The Nitty-Gritty of Resume Font, Size and Resume Formats

The Nitty-Gritty of Resume Font, Size and Resume Formats


It’s always good to stand out and make an impression.
When entering the workforce, you should strive to be creative, unique and let your individual skills shine. However, one area where you don’t want to get too artistic is on your resume. Resumes actually do need to follow a rather standard resume format and use an appropriate font. Let the content of your resume stand out, not the resume formats.

While most people know not to use scented paper, graphics and colours, here are a few more additional tips on how to write a resume:

Resume Font

The most common resume font to use Times New Roman, black, 12 point font. This resume font conveys the information you are trying to get across in a clear and accessible way. Times New Roman is called a serif font, as the letters contain “tails” which you can see on the ‘t’, ‘n’ and ‘r’. However, some do not like the letter- spacing or word-spacing of Times New Roman. Other serif fonts to consider that are easy to read and appropriate as a resume font include Bell MT, Garamond, Georgia and Goudy Old Style. Sans serif fonts do not have the “tails” on the letters and look a bit more block-like. Popular serif fonts include Arial, Century Gothic, Lucida Sans and Tahoma. Any of these fonts would be reasonable for a resume as long as you only use one font. Using two fonts looks unintentional and unprofessional. To make your headings and name stand out while using only one font, you can bold, italicize, capitalize or underline and increase the size of the font to 14-16 point. Just be sure that all of your headings are consistent.

Resume Formats

Resume Formats are a bit more debatable than resume font or size. But, obviously you want the most important information first. List your full name, address and contact information at the top of the page. You should center the information and be sure to bold and capitalize your name. After that, you should state your value proposition where your objective used to be. To prevent your resume formats from looking like a standard form you submit to every job, state why your skills and experience will make you the best candidate for this specific job and mention the company and job title. Clearly state your schooling from the most recent institution you’ve attended, with all dates, locations and certification received including any accomplishments such as grades and programs participated in. However, if education is not the strongest component of your resume, go ahead and list your experience first, starting with your most current job and all your responsibilities. After bolding and capitalizing your place of work, location and job title, you can use bullets to categorize the responsibilities you held at your job. Try and only include the most relevant information. After education and experience, you can list your professional skills and any relevant awards or certifications. Many agree that your resume formats should be contained to one page, although two pages are acceptable if you have a lot of relevant experience you want to highlight and it remains easy to read.

Overall, just make sure your resume format has a clean and functional design. Leave enough white space so that your resume doesn’t look crowded, be positively certain there are no typos or errors and if you are sending your resume as an email attachment, be sure to send it as a PDF, so you don’t lose any of your original resume formatting or spacing.

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Comments (4)

  • Emil Reply

    Wow – what an eye opener. I always played around with the fonts, but this is a great fundamental for my resume writing style. Great and simple and straight forward.

    thanks for this info. Emil

    February 5, 2010 at 1:09 am
  • Felicia Reply

    The topic is very controversial! Doing a quick search of websites after googling “resume fonts” brings up a wide range of opinions. Are there any fonts you absolutely hate? Or insist upon?

    February 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm
  • the toronto sun Reply

    Great job on the blog, it looks great. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to check back weekly

    December 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm
  • Techrod Reply

    Although in general I agree with not mixing fonts, I believe there is one exception. It is fairly common practice in marketing, sales and other documents to use a sans serif font for headings followed by a serif font for the text. The human eye imo has become unaccustomed to seeing a serifed font in headlines – it just looks odd to a lot of people because they so rarely see it. Many collateral designers use this approach and it is recommended by many design text books.

    If you don’t want to stay sans serif all the way through your CV (whilst it works on screen, it is less effective when a CV is printed, particularly for more experienced professionals, who may have a lot of jobs/accomplishments to demonstrate), I would recommend making sure that your sans serif headline font goes with your serifed text. Two combos I use are Tahoma and Times New Roman and Calibri with Garamond or Times New Roman.

    If you want to know more about designing marketing docs, I recommend taking a look at the book: “Basics of Design, Layout and Typography for Beginners” by Lisa Graham – I am completely unconnected with the author.

    January 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm

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