The effectiveness of a CV comes down largely to its readability. Make sure the font you choose never distracts from the message. The six fonts that will make your CV easily readable and more professional are:
We’ve discussed how each of these fonts have subtle differences, often related to how a font performs in different sizes. All of these fonts are good choices for your resume and other career management communications (pick one and stick to it; your consistency will impress readers). However, not all fonts look good in all sizes. Some are stronger when the print size needs to be small, and some are better when a larger size is required.
This can be confusing, but there is one important consideration that will make it easier: forget the “rule” that summaries can only be one or two pages long; it is obsolete and irrelevant today. The idea that someone drawn to the first two pages of your resume refuses to speak to you because you have a third page of relevant experience is patently absurd. Professional trades have become more complex, and this naturally requires more explanation and therefore space.
When writing your CV, don’t worry about fonts and size; focus on the content. Once you’ve captured the story that positions you as the ideal candidate for a specific job, choose your font and size. The six fonts above look great and read well in 12 point, which is a good size for a resume. Reduce them to 10 points and they all get harder to read. Do not go below 10.5 points. Make life easier for recruiters and hiring managers by making your resume as visually accessible as possible.
To do this, you need to strike a balance between two conflicting considerations:
- More white space on the page makes your CV more readable.
- Larger font sizes are easier to read but eat up the white space.
Look for the ideal balance between font and font size and how they affect white space and readability. Create multiple versions of your CV with a combination of fonts and font sizes so you can compare them. For example, compare Garamond and Arial in the 12 point font size, and you will see that Arial is almost twice as big.
- Your client, in this case your potential employer, always comes first, so make sure your resume is easy to read.
- The rule for one and two page resumes is no longer valid. Tell the story, make it readable and edit it as tightly as you can.
- The font and font size are the vehicles that share your message with recruiters and hiring managers. The right combination of font and font size ensures that nothing gets in between your message and the reader, so try different combinations.
Always remember that your goal is to make your resume as visually accessible and easy to read as possible. Each of the fonts listed above will accomplish this goal.
Best-selling author Martin Yate, career coach and former HR professional, answers your questions weekly on how to advance your career in HR.
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