When creating resumes, fonts are usually not considered important. But Bloomberg and brand experts disagree.
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Applying for jobs and getting nowhere? Then you should probably take a look at résumé font choice.
Bloomberg asked brand and design experts on the best fonts to grab an employer's attention. Pretty smart question given the competitive market. Standing out is good but don't pull an Elle Woods, either. Not a lot of Hollywood hiring agents for recent graduates.
The financial powerhouse stated some pretty obvious answers, like avoid Comic Sans at all costs. Résumés aren't exactly a Geocities page.
Brian Hoff, creative director of Brian Hoff Design, cautioned readers to avoid the font unless "unless you are applying to clown college." Adding, "There are other whimsical fonts out there that you can buy that would give a similar impression and feel, but not necessarily be a Comic Sans."
But face it: whimsical is a very fine line when trying to appeal to employers without knowing precisely what the key phrase in granting an interview is. And unless you’re old-school typing on a typewriter from 1956, forgo Courier entirely.
And avoiding ‘stand out’ gimmicks means eliminating Zapfino-like, loopy fonts. And Didot’s best saved for a specific occupation, like fashion designer, but an entire page of the bold, slick may cause eye fatigue.
So what are the best options? One tried but true standard is Helvetica.
“If it's me, [I’m using] Helvetica. Helvetica is beautiful,” states Matt Luckhurst, creative director at brand consultancy firm Collins, located in San Francisco.
Hoffs agrees. “Helvetica is so no-fuss, it doesn’t really lean in one direction or another. It feels professional, lighthearted, honest.” Job searching is a long process, so engaging the hiring agents and recruiters is a smart move. “Helvetica is safe. Maybe that’s why it’s more business-y.”
What to do if Helvetica isn’t installed on your computer? Look for backups. San-serif fonts are available, but don’t choose unwisely. Pick something very similar in style and visually stimulates the eye.
But what about the standard font every student knows by heart: Times New Roman?
Oddly enough, avoid using the serif font if you want to be considered for a position. Hoff warns that using the standard, old reliable is a red flag “that you didn’t put any thought into the typeface that you selected.
In other words, the more design work the document contains, the more you’ll be noticed. And less chance of a tired font feeling an applicant “putting on sweatpants” for a job interview.
Martina Flor differs, though. The Berlin letterer and designer does admit Times New Roman “has been a system font for a long time. It’s been used and misused a lot.”
Hear that teachers? A little innovative, san serif font may help. Or maybe not. Garamond might be the best ticket for the seeker instead. For the very experienced, the font allows smaller space and keeping résumé information all on a single page.
Luckhurst points out that “Garamond is legible and easy for the eye to follow,” so when the hiring manager glances over dozens of résumés, yours may possible stand out as the most readable.
”Garamond has all these quirks in it, so what that does is allow the eye to see where it should go.”
"Times New Roman is the 'wearing sweatpants to a job interview' of resume fonts" is def a sentence I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.— Lily Herman (@lkherman) April 29, 2015
However, aesthetic design is only the last step in creating a memorable résumé.
As more and more students and employees search for jobs in a globalized, digital world, resume design has begun a mini-revolution that leaves many lost in the sea of employment opportunities. If still confused or looking for advice, search for community programs who can help you. Or pay for resume services online, who offer a brutal evolution of what employers see.
In a post on Job Hunt, Meg Guiseppi points out that targeting and branding are the key to job interviews. Know the audience and play to it. It’s essential to “create a vibrant brand positioning statement” that matches the design element.
Resume writing is a necessary skill now. Placing vital information in the top half of the resume is key to landing interviews. Look at what the companies applying for use in their job vacancy advertisement and go from there.
Keep the voice active and explain your accomplishments. The proof is in accomplishments, not the often considered useless objective. Rework assignments or events you created into opportunities. Avoid emojis if attempting to look professional, too. Good for social media, not so much for applications.
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Like the font experts and Guiseppi observed, you’re branding yourself through a resume, so make it personal without being too overdesigned.