The Best Fonts to Get Your Résumé Read by Your Target Audience

Fonts depend on many factors, including industry and seniority. More “serious” fonts should match more serious roles, and in all cases you can take a cue from the fonts you and your colleagues are used to reading in your everyday life.

Read Me Fonts cropped

Until I started drafting résumés professionally, I never imagined I would have an entire post devoted to résumé fonts. Yet after some lively conversations with clients about the best fonts to use, I realize it is quite a helpful point to cover.

Fonts depend on many factors, including industry and seniority. More “serious” fonts should match more serious roles. Safer (even boring) fonts match roles where that is appropriate – i.e., where your job is safety, risk management or the like – while more creative styles fit better with creative endeavors. As a result, there is no “one best font” for résumés generally. You should take your cues from the fonts you and your colleagues (or those in your target field, if you are in transition) are accustomed to using.

Here are some favorites and generally acceptable fonts, in alphabetical order:

Arial – clean and easy to read, safe choice, which some may view as boring

Calibri – the default Microsoft Word font, very familiar

Garamond – old style font, timeless, polished elegance

Georgia – traditional alternative to Times New Roman

Times New Roman – universal font and very popular résumé choice, also safe like Arial

Trebuchet MS – sans serif like Arial, a bit different but still comfortable for the reader

Résumé Fonts

A few more points before I close:

  1. Uncommon Fonts. If you choose a less common font, make sure the text is highly readable and accessible by most users of Microsoft Word and other word processing programs. The worst case scenario can come true – your font is not supported, and your document looks like a mess on their screen.
  2. Use of Space on the Page. If space is an issue in your résumé (either you have too many words or too few), the font can change the entire look of your document.
  3. Limiting Your Font Use. Don’t use too many fonts within the document. It doesn’t look fancy, it looks disorganized. I generally suggest only one font. If you use a second one as an accent, be sure to use it consistently throughout the document (i.e., only for your name and contact information on both pages). The same rule applies for capitalization, use of bold, italics, etc.
  4. Colors. Just as you are careful with font, be careful with (and don’t overuse) colors. Again, take a cue from what you have seen in your industry as a proxy for what your target audience will respond to and expect.

If you have any input or questions about fonts, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post. Thanks!

[Update July 2016: since writing this post, I have also started using Helvetica in résumés, so I’m adding it to my list of fonts. I continue to use Times New Roman generally in the legal field, as it is a font that lawyers are comfortable reading, and often (but not always) use a sans serif font for non-legal clients. I have generally stopped using Calibri as well.]

Copyright 2016 Anne Marie Segal.


Author: Anne Marie Segal

ABOUT ANNE MARIE SEGAL Anne Marie Segal, founder of Segal Coaching LLC, is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer who guides attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs through career transitions, advancement, job interview preparation, leadership development and personal branding. A former finance and hedge fund attorney, Anne Marie has presented to the United Nations (ICTY/MICT), University of Chicago, United Way, Association of Corporate Counsel and National Resume Writers Association, among other organizations. She has published two career-related books: Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals and Know Yourself, Grow Your Career: The Value Proposition Workbook, written on career and resume topics as a Forbes Coaches Council member at and been quoted on, and other media outlets. You can learn more at or visit her LinkedIn profile at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: