HOW TO: Choose a Font for Your Resume — Infographic

Best Fonts for Resumes

by Donna Svei on February 27, 2013

I just came across a good explanation from UrbanFonts¬†on how to choose serif versus non serif fonts. And I thought, “Oh my, this is SO applicable to resumes.” I did. Really. Hence this blog post. Plus I love it when I think, “Oh my.” It makes me feel so ladylike.

If you’re wondering what a serif is, hold on, it’s explained in the infographic below.

Resumes tend to be presented in either Times New Roman (serif) or Arial (non serif) fonts — or a blend. One school of thought says that Times New Roman is an old fashioned font that makes you look outdated. That school thinks that Arial is a more contemporary font that makes you look up to date. Another school of thought says that Times New Roman is easier to read than Arial and that matters more than anything else.

UrbanFonts makes a pretty compelling argument for using a serif font like Times New Roman for hard copy documents and a sans serif font like Arial for documents that will be read online. It’s likely that your resume will be read online, thus it makes sense to go primarily with a sans serif font. I prefer Calibri, Gill Sans, or Helvetica to the over-used Arial. You can see comparisons of how each of these fonts renders in a resume here.

Check out this infographic for a quick primer on font choices:

Serif vs Sans: The Final Battle

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at or call me at (208) 721-0131.



Leave a Reply

16 Comments on "HOW TO: Choose a Font for Your Resume — Infographic"

Patty Thompson
1 yr 10 mos

Do you know what font and type style “50 Shades of Grey” is written in? Please advise if possible.
Thank you

Hi Patty, True Confession: Have not read it! Donna

JoAnn Braun
2 yrs 5 mos

To bad LinkedIn does not allow us to choose a font.

True JoAnn. They’re probably going for a brandable look for their product. Donna

2 yrs 6 mos

Thanks for the great article. I have shared this with the students in our Computer Fundamentals class. I love infographics. They are a great way to help visualize words.

Tonya Braden
Health Information Technology Instructor
TTC Memphis

Tonya, Thank you for making my day! Donna

2 yrs 6 mos

Are serif fonts more readable? Maybe not.

It turns out that the evidence isn’t quite there yet:

That being said, Donna, a question, please: with more and more resumes being electronically pre-screened, should the emphasis be more on content than on presentation? (With the understanding that both matter.)

Hi Victor,

Maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Here’s some research info on your question: Your Resume: What Matters Most to Recruiters?

Thank you,


Teddy Snyder
2 yrs 6 mos

Comic Sans walks into a bar. The bartender throws him out: We don’t serve your type around here.

Best. Blog. Comment. Ever. Donna

2 yrs 7 mos

Donna, this is a million dollar question isn’t it? The graphic really helps because the question itself is based on appearance.

I’m a fan of the serif font because I also think the sans looks too boxy and like a computer. The serif font is softer. That’s my two cents.

Hi Cindy, The trend really does seem to be towards san serif. Who knows, maybe it will swing back. I especially like the sans serif font Verdana, which is used on a lot of websites, but it’s just too big for one and two-page resumes. Donna

2 yrs 7 mos

Wow, graphic on font recommendation. I wanted to point out that I totally agree with the serif for print, san-serif for web. The legibility is so important in these two different mediums.

Also, I wanted to suggest a place where you can find quality type for use on resumes/web projects etc and that is the type community at – I found a lot of the fonts I ended up using on my resume there and after I joined I was really helped out and assisted with which typeface to use on my CV. I think the site is subscription only now, but it has been a lifesaver for me when needing to decide on and find great typography.

Thank you Ken. I love how blogging lets us build on ideas together. Donna

Dorothy Grandia
2 yrs 7 mos

Thank you for summarizing something I have been trying to communicate – sometimes successfully, sometimes not – for several years. In the dark ages, I helped finance my studies doing writing and production at newspapers. Now I am a career coach of the MBA programs at RSM/Erasmus University. Many recruiters have mentioned a preference for sans serif to reduce strain and increase legibility in electronic format resumes. Of those candidates who cannot be convinced NOT to use Times New Roman in electronic formats (an otherwise beautiful, easy-to-read font on paper), Microsoft Constantia at least tries to conquer the strain issue. By the way, how a font looks after ‘justification’ should also be considered if a candidate wants to justify (particularly in cover letters). Many fonts look downright ugly once justified….thanks again, Dory

Useful additional information. Thank you Dory. Donna

2 yrs 7 mos

Great post – fascinating to know the history and usage of those fonts. Love the infographic and it will definitely make me rethink my web font & hard copy font presence.
(The “oh my” comment cracked me up… though it reminded me of the MUCH overused phrase in 50 Shades of Grey.)

Note to self: MUST read that book. Thank you Karen. Donna

2 yrs 7 mos

Additional note: if you are writing software for technical users, either allow font changes or use a serif font (or a nice serif font like the one here). “The code is 1OIal0gq5S” in an standard serif font is remarkably unhelpful. I’ve had to write “one-cap o-cap i-a-lower L-zero-lower G-lower Q-five-cap s” type notes.


Previous post:

Next post: