Why Using Times New Roman on Your Resume Is Like Wearing Sweatpants to an Interview


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The typography experts have spoken, and amid a host of potential resume blunders, job seekers may want to steer clear of a particularly damning and simple choice: using Times New Roman font.   

Using that typeface is the equivalent of "wearing sweatpants to an interview, according to Bloomberg. Other fonts to avoid, according to the Bloomberg report? Avoid Zapfino, which is to stylized and sweeping; Courier, which appears anachronistic as if punched out on a typewriter; and Comic Sans, which appears goofy and inspires rage. Instead, your C.V should have the correct fonts.

Helvetica is earnest and digestible, Proxima Nova is a rounder version of Helvetica and Garamond is an ever sophisticated option.

Of course, job seekers make mistakes beyond selecting the wrong typeface. 

Maybe, for example, you thought writing your resume in crayon would show your creativity, sense of independence and spontaneity. Oh yeah, it probably did. It just didn't land you the job. Ask a hiring manager what he's seen cross his desk or computer screen, and you may be surprised by the results -- far worse than the selection of Times New Roman. Job seekers, beware. Here's how not to get a job, according to 475 hiring managers, HR professionals and 471 workers across various industries in a study for CareerBuilder.ca.

These are real-life resume blunders:

  • A four-page resume detailing every position and volunteer job a person has ever had since he was 12
  • A resume etched into a wooden cutting board
  • Resume delivered in a balloon
  • Each line had one bold word that formed a "hidden" message about how great the applicant would be for the position
  • Resume came in the form of a candy-gram
  • Many small teddy bears and daisies adorned the edges of the pink paper
  • An application made online by an employee that had been fired
  • Scrawled in pencil on butcher's paper
  • Singing telegram
  • Candidate revealed that he spent time in jail for assaulting a prior boss
  • Listed "Have flown on a corporate jet" as a notable achievement
  • Listed "Worked with my dad building things. Worked with my mum cleaning the house," as past experience

There are some blunders that can automatically send your resume on an express ride to the round file. The most common mistakes include:

  • Resumes that have typos - 54%
  • Resumes that don't include a list of skills - 43%
  • Resumes that are generic and don't seem personalized for the position - 35%
  • Resumes that have an inappropriate email address - 35%
  • Resumes that copied a large amount of wording from the job posting - 31%
  • Resumes that don't include exact dates of employment - 29%
  • Resumes printed on decorative paper - 25%
  • Resumes that have large blocks of text with little white space - 22%
  • Resumes that are more than two pages long - 19%
  • Resumes submitted without cover letters – 17%
  • Resumes that include a photo - 16%

"Your resume is the primary deciding factor for whether you will land a job interview," says Rosemary Haefner of CareerBuilder. "It's important to project a professional image. Keep it succinct, personalize it to feature only skills and experience relevant to the position you're applying for, and always include specific, quantifiable results that showcase the value you can bring to an organization."

Final tip: more than one quarter (26%) of employers surveyed only accept digital resumes, leaving hard copies sent via the mail unopened.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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