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Cover Letter Typeface Choice

After carefully writing your cover letter and perfecting the format, don’t overlook the importance of selecting the right font. When you choose a great font, you can increase the readability of your cover letter and showcase your professionalism.

Below, we describe the top fonts and font sizes for your cover letter.

Choose a simple, modern font

The font you choose for your cover letter should be highly readable, professional and clean. This means you should avoid any fonts that include stylistic flourishes or special characters. This is especially important since applicant tracking systems—software used by many employers to scan cover letters and rank them based on relevant keywords—work best with clear, simple fonts.

But just because you can’t use fun or swirly fonts doesn’t mean your cover letter has to be bland, either. Stand out by choosing something other than Times New Roman. Even though it’s a professional and simple font, it’s not ideal for reading on a screen.

Choose a font that is modern and mature as well as easy to read both in print and on screens. Here are some options:

  • Avenir
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Constantia
  • Corbel
  • Franklin Gothic
  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • Gill Sans
  • Helvetica

Selecting one of the above fonts ensures you’re not causing the hiring manager any unnecessary eye strain and eliminates problems with automated scanning systems. They are also all suitable for both on-screen and print reading and bring a modern, polished element to your cover letter—with some added charm and charisma.

Pro-tip: Avoid using fonts labeled “thin” or “light,” since those may be tricky to read on a screen.

Pick the optimal cover letter font size

When selecting a font size, you have three options: size 10, 11 or 12. It is essential that your cover letter fits on one page, so opt for a size 10 or 11 font if it’s spilling onto a second page. If you have a lot of room to spare, choose a size 12 font. As tempting as it may be, never go below a size 10 font, even if your letter doesn’t fit on one page (in this case, try reworking your letter or adjusting your margins).

Remember, if your font is too small and visually challenging, the hiring manager may pass your letter over in favor of easier-to-read letters, and automated scanning systems may be unable to read the small print. Consider showing your cover letter to a friend or family member to identify any font sizing problems.

Avoid using more than one font

Once you’ve chosen a font, stick to it throughout your entire cover letter. It’s also a good idea to use the same font across both your resume and cover letter.

Be aware of exceptions

In most cases, using a simple, professional font is ideal. However, there are special cases when playing with font and font sizes can boost the visual appeal of your cover letter. If you work in the creative industry, for example, adding some style can help highlight your design skills. Try changing up the typeface and its size (ideally size 14 or 16) in your header, while still using a simple and formal font for the body of your cover letter. Remember, you can add creative touches without going overboard.

Save your file correctly

Save your cover letter as a PDF file to preserve its original appearance and font style. To do this, click File in your word processing software and choose Save As. Select the PDF file format from the dropdown and click Save. Other file formats, including .doc and .docx, may display your carefully chosen font incorrectly on the hiring manager’s computer.

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The best fonts for your resume ranked

Before you submit another resume, make sure you’re using one of these recruiter-approved fonts.

Recruiters take six seconds to decide whether or not to toss your resume, so the right font makes a big difference.

Your resume communicates your skills, assets and hire-ability. So if a recruiter can’t read it, or is put off by a funky font, you won’t even get a second look.

“The most important thing is that your font is scannable, easy to read,” says Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume. “Because so many recruiters are reading resumes on-the-go, you’d also be smart to chose a font that’s easy to read on a mobile device, which means a sans serif font like Arial, Tahoma or Calibri.”

With so much being made of “personal brand,” it’s natural to want to stand out or make a statement. Augustine says you can still have some style, as long as you stay with one of these 10 resume-friendly fonts, ranked in order of preference.

1. Calibri

Soft, gentle and modern, this is the default font of many email programs, so it’s familiar to the eye—and it’s a safe sans serif font.

2. Times New Roman

“For legal, operations and corporate jobs, this formal serif font is still readable electronically and goes with the brick-and-mortar feel of those industries,” says Augustine.

3. Arial

This classic sans serif font “is a great choice for creative people or those in a marketing field,” according to Augustine.

4. Verdana

Like Arial, this is another clean and modern font that’s even easier to read because of the slightly wider spacing.

5. Cambria

This is another default-type font that recruiters are familiar with, so you can’t go too wrong with it. It’s not as formal as Times New Roman, but just as dependable.

6. Garamond

More graceful than some if its sans serif friends, Garamond might suit artistic types more than bankers or executives.

7. Book Antiqua

As its name suggests, Book Antiqua would work well for professions in the arts or humanities.

8. Trebuchet MS 

Friendly and round, this is probably a good choice for creative or marketing fields.

9. Arial Narrow

If you’re tight on space, this sans serif is modern and still legible even in its narrow form.

10. Didot

This has style and panache, yet it is still readable. It’s probably the most artistic font that’s still professional enough to use on your resume.

Writing your resume and could use some help? A great first step is to join Monster. As a member, you can upload up to five different versions of your resume and make it searchable to recruiters.

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