When to use bold font on your resume

How to Use Bold Font on Your Resume

Beyond choosing a font for your resume, you have to decide when to use the regular and bold versions of a font. This post shares a resume heat map that shows you exactly where to go bold.

The Resume Heat Map, Eye-Tracking Study

Because bold font attracts your readers’ eyes, use it to guide them to the information they want to see. Create a visual hierarchy for your readers to follow.

Check out the following resume heat map video to see how readers scan resumes.

The heat map comes from a study that tracked recruiters’ eye movements while they read resumes. It shows you what they focused on and ignored during their first looks. That’s valuable information!

Where to Use Bold Font on Your Resume

Now that you know what your audience wants, use bold font on the following elements of your resume:

  1. Your name
  2. Section headings
  3. Job titles
  4. Employment dates
  5. Employer names
  6. Employer locations
  7. Your name on second-page headers

If you want to see how easy this makes your resume to scan, check out these executive resumes.

Where NOT to Use Bold Font on Your Resume

Candidates often “go bold” inside the narrative descriptions of their jobs and accomplishments.

That’s a worst practice. It disrupts the visual hierarchy your readers want to use to navigate your resume.

It jerks their attention around the page, creating a miserable experience. Plus, it subtly infers that nothing else on the page matters, thus disrespecting readers’ preferences.

The resume heat map showed us what recruiters read first. Savvy job seekers give them what they want. After all, they have the power to decide whether or not you get an interview.

Summary

Always prioritize the information recruiters and hiring managers want. While you might think your resume is about you, it’s really about them.

Image: Fotolia/pressmaster
Updated March 2024

© 2015 – 2024, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 10

  1. So good.

    I’ve been reading through several resumes lately and this point alone can make a huge difference in which ones stood out and which ones failed.

    Great tips. I hope others start following.

    Thanks,

    Bryce

  2. True, it also makes easier for resume readers to spot the main points of their application.

  3. Definitely agree…a little well-placed bolding can make a world of difference, and too much can make a disaster of an otherwise good resume

  4. You’re right, you just end up reading the bold if it’s in the CV body. However, you don’t seem to on the web. Is that becasue employers are looking for ways to exclude people not trying to find ways to include people?

  5. THIS was an awesome, concise exercise in Resume building. I do use some bold in my cover letters, very minimal but enough that the specific thing I want noticed, seems to get noticed.

    Thanks!
    Hope

  6. Good thoughts in general. People in the arts can be quite different. I teach a graphic design portfolio class at a local college that recently hosted a job fair. Many of my senior level students went to the fair. One student in particular said the company representative commended her on the well designed (not just typed) resume. It stood out. Again, good advice for submitting a resume online but in person or at a job fair, a sophisticated (meaning a stand out) resume will get you noticed where a generic, homogenous one will get lost in the shuffle. It’s difficult to follow the rules and think outside of the box at the same time.

  7. Design is its own vertical when it comes to job search matters — particularly the presentation of self. I appreciate the insights you contribute so much David.

    BTW, design is one of my dream careers in another life.

  8. I don’t know Richard. I’m always looking for people to include when I’m recruiting.

    Donna

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