It’s time we had the font talk. While your professors will love you for using Times New Roman on everything, hiring managers probably won’t. Résumé construction is notoriously elusive, and for good reason. Does the employer want something flashy? Sturdy? Artistic? No frills? Often, managers won’t even give your resume a once-over if they have any inkling that it was made in Microsoft. If you’re Adobe-savvy, InDesign is the best place to build your resume, but Canva has free resume templates that are just as good (or might just give you some inspo to get you started).
Aside from the task of résumé-building, just finding a font that’s sophisticated, creative, and easy on the eyes is a challenge. Fonts are like people, and just like you wouldn’t bring your foul-mouthed pal around your grandmother, you don’t want to put fonts with inappropriate personalities in front of an employer (ahem, Comic Sans).
Luckily, we combed font sources for the best fonts that can work on any résumé, whether you’re after a career in graphic design or business. The best part: They’re all totally free. Keep scrolling for 16 of the best résumé fonts that’ll stand out on any hiring manager’s desk.
Okay, we know we said not to build your résumé in Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any killer Microsoft fonts. Here are a few that are safe to use.
Helvetica is the king of all sans-serif fonts, and it’s kind of like your favorite pair of black jeans: It goes with everything. In case you’re skeptical, it even has its own self-titled documentary. Catch Helvetica hanging out on all of New York City’s subway signs, too.
Avenir is like a black pair of horn-rimmed glasses: crisp, clean, and curiously modern. It comes in several weights to give your résumé copy some levels, but be wary of the lighter versions—they can be difficult to read.
If you’re going for the sturdy, scholarly feel of Times New Roman with a breath of energy, Garamond is your font. It’s timeless, but it’s not a bore. We’d invite Garamond to a dinner party.
To give your résumé that upscale fashion house vibe, pair Didot with a clean sans-serif body font. Didot is elegant, but also a bit of snob, and won’t accept anything less than the limelight of your headers. Anything smaller and you’ll strain your hiring manager’s eyes.
Adobe Typekit fonts
Technically, these aren’t totally free, but if you work with Adobe software, you have free access to fonts that can be synced directly to your Adobe applications through Adobe Typekit. Below are some of the best fonts from Typekit’s library.
Futura is very similar to Avenir in terms of delicacy, but it comes in more weights to make your résumé more readable. Use it for headers and body copy alike.
FF Meta has the same readability as other sans-serif fonts, but with more flair and nuance that hiring managers for creative positions will appreciate. Again, steer clear of those lighter weights.
If you’re looking to have a little fun with your body copy without overdoing it, Brandon Grotesque is a great option. It’s on the chubbier side without interfering with its clarity.
Mark Simonson, Proxima Nova’s creator, describes the font as “a hybrid that combines modern proportions with a geometric appearance,” on his website, and he’s pretty spot on. Put this one to work in both your body copy and headers.
Here’s where the fun begins. While your body copy should be clean and legible, you have a little more leeway when picking your header font. We dug up the best creative, yet classy fonts from free online font sites that will give your résumé some energy. Pro tip: Always be checking these sites and more for cool fonts. Typographers post their fonts for free on different platforms all the time (shoutout to them), so be sure to snap them up when you see them! You never know when they can be used to take a project to the next level.
Bold and declarative, Bebas Neue is a font that can’t be ignored. Typing your name in this font will ensure that hiring managers won’t forget it.
Madeleina Sans is a font that walks the walk. It’s effortlessly chic without calling attention to itself, which is perfect for grounding a résumé filled with creative elements (looking at you, photographers and graphic designers).
If you dig Bebas Neue’s stage presence, but usually go for serif fonts, check out Goldoni. It has similarly strong energy without sacrificing the sophistication of serif fonts.
Who knew your mermaid obsession would have a place in your professional life? Mermaid’s basic form features curves and contours like its namesake’s tail. It also includes a decorative swash cap, if you’re feeling crazy.
This font is reminiscent of our own typeface here at CF, so we’re naturally inclined to love it. Zefani comes with serif and sans-serif varieties, so you can deck your résumé out with a single font package.
This font family comes in a whopping 146 weights, which allows for some interesting but controlled type contrast. It may be named Heading, but it can be used for smaller copy as well.
This font could probably stand among the typefaces of Versace, Prada, and Gucci and no one would bat an eye. Use it on your headings for a touch of luxury.
As its name suggests, Champagne & Limousines has an air of glamour. Equal parts Gatsby-era art deco design and modern, squeaky clean typography, this typeface is nothing short of charming.
Have we inspired you to re-design your résumé? Share what you come up with, and don’t forget to tag us @cfashionista!