When It Comes to Resumes, Looks Do Matter

Job candidates are often unaware of the importance of their resumes. It surprises me, really, how little attention seems to be paid to not just the content of resumes but the appearance of resumes.  When I encounter a beautiful resume, I take notice.  And if I interview a candidate with a flawless resume, I’ll ask the candidate how they went about creating it.  Did they have it reviewed by a teacher or career services?  A candidate who responds that she sought advice of multiple people, in academics and in the professional world scores very well.  It tells me that she’s passionate about the way she presents herself and takes great pains to get the details just right.

So you can understand my dismay when I read a question from a reader sent in to the excellent blog, Ask a Manager.  The reader asked whether the font used on a resume really matters.  And, specifically, whether a resume created using the font Comic Sans can ever really be taken seriously. This is an example of Comic Sans.

The answer, in short, is “no.”  Comic Sans was a font created by Vincent Connare for Microsoft in 1994. The font was intended to be used in the Microsoft Bob program, which was intended for children.

Despite Connare’s insistence that the font was not designed as a typeface, it’s been used as one ever since its release–much to the dismay of typography enthusiasts.   Comic Sans is a font that says frivolity, light-heartedness, and playfulness. Comic Sans does not say professional, serious, or knowledgeable.  So, unless  you’re applying for a job at a day-care center, please, please, respect your document and skip the kiddie fonts.  To learn what you should do with your resume, check out Typography for Lawyers, where
Matthew Butterick puts out some terrific posts on this very topic.

(Need more proof that Comic Sans is no laughing matter?  Check out the Ban Comic Sans website.  There’s an entire movement devoted to eradicating the professional world of this silliness.)