How to Choose the Best Resume Format

Resume
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What's the best font to use in a resume? How large (or small) should your font be? When writing a resume, it's important to use a basic font that is easy to read, both for hiring managers and for applicant management systems.

Read below for advice on what font and font size to use, as well as sample resumes and resume templates.

Keep it Simple

There are a few reasons why it's important to keep the font on your resume simple.

First of all, many resumes are first read by applicant tracking systems (ATS), not by people. Those systems work best when reading simple text rather than fancy formatting. If an applicant tracking system can’t read your resume, the hiring manager might just throw it out.

It's also important for the hiring manager to be able to easily read your resume. Basic, readable fonts like Arial, Verdana, Calibri, and Times New Roman will ensure you your resume will be read.

When you are selecting a font for your resume, the font size should be between 10 and 12 to allow for readability. It can feel tempting to make the font on your resume very small, so you can include more information about each job, and still have your resume fit on one page. However, resist this urge - a tiny font is difficult to read, which will ultimately defeat your resume's purpose.

Your resume should also be printed in black and white, not in color.

Other colors are generally distracting for a hiring manager.

You have some flexibility in your section headers. You can make these a little larger and/or bold.

You should also make your name (at the top of your resume) stand at. You can make your name slightly larger, and perhaps bold, underline, or italicize it.

Be Consistent

Do be consistent in your formatting. For example, if you bold one section heading, bold them all. If you underline a company name, be sure the others are underlined as well.

Also, don’t overuse capitalization, bold, italics, underlining, or other emphasizing features. Again, basic works best.

Get Creative (Sometimes)

Typically, you should use a readable, print font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. However, if you are applying to a position in graphic design or advertising (where resume layout and design might be part of your assessment), employers might be open to alternative fonts, colors, and even nontraditional resumes.

However, no matter what, make sure the font you choose is readable for a hiring manager. And think very carefully before using an alternative font. Make sure it is not going to hurt your chances of getting the job. If you know anyone who works at the company, consider asking them their thoughts before submitting a nontraditional resume, or a resume with a creative font or color.

How to Select a Font

Read below for two ways to select a font and font size for your resume.

Option 1:

  • Select a font and font size from the list at the top of your document before you start writing the resume.

Option 2:

  • Type your resume.
  • Highlight the resume.
  • Either select the font from the pop-up window (right click and then select “Font”) or select the font from the list at the top of the document.
  • Select the font size you want to use the same way.

Confirming Your Font Choice

After you have selected a font and font size, it is always wise to print out and look at a copy of your resume. As you read, ask yourself: Is this resume easy to scan through? If you have to squint to read, or find that the font appears cramped, choose a different font or select a larger size for your font.

If the page looks very busy and confusing – for example, if there are too many words bolded, italicized, and underlined – make the style of your resume simpler.

Resume Examples
Before you start work on your resume, review free resume samples that fit a variety of employment situations. These resume examples provide job seekers with examples of resume formats that will work for almost every job seeker.

Resume Templates
Resume templates are great for formatting your own documents. Check out this resume template for advice on how to order and organize your own resume.

Resume Articles and Advice

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