Resume font choices can be confusing. First, you have to decide on the best font for your resume. Then you have to decide where to use normal and bold font. This post shares a resume heat map that shows you exactly what recruiters look for on your resume and you can use that information to decide where to use bold font.
The Resume Heat Map, Eye-Tracking Study
Because bold font draws your readers’ eyes, it’s helpful to use it to guide recruiters and hiring managers to the information that’s most important to them. It creates a visual hierarchy for your readers to follow.
Check out this research study, or the following resume heat map video (H/T Phyllis Mufson), to see how readers scan resumes.
The heat map comes from a study that tracked recruiters’ eye movements as they read resumes. It shows you what they focus on and what they ignore during their first looks. That’s useful information!
Where to Use Bold Font on Your Resume
Now that you know from the resume heat map and other research what your audience wants, be sure to use bold font on the following elements of your resume:
- Your name.
- Section headings.
- Job titles.
- Employment dates.
- Employer names.
- Employer locations.
- Your name on second-page headers.
- Your degrees.
If you want to see how easy this makes your resume to scan, check out these executive resumes.
Where NOT to Use Bold Font on Your Resume
I mention where not to use bold font on your resume because candidates often “go bold” inside the narrative descriptions of their jobs and accomplishments.
That’s a worst practice because it disrupts the visual hierarchy your readers want to use to navigate your resume. While you might think you’re drawing their eyes to the most important information on your resume, that’s your opinion.
The resume heat map showed us what recruiters read first. Smart job seekers give them what they’re looking for because they decide whether or not you get an interview.
Always think about what recruiters and hiring managers want. Then give them a good reader experience (RX)!
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Updated February 2019
© 2015 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, Smart Brief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.