Making Your Resume Look Aesthetically Impressive – It’s a Waste of Time

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Two posts on and jumped out at me today. Both were sharing advice on which font to use on your . It’s interesting to read how different fonts can create different impressions on readers, and so we can influence the reader’s perception. For example, the font Helvetica is reported to convey “professional, lighthearted, honest”.

A neat trick? No – in my opinion, it’s a waste of time.

Unless you are applying direct to an employer, or if you are at the very top of executive ranks, your résumé is unlikely to be presented to hiring managers as you have created it. The fancy fonts and high quality paper won’t be seen by the people you’re aiming to impress.

Because most people search and apply for employment through employment agencies, and these guys take your résumé, ‘parse’ it to extract your data, and the original goes in the waste paper basket. Your résumé is rendered down to a database entry, minus your carefully selected font.

This is why it is a waste of time. You’re better spending your time on something more useful.

Rather than finessing the aesthetics, you should do everything you can to make your résumé machine-readable, and machine-searchable, because this is what really happens to your résumé. So your choice of font is irrelevant. Isn’t it?

Read how to make your résumé as machine-readable and agency friendly as possible.

If you’re presenting a paper copy of your résumé directly to a potential employer, could the aesthetics matter then? Probably not. You will want to create the right impression, but it’s your personality and personal presentation that really matter and make the greatest difference. Your choice of font will very unlikely change the mind of someone you’ve met, one way or the other, unless you use something dumb like comic sans. For the same reason, a professionally captured photograph of you attached to your résumé is a waste of time, unless you’re wearing clown make-up. (Caveat – if you’re applying for a job as a clown, then this doesn’t apply!)


For most job applications, the world has moved on from paper and ink. Tune into the way resourcers process your résumé to support their processes; make their job easier to help you land a job, and you’re giving yourself the best chance possible.

When crafting your résumé, your time and energy is much better placed in tuning the content to the vacancy and especially to the job specification in the job ad.

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