10 Fonts You Should Avoid Like The Plague When Designing Your Resume

A mutual colleague introduced me to Rebecca McFarland from Pop Your Career. I noticed a series of resume tips Becca featured on her Instagram feed and asked if she’d like to write today’s guest blog post. Now, you may be asking – why would Karen share the insights from another Career Coach? Well, I like what she writes about, and know her tips will help you. As a self described geek when it comes to this sort of stuff, Becca thinks careers are cool and in addition to running Pop Your Career, also has a day job in recruitment.

And with so much attention being paid to LinkedIn, I thought it only fair to bring you some hands on tips for those of you wishing to update your resume yourself. An interesting fact about Think Bespoke is that we were originally (and very briefly) called Bespoke Professional Resumes. Resume writing was the first service I offered clients when I established the business, while I also worked part time as a leadership trainer and facilitator for a boutique training agency.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. My maiden name is Penman, and I like to tell people a story my Dad once shared with me; that our ancestors wrote letters for the Kings. Whether this is true or not would digress from a good story (you know how the saying goes). With English and English Literature being the only two subjects I wanted to do in Year 12, I also picked up Economics and Politics (requiring lots of writing) and Maths being added to meet the mandatory five subjects. The only reason Maths got in the mix was because ‘girls need to keep their options open’, as was the favourite saying of my secondary school’s career counsellor, Mrs Pringle.

I’ve also written in a professional capacity for many years, as part of my pre-child and pre-business career, in marketing communications. Having written resumes for friends since I can remember, this was a logical first choice for my first business, which quickly expanded, requiring the name change to Think Bespoke. Is resume writing a service Think Bespoke still offers? You can find out more about my Job Application Tool Kit here or contact us for the details of the top resume writers we recommend. We’ll match you up with specialists who write for your industry requirements.

Please check back in and let me know what you think of Becca’s tips. It is my hope that you enjoy these as much as I do.

Resume Writing Tips – 10 Fonts You Should Avoid Like The Plague When Designing Your Resume

I am all for incorporating cool design elements into your resume. Think funky fonts, pops of colour, a few cheeky symbols and some out-of-the-box formatting. But sometimes resume design can be taken too far, and what you hoped would be a thoughtful representation of your personality, turns into a faux pas. Make your potential employer say “oh, wow!” not “oh, what was he thinking?”.

In this post, I am sharing with you the 10 top fonts that you should avoid when creating your resume, as well as a chance to download my free resume font guide, 30 Fonts To Help Your Resume Stand From The Crowd In 2017. Let’s get to it.

1. Papyrus

I have broadcasted my distaste for Papyrus on many occasions, but let me reiterate it here. I once received a job application that was completely written in Papyrus and I’ll be honest. I didn’t get very far into reading it. Papyrus is a great font for school projects about Ancient Egypt, but for resumes? No way.

2. Bradley Hand

You may have heard me proclaim that Bradley is not your friend. In fact, it is that proclamation that landed me this guest post gig with Think Bespoke. To be honest, any font that has the word “hand” in its title, is not suitable for your resume. If handwriting was professional enough for resumes, they would be submitted on post-it-notes and napkins. I can assure you, this is not the case, so skip the handwritten fonts.

3. Comic Sans

Hopefully, I don’t even need to explain this one. I loved this font when I was a kid. It seemed so clever, so fun, maybe even funny. While I am a huge advocate of joke-cracking to soften the mood in a job interview, if you use Comic Sans in your resume you may not get the chance – you will be the joke.

4. Curlz

Another flashy font that will allow you to showcase your design genius and quirky sense of humour, right? Wrong. If this seems apparent to you, I applaud you. Unfortunately I still receive far too many resumes that feature Curlz, either in the name header, the section headings, or worse – both! Don’t do it!

5. Edwardian Script

Be careful with all script fonts, not just this one. Edwardian Script, in particular, is incredibly difficult to read. Although I think it can be a great idea to use script fonts for your name in your resume header (this is a great place to show off a little creativity!), I warn you to still select a font that can be easily read at a glance – this is not one of them, no matter how large you make it!

6. Lucida Sans Typewriter

Why would you want your resume to look as though it has been written on a typewriter? It is not particularly easy to read and it looks well and truly outdated. Unless you are applying for a job as a historian (or maybe as a tester for a Back to the Future, Delorean style time machine), “typewriter” fonts have no place on your resume. To be honest, even if you are a historian or Marty McFly himself, I reckon there are more effective choices.

7. Chalkduster

I really like brush fonts, particularly for creating an unusual resume header, but Chalkduster has two things going against it. Firstly, it is too similar to a handwritten font style and you already know how I feel about that. Secondly, the brush strokes are patchy, so it looks untidy; almost like you have run out of ink! Keep this in mind when you are selecting brush style fonts – the more even strokes are far more professional!

8. Zapfino

Zapfino, pretty extravagant, right? I can’t argue with you there, my friend! What are you trying to do though? Get a job or create a brand identity for a new type of garlic bread? Although I have mentioned that I love to see a little creativity in your resume header, be aware of fonts like this one that are overly dramatic. You wouldn’t want to give your potential employer the wrong idea.

9. Abadi Condensed Extra Bold

I kinda feel a little bad dragging Abadi Condensed Extra Bold through the mud, because I do think it is a pleasant font that can look great in certain circumstances. Hear me out. Any time you see the word “condensed” in a font title, it means that the letters are skinnier and sometimes even closer together, like someone has squished it between two book ends. This can be an awesome effect in some creative projects, but when a potential employer has less than a minute to make a decision about your resume, a condensed font makes it more difficult to scan, especially if it is in bold! Do yourself a favour and save the condensed fonts for another project.

10. Times New Roman

You might be a little surprised to see good old Times New Roman in this list, but for me, it is snoresville. I encourage you to challenge yourself when you are designing your resume. Even if you aren’t ready to go all out, it is a good chance for you to veer slightly off the garden path and try something a little different. There are thousands of fonts out there – show a little imagination!

So that’s it! My list of the top 10 fonts you should avoid when designing your resume. If you are keen to find out which fonts I am recommending, you can grab my free resume font guide, 30 Fonts To Help Your Resume Stand From The Crowd In 2017, by clicking here.


Hey, my name is Becca and I am the creator of Pop Your Career! I’m based in Canberra, have been working in human resources for over 10 years and have helped hundreds of people, just like you, to find, secure and thrive in their dream careers.

​As a recruiter by day, my job provides career fulfilment and allows me to keep my finger on the pulse and stay up to date with what is happening in the industry. I love my job, I love my career and I want to do everything I can to help you feel the same way.