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The font you choose for your resume should invite a potential employer to want to pick up your resume and look it over. There are numerous fonts for you to choose from, and that can make selecting a font for your resume just as challenging as writing it. To make things somewhat easier, keep in mind that your resume should be written and designed professionally to attract a potential employer's interest to call you for an interview.
Popular Resume Fonts
The most used fonts on resumes are Helvetica and Times New Roman because both are often the default fonts on computers and both are easy to read. Helvetica fonts, also known as Arial, are called san serif fonts. They are popular for resumes because the characters have straight, clean lines making them easy to read. Times New Roman is a serif font that simply means fonts such as this have "feet" or a curve at the ends.
Resume Headers & Subheads
Make your name large and bold on your resume. It can be a font size between 14 points and 16 points. This also depends on the font. Some names can be 24 points and not appear large.
As for the subheaders of your resume, make those no more than 3 point sizes larger than the body of your resume. The names and dates of the employers on your resume can be at least 1 point size larger than the body of the resume.
The body of your resume can be between 10 points and 12 points. Usually most resumes use 11 points. But 10 points is also a readable font size depending on the font you select.
Remember, font size has a lot to do with the font you choose. Some fonts at 12 points appear too large, while other fonts at 12 points appear too small. If you use a san serif, such as Century Gothic, a size-10 point will work well because of the font's width. If you choose a serif, such as Times New Roman, the font size should be at least 11 point. Serifs have thin and wide brush strokes at different points along the characters that give the appearance the characters are touching. This can diminish readability of your resume.
Other Resume Tidbits
Always print your resume to review it. Do this even if you're emailing it because the employer may want to print it. Just because the fonts look great on screen doesn't mean the fonts will look great when printed. The weight of the paper and printer are factors. If you're using quality paper a little heavier than 20 lbs. or that has texture, use an ink jet. If you try printing that paper on some laser printers, the ink will smear.
Avoid using graphics and underlining in your resume. If the employer uses scanning software, the software may not be able to read your resume and that may hurt your chances for an interview. Keep your resume design simple.
Payton Pritchard is a writer, graphic designer and adjunct instructor. She got her start in journalism in 1996 writing and designing newsletters and writing for newspaper before switching to radio news for eight years. Pritchard has a Bachelor of Arts and an Associate of Applied Science in journalism and graphic design from Truman State University and Sullivan College of Technology and Design, respectively.