Is Helvetica Really the Champion of Resume Fonts?
Font choice has become a hot topic these days in the resume-writing world with the publishing of the Bloomberg article naming Helvetica as the top font for professional looking resumes. You know it is highly relevant when it even ends up as a joke on The Tonight Show. With a plethora of options in Word and all the available fonts available for free around the Internet, knowing which one to choose to represent yourself and clearly articulate the content of your resume can be overwhelming.
Articles like Bloomberg’s stimulate discussion and brings attention to a style factor most job seekers overlook or don’t realize mattered. This can create another level of stress to the painstaking resume process. Especially since the debate is never 100% definitive! Even if an article declares one font is the winner, someone else will say that they hate it or don't want to see it on a resume (clearly seen by the articles that popped up right after the recent declaration).
Helvetica is a solid font to use for your resume but can also be thought of as unimaginative and slightly boring. If readability were the only issue it would be great. One must take into account that it is now on people's radar and it is probably being used to write resumes everywhere this very minute. Will it still be the best for you? Maybe, maybe not.
A readable font in a legible size is probably something you think is a basic consideration, that people wouldn’t need guidance on this, but that would be a mistake. I read resumes every day that do not follow any sort of legibility or consistency and utilize fonts you would not even put on a child's birthday announcement. Comic Sans anyone? So it is with pleasure I provide some basic font and legibility guidance:
Tip 1: Consistency. No matter what font you choose, make sure you are using it consistently throughout the entire document. Your resume should include no more than two fonts, MAX! Headings can be in one font and the body in another. You can certainly make the distinction with just one font by changing size or capitalization. Just make sure you decide on a style and stick with it. This makes the resume easier to read/follow and is much more visually appealing.
Tip 2: Too much Bolding draws attention to nothing. Italics are difficult to read but have their value, use them sparingly.
Tip 3: The only font I will suggest against is Times New Roman. Does that mean there aren't worse choices out there? Of course not! But, most people hate Times New Roman and therefore downgrade your resume if that's what you used. (Especially in a creative field). It's a preference thing, but if you think about how many term papers you wrote where you had to format in Times New Roman, size 12, double-spaced, you probably don't want to see anymore either.
For recommendations on what font might work for you, check out the Bloomberg article. It gives a thorough perspective on what to use and why, which I think you will find beneficial.
We love to hear what fonts you're using on your resume. Were they a success (or failure)? Leave a comment below, it may help someone else!