Think about it. When you apply for a job, your resume (and cover letter) are an employer’s first impression of you. And even if the content of your resume is really impressive, if it’s delivered with a really distracting font, you could be unfairly dismissed.
Let’s play a game. I want you to look at a couple of fonts and try to imagine if each font were an actual person. What kind of person would that font be? How experienced or inexperienced? What would their personality be like? Would they be emotionally sensitive or cold? Organized or kind of flighty? Loquacious or soft-spoken?
To be fair, Comic Sans MS has gotten a lot of flack even though it’s a perfectly pleasant, legible font. However, it doesn’t scream professional. It’s rounded and friendly and, well, kind of informal. When you type with Comic Sans MS, it looks as if you’re talking to a friend rather than a prospective employer. So it’s definitely not appropriate for a resume.
But it might be appropriate if you’re looking at this guy:
…Did you also get circus clown?
This one’s also totally aesthetically pleasing and probably great for a logo, but not for a resume.
You get the point.
Good rule of thumb:
If a font is too flowery or informal, then it’s probably not a good choice. If it’s illegible, then it’s definitely not a good choice.
So, which fonts are appropriate? Here are just a few examples:
Unless you’re in an aesthetically driven field like graphic design or fashion, I’d stick with black. (My friend in animation uses cartoon characters in the margins of his resume, but if you’re an investment banker, I don’t recommend featuring Bugs Bunny on yours. As fun as that would be.)
If you still have doubts about the fonts you’re using, you can always go with Times New Roman or Arial. Both are classic, safe choices.
Which font are you?