Writing a resume takes more effort than most people may think.
You have to explain your work concisely, highlight the right mix of skills and achievements, double check dates and spelling and avoid using cliche words.
In the process, some overlook one detail recruiters say is important — the type of font you use.
“A poorly selected font can indeed derail one’s chances for an interview, especially if other factors aren’t as strong,” says Jason Hanold, who has spent more than 25 years reviewing resumes and runs his own recruiting firm, Hanold Associates.
“Fonts set a subconscious tone for the reader,” he says.
CNBC Make It asked typographers and graphic designers to tell us the worst fonts an applicant could use on a resume. Here are six fonts they say you should avoid using on a resume at all costs:
1. Times New Roman
Though you may have had to use Times New Roman in college to write essays, using it in a resume is a big faux pas.
“There are two categories of bad typefaces for resumes,” says Matthew Standage, a UK-based designer who specializes in typography, “those that look like you didn’t care enough to pick a typeface and those which are inappropriate in a business setting.”
This class of font falls into the first category, he says.
“If you want to stand out in a sea of resumes, Times New Roman won’t help you,” says Laura Providence, creative director of Design Deli NYC.
Garett Southerton, brand designer and consultant at Garett Creative says using it makes you look “lazy.”
If you like a sans serif typeface, one that doesn’t have small embellishments, you might be tempted to use Futura.
But it just doesn’t quite fit for a resume.
“While Futura is a clean, modern sans serif,” Providence says, “this font tends to feel more decorative than practical for text-heavy documents, like resumes.”
3. Lucida Console
This is “another good-looking font you shouldn’t use,” says Southerton. This, he explains, is because that font is monospaced, meaning it has a fixed width
Putting your resume in this font would make it look too boxy or computer-like, he says. You should also probably stay away from Courier, another commonly used fixed-width font.
4. Mistral, Brush Script or any other script font
“Don’t use script faces for resumes,” says Standage. “It is almost as inappropriate as using Comic Sans.”
And please, for your own sake, don’t go anywhere near Curlz.
Your resume should stand out for good reasons, and opting to use a bold, heavy font such as Impact will only distract a hiring manager.
“Impact is an odd choice frequently used on resumes and designs,” says Southerton. He calls it “boxy,” “unprofessional,” and adds that using it is a “sure-fire way to get your resume trashed immediately.”
Providence agrees. She says resume writers should use more legible fonts.