Font experts recently told Bloomberg Business that using Times New Roman on a résumé was the font equivalent of “putting on sweatpants” for a job interview. Strong words. They recommended something serif-less like Helvetica or the forbidding-sounding “Proxima Nova.”

What the Helvetica?

Times New Roman is a font of blessings. It is fit to print. It is Arial stand-up font that deserves to be respected as the Goudy Old Style it is, not the Bad-y Old Style it is not. It is Lucida. Any Courier, New or old, would be well served by it. It carries Impact. It is a Symbol of all that is good, and we should not clip its Wingdings. Would life be comic, sans Times New Roman? No. It would be tragic.


This being said, here are a few fonts to embrace or eschew, as the case may be:

Papyrus: Avoid this unless your résumé is a fake treasure map that the props department did not spend enough time on.


Wingdings: Depending on your point of view, these are modern hieroglyphs, Emoji 1.0, or the bearers of a terrible secret warning about 9/11. Use them accordingly as you do not want to be associated with any of those things.

Garamond: Garamond is just a fetching font. I have no jokes here. If you have a very short résumé it is to be avoided, as Garamond is a delicate beautiful font that does not fare well when it gets too large. It is like a butterfly. A butterfly, at scale, is charming. A giant butterfly is a terrifying monster insect that will surely devour your family.

Calibri: I would like Calibri (and its companion font, Cambria) better if Word were not so eager to push them on me. They are like those nice guys who keep showing up at dinner with your parents for no apparent reason. If I had been able to come to them on my own, I might be quite attached. As it is, I cannot quite trust them. Their endgame is too apparent.

Courier New: You are not writing on a typewriter. Nothing you do can alter this. The same goes for you, Medieval Fonts That Try To Look Like Something A Monk Calligraphed By Hand. Neither of you is fooling anyone.

Baskerville: This is always the font you almost use before deciding on the font you will actually use. Always a bridesmaid, never an Arial.

Arial: Arial is great because it reminds you that you are typing on a computer in the future. It is terrible because it reminds you of AIM.


Verdana: Too Facebook.

Stencil: What are you applying for, to be the Great Gatsby poster? No.

Impact: Good if you’re applying for a job on a film poster from the 1990s.

Goudy Old Style: If life were just, there would be a time ever to use this font, but there never quite is.

Comic Sans: Acceptable only if you are applying to be the Antichrist.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day, for The Washington Post.

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