serif sans serif font resume

How to Choose a Font for Your Resume — Infographic

I just came across a good explanation of how to choose a serif or sans serif font for your resume. This matters in a world full of font types and font choices.

Serif or Sans Serif Font for Your Resume?

And I thought, “Oh my, this is SO applicable to job search, resumes, and cover letters.” I did. Really. Hence this blog post.

Why was I excited? Because people battle over this serif vs. sans serif question. Plus, I love it when I think, “Oh my.”

Serif vs. Sans Serif Fonts

If you’re wondering what a serif is, check out this infographic for a quick primer on serif and sans serif fonts:

Serif vs Sans: The Final Battle

By mostash. From Visually.

Fonts for Resumes

All done with the infographic? Good, now you should understand the distinction between serif and sans serif fonts.

Back when people printed and mailed or faxed resumes (yes, that happened), most people used Times New Roman, a serif font.

Now job seekers email their resumes and upload them to applicant tracking systems. Thus, recruiters and hiring managers read resumes on computer and mobile screens, not paper. So it’s critically important to choose an easy-to-read font that’s screen-friendly.

Use Fonts with Serifs for On-Screen Text

As I mentioned above, there’s a massive argument over serif versus sans serif fonts for resumes.

I like the infographic because it distinguishes between text in printed works and text read online — or on screens — which is where most people read resumes.

Google, a company with a vast, expert user experience team, picked a sans serif font for its logo. Google’s logo is mostly seen on screens. That’s all I need to know. It’s sans serif typefaces for the resumes I write!

Use Calibri Font for Resumes

In particular, I like Calibri, a sans serif font, for resumes.

While there are many choices, I’ve haven’t found another sans serif font that offers better readability and scale for a 700 to 800-word, two-page resume than Calibri does. Thus, it’s my favorite, default font choice.

I’ve tested it in 10, 11, and 12 points. My favorite resume font size for resume body text is 11-point. I use 10-point to describe companies and 15-point for people’s names. Most people easily read those sizes.

I would, of course, love to hear about your resume font preferences in the comments below. 

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Your Resume & The Psychology of Fonts — Infographic

Updated June 2019

© 2013 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 17

  1. Great find! I said “Oh my!” but I’m resisting the temptation to feel ladylike.

    Hi Tom, LOL. Followed by ROFL. Followed by, “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.” Where are these ladylike utterances coming from? Donna

  2. Thank you for a light but richly informative post! Like you, I love the fonts with serifs, but have never had the information to argue a case one way or another. A previous employer used Arial almost exclusively, which I found to be unlovely and hard to read. Now I understand our differences better (I do most of my reading on printed documents, not the screen — they wrote most of their copy for the web or for children).

    Hi Annie, Thank you for letting me know that you liked this post and for talking more about fonts (they’re so cool!). I really appreciate your feedback. Donna

  3. I have always been a fan of fronts, since working for my high school newspaper. As the years have gone by it is interesting to see the changes, all the options and the new fonts that came be downloaded quickly. I agree the message is more important than the font. Sometimes the font will enhance the message. Although I would like to add size matters. Ever seen a document that is so crammed with information that the font is reduced to micro levels. Or maybe I just need glasses. Great article, I truly enjoyed it.

    Hi Mary Lee, We must be twins separated at birth. I used to hang out in the print shop at my high school. I remember using some kind of machine to set up a creative writing magazine that was my senior project. Then I remember being able to buy packages of fonts to use with MS Word. I have posts on just the topics you mention about size and white space. Click on “Resumes” in the Tag Cloud in the right-hand column if you want and check out some of my other posts. Thank you for your comments. Donna

  4. Thank you for the information. Some people don’t realize the difference between fonts and their effect on the reader. Your article was informative and helpful. Thanks again.

    My pleasure Cheryl — and thank you for being kind enough to let me this post was helpful to you. Donna

  5. I loved this post. It was informative and offered a great visual explanation which increased my understanding. I have been wondering about fonts for quite awhile. I work with younger students and we only use the sans-serif fonts. I find myself gravitating to those fonts for myself now. I also participate on many teacher interview committees where we often have 60-100 resumes sent for each opening. All of these are pre-screened on line. While i am looking carefully at content, I am clearly aware that some resumes are more appealing to my eye, both in font type and font size, as well as organization.

    Hi Marcy, It’s fun to be meeting more people who like fonts. Thank you, Donna

  6. Really liked your post, quite sad actually that so few fonts are available for webdesigners by default Serif ou Sans…

    Thank you Gary. Donna

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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 http: // – 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

  11. 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

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

    Best. Blog. Comment. Ever. Donna

  13. Are serif fonts more readable? Maybe not.

    It turns out that the evidence isn’t quite there yet: asserttrue.blogspot [dot] com/2013/01/the-serif-readability-myth.html

    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,

    Yes, I go with a flat resume design and focus on quality content.

    Thank you,


  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

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