How To Pick A Font For Your Resume

Have you ever considered highway signs when writing your resume? Don’t worry, there is a logic to this madness. How long does the average driver have to look at a highway sign? The answer is: 6 seconds. There are reports that suggest the average recruiter consumes a resume in 7 seconds. Luckily, for most resume writers, employers spend a little more time looking over a resume. In the hands of an employer, a resume typically gets 15 seconds to shine.

Clearview Signs

Photo by Don Meeker

So, comparing your resume to a highway sign may be a good way to approach your font choice. Think about your resume as the highway sign for your future employer. You want to make sure that you direct the reader to the most relevant information as efficiently as possible.

Before delving into all the options available for the resume, consider another parallel between highway signs and resumes. Arguably, the most revolutionary moment for the Federal Highway Administration may have been the shift from Highway Gothic to Clearview. The FHA took over half a century to realize that drivers needed to be able to clearly read the signs. But, with the assistance and persistence of Don Meeker and James Montalbano (the genius minds behind Clearview), the FHA took the leap.

The subtle changes in the font of highway signs created a dramatic improvement in visibility, particularly at night, much to every driver’s benefit. Tests conducted between Clearview  and Highway Gothic indicate there is a 16 percent improvement in recognition with the new font, giving drivers an extra second or two to read a sign. With one fell swoop in the form of Clearview, a design that took Meeker and Montalbano over 10 years to create, America’s highway signs entered the modern world.

While there is certainly a lesson to be learned from Meeker and Montalbano’s persistence, the more relevant parallel is that a contemporary resume must have a clear and readable font. If you can get a prospective employer to glance one or two seconds longer, that maybe the difference between you and the next person in line for the job.

Here are some basic fonts that work with almost any resume: Arial, Times New Roman, or Helvetica. Times New Roman is a distinguished serif font that almost everyone, including your future employer, can easily access. It’s the favored font for school papers and other scholarly pursuits. Arial and Helvetica (and Clearview) are sans-serif fonts that don’t have any ornamentation. They’re considered more clean and slightly futuristic. Any of these are great options for your modern resume.

Should you have any doubts about which font is write for you, consider using the experts at Write In Color to help you craft your sleek, cutting-edge resume. Don’t get left behind in the job market with a Highway Gothic resume.


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