Should Resume Advice Come from Graphic Designers?

By Michelle Hutchinson

Distinctive berry is like a distinctive resumeA provocative article, The Best and Worst Fonts to Use on Your Resume, has been making the rounds this week. Published on the Bloomberg Business website, the post contains input from three typographers on the type style to use on your…you guessed it: resume.

Four people have asked me for my feedback on that advice, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with the rest of you. The first question that popped into my head was: Why are they asking graphics professionals to give resume advice? Don’t get me wrong; I have a lot of respect for graphic designers. I’ve collaborated with many when working on marketing projects, and I wish I had half their talent. But if my car makes a funny noise, I take it to an auto mechanic, not an auto detailer. If my tooth hurts, I go to a dentist, not a tongue piercer. And if my oven isn’t working, I call an appliance repairman, not a chef.

So if Bloomberg Media wanted resume advice, why didn’t they ask a professional resume preparer, or at least people who screen resumes every day?

One typographer gives the Times New Roman font a bad rap. He says that it might indicate that you didn’t put a lot of thought into your resume, and that “It’s like putting on sweatpants.” That didn’t sit right with me. I use Times New Roman on about 90% of the resumes I prepare, and with 96% of my resumes yielding job interviews for my clients, I must be doing something right.

What’s more, Bloomberg took that sweatpants reference out of context and wrote the following subtitle for the article: Using Times New Roman is the typeface equivalent of wearing sweatpants to an interview. Not a single person interviewed for the post said that.

The article also suggests using the Garamond font to make a long resume fit on one page. But anyone in the recruiting or hiring fields will tell you that most people should have a two-page resume.

Even worse, the last paragraph of the article sarcastically suggests using emojis on your resume. If you know people with Asperger’s syndrome, you know they can have trouble distinguishing sarcasm from honest comments.

So here’s the bottom line: if you want to stand out from your competition, create a resume that highlights your accomplishments and quantifies the results you’ve achieved for previous employers. Then choose a clear, easy-to-read font like Helvetica, Times New Roman, Cambria, or Calibri to put that content into words. If you need help with your resume, contact us. Wordhelper is always happy to be of service.

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