has been adopted by many systems. Generally, avoid using TNR if only because it sends a message of minimum effort and creativity. A good alternative is “Didot,” especially for a fashion or creative job (it’s a bit elongated and feminine).
No. Zapfino and any similar font is simply too flowery for a professional document. Save this one for your wedding invitation. “You don’t have a typewriter, so don’t try to pretend that you have a typewriter,” says Luckhurst.
It should go without saying that the most maligned of fonts simply has no place anywhere on a resume or any other business document, “unless you are applying to clown college,” says Hoff.
These pictograms have invaded the modern world of communications, mostly in the realm text messaging. Do they have any place in the world of resumes? Right now, maybe not. You might want to leave it for your children’s generation to make emojis a part of the resume landscape.