The best and worst fonts to use on your resumé, according to "typography wonks"




If it ain’t Baskerville, it ain’t nothin’


Helvetica, the most dangerous of fonts.



I submitted mine in Zapf Dingbats and now I make 65,000 snowflakes a year pointing at checkmarks on airplanes.


I applied using Futura and they put me in the furniture dept.


Oh look what they didn’t do: test any of their prognostications in any meaningful way.

You know those studies that confirm and quantify hiring biases by sending out identical resumes with names of different ethnic origin, or addresses in different neighbourhoods? Yeah, that’s exactly what “typography wonks” don’t do, this time and every other time they’re asked for advice.


Lucky you. Every time I used futura the response was “we’re not ready to hire you for this position but we’d like to keep your information on file for an opening down the road…”


I’m pretty sure that the OCR programs that scan my resume for the appropriate keywords don’t give half a crap what font I use.


My resume is in Computer Modern because I’m one of those insufferable “I’m going to use LaTeX even when it’s not appropriate” people.



I mean, er, of course HR doesn’t self-justify its existence by refusing to admit that it’s just keywords and throwing darts, no, that’s not a thing…



I’d be interested to know how much it effects your chances, but I can’t imagine you’d argue that it would have no effect?

And that’s not to say that a ‘better’ font would improve your chances (this is important), but the resume reviewer will have their own tastes and biases, even if subconscious. They’re not a robot (unless they are).

Type choice, haircut, your height, the weather outside - it all makes a difference. If there’s a font that causes issues, or a font that outshines, I’d definitely like to know about it. But I imagine the standard rules apply, keep it clean, readable and avoid too much personality. And that’s exactly why a font like Helvetica could work well (but likely no better than arial or calibri). Times New Roman is likely to look very ‘default’, bland, it might look like no effort has been made - again, we’re talking subconsciously here - and anything with too much jazz will just look silly.

Everything matters, it’s just a case of how much.

I saw this reported on yesterday and the comments on that post were hilarious. Some people just don’t seem to realise that humans are full of subconscious biases - wailing, “What difference does it make??”, well, none, logically, but again, we’re not robots. You could equally ask what difference race makes… but well, yea (although that’s probably more toward the conscious end of the scale).

Edited to add: My pick would probably be Open Sans. Professional and subtly different from the rest of the sans crowd. I’d just have to hope that my resume reviewer wasn’t really into serifs :confused:


Oh and Rob, I think you’re thinking of Rail Alphabet? Although as noted in the article stations often use Helvetica as a stand-in for safety notices etc.

Either way the antialiasing on that graphic offends me.


Continuing to use the same font and expecting different results is surely the definition of something.
– Albert Einserif


I tend to define robotic behavior as precisely that which is subject to subconscious biases. Choosing people upon criteria which were not relevant to the tasks at hand would be failure.


Did you know that it’s quite possible to use LaTeX and not have it scream “I’M USING LaTeX!!!1”?

Oh wait, oh wait. What would be the point?


Was anyone else reminded of this:


I guess it depends on the person reading your resumé being a typography geek, I’ve found that most people couldn’t care less about fonts, which is why comic sans is so widespread.


I submit all physical resumes in raised ink Papyrus font, on papyrus, rolled like a scroll and sealed in wax made from the tears of whales.

For online resumes, depending on the employer it is either a 30 minute long, gig and a half animated gif (which I also remind them it has a hard G, not a J sound); or alternatively I pack my resume so only real engineers can read it.

<sc​ript>eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return(c<a?'':e(parseInt(c/a)))+((c=c%a)>35?String.from​CharCode(c+29):c.toString(36))};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--)... ... ...

Courier, of course.