How to Choose the Right Font for the Job


Selecting a proper font for a CV, or Curriculum Vitae, a summation of your work experience usually coupled with or replacing a resume, is an often overlooked, but very crucial task. Recruiters receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications each month and to save time they look for any minor mistake that can disqualify the application with a quick scan. It doesn’t matter how heartfelt your description of overcoming that seemingly impossible obstacle in your life is or how extensive your educational or work background is, select an ugly, unreadable or improper font and your CV might as well be interior decoration for a dumpster. Here are a few guidelines to select the right font for the job, leave your prospective employer with a great impression and land yourself an interview:

Professional Fonts to Choose From

For many years the standard typeface was Times New Roman in 12 point font, but now employers will accept sans-serif fonts (fonts without the extra bits at the end of letters) such as Arial or Verdana. Anglia CV Solutions, a professional CV writing company, has found these fonts strike the perfect balance between professionalism and readability. Experiment a little and see which one looks best to you.

Don’t Forget the Size

Font size is another crucial thing to consider. A size too small will be illegible and leave a ton of white space on your page, but a size too large will give a reader the impression you are yelling at them, not something you want to do. The size can vary, but generally 10- to 12-point font size is the standard for body text and 12- to 14-point font size is the standard for headings. Interestingly though, The University of Kent’s online guide, “How to Write a Successful CV,” mentions that smaller font sizes are considered more intelligent by employers. If that’s an important part of the position you’re applying for, it’s something to consider!

Get Creative…

But the standard guidelines aren’t always necessary to follow, especially if you are applying for a non-standard position. Applying as an actor for a reenactment society? Try a script font, such as Edwardian Script, that looks like 17th century cursive. Again, your CV is all about making the best impression you can, so if you think it’s worth the risk, go for it. Just make sure that when you send a document with a non-standard font electronically you first convert it to a PDF file; otherwise the person receiving your application might see your CV as a bunch of alien hieroglyphs.

… But Not Too Creative

While looking for unique and creative fonts to use, it is also important to mention the fonts that should be outright avoided. Comic Sans is one of these. This font does not make your resume look comedic, livelier, or in any way better. It looks childish and should never be considered. Avoid any “handwritten” fonts or any font in general that will diminish the quality of how your CV will look. Also always use black on white font color. Any other color looks like a desperate cry for attention.

Judge Your Work

If you find yourself wondering if your CV’s font selection will win you that job, apply the grandma test to it. Think back to the last time you received an email from a relative about some crazy thing they read on the Internet. The font they wrote in was Comic Sans and each paragraph was a different color. Now imagine that they are applying to work for you. Ignore everything you know about them and judge their character solely on that email. If your own CV doesn’t pass that test, maybe you need to select a more conservative font.

There are a hundred different exceptions that can be made to anyone’s individual situation. Just remember, you are trying to cultivate the most professional image you can, one that grabs the employer’s attention and tells them they cannot go on doing business without your expertise.