If the “include a cover letter” requirement catches you off-guard, you’ll probably download a template, fill it up in haste, and submit it.
Rarely do candidates pause and give some thought to the font choice, but this can backfire.
The wrong cover letter font can make you seem unprofessional, highlight the typos in the document, and ruin the one-page appeal.
Thankfully, there are a few safe font options that can help you optimize your job application!
- What Font Should a Cover Letter Be?
- Why Are Cover Letter Fonts Important?
- How to Choose the Best Cover Letter Font
- Which Font Size is Best for Cover Letter?
- Best Fonts for Cover Letter
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
What Font Should a Cover Letter Be?
The ideal cover letter font needs to be readable, professional, ATS-friendly, and optimized for the submission method.
It also needs to match the body font in the resume and other documents in the job application.
What is the Most Professional Font for a Cover Letter?
The best font for a cover letter varies depending on whether you’ll print the cover letter or email it to the hiring manager.
Serif typefaces are more professional in print. That’s because they’re reminiscent of old typewriter fonts and add a bit of flow to the text.
Meanwhile, sans-serif typefaces are suitable options for people who submit their job applications digitally. They’re more optimized for screen displays and can mimic neat handwriting!
Serif vs Sans Serif Fonts: What’s the difference?
Why Are Cover Letter Fonts Important?
Crafting a cover letter is already a hassle for most job seekers, and adding more factors to the equation feels counterproductive. It’s not in vain, though.
Here’s why putting some thought into the font choice is worth it:
The number one reason to care about font is personal branding. Unified font between the resume and cover letter ties the whole job application together.
Even within the same document, jumping from one font to another can make the letter seem messy. Sure, you want your application to stand out from the crowd, but the last thing you want is to stand out like a sore thumb because you used clashing fonts!
Imagine you’re a hiring manager who receives a cover letter printed in comic sans—wouldn’t you toss that out?
Some people like quirky aesthetics, but that fails to help the recruiter see you through a professional lens.
After all, the cover letter is supposed to add context and complement the definition of a CV to
You can tweak formatting aspects like font and line spacing to get the proper length for your document.
For instance, a 300-word letter in Arial 11pt sits at around half-page to two-thirds of a page, which is a suitable length for cover letters. Try using 16pt, and your text will run to the next page!
To nail those first impressions in a cover letter, you need to cater to two aspects:
- Great content about why you’re the ideal candidate (look for tips to write a great cover letter)
- Sleek visuals that paint a picture of an adept employee (formatting is the key!)
Size and Readability
If the hiring manager has to squint to read your letter, you’ve already ruined your chances of receiving a job offer.
How to Choose the Best Cover Letter Font
Here are three simple tips to keep in mind when you’re picking a typeface for your cover letter:
Choose a Clear Font
The first criterion to look for in fonts is clarity. If you force the hiring managers to put extra effort into reading, they could fixate on errors.
Did you know that readers are less likely to notice typos in sans-serif than those in serif typefaces?
That’s not to say that you don’t need to proofread, but it goes to show that using a font optimized for screen vs print makes all the difference!
You can prepare a second version of the cover letter in a different font, preferably a classic serif typeface if you want to carry a printed copy.
Choose a Classic Font
It’s hard to get on the hiring manager’s nerves if you go with something timeless.
Yet another reason to favor classic fonts is that they make your life easier when you’re unifying the format across other documents in the job application. That’s why it’s better to check the resume font or the typeface used in the CV template before picking a font for your cover letter.
Don’t worry too much about ending up with a generic cover letter because you used classic fonts. A catchy hook and a well-crafted closing paragraph will be more than enough to make the letter unique.
Make Sure it’s Readable
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for professional fonts. Ultimately, you need to try different font types and sizes to see what makes your cover letter template pop.
Before submitting the cover letter, ask someone to take a look. You’re good to go if the paragraphs appear distinct instead of looking like a solid wall of text.
If not, tweak the size, use black text to boost contrast, and correctly space the cover letter. If all these fail, switch the font itself.
Which Font Size is Best for Cover Letter?
Many cover letter templates come in 12pt font by default. This font size is readable with most typefaces and doesn’t take up a ton of space.
If you follow the best cover letter format practices, you should end up with a half-page cover letter. That said, you can always decrease the size if you need to add more text.
Is 11 Point Font Okay for Cover Letter?
Yes, although some people prefer even numbers for font sizes, it’s possible to use 11pt.
Ideally, you’ll only shift from 12pt to 11pt if your text runs beyond two-thirds of a page and you want to tighten the body a bit.
Is Size 10 Font Okay for Cover Letter?
Yes, you can choose 10pt instead of 12pt. In fact, Gmail’s “Normal” font is set to 10pt by default, and it’s perfectly readable.
However, we wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than 10pt. If your cover letter exceeds one page in 10pt, you wrote too much. Aim for around 300 words and try again.
Best Fonts for Cover Letter
There’s a wide range of fonts used by cover letter creators, and any of them will do the trick.
Yet, the following six fonts are some of the best options out there:
Times New Roman
You can’t go wrong with the classic serif typeface Times New Roman. It looks a lot like Georgia, but it’s narrower. That’s why it can help you keep the cover letter tight.
Arial is a default body copy font for many resume templates for a good reason. Some psychologists have found that Arial reflects a sense of reliability!
Calibri, a sans-serif font, is a popular choice for resumes and cover letters. In font psychology, Calibri has slightly higher perceived legibility than Arial.
Garamond is a refined serif typeface that works well for formal documents.
However, you’ll find variations, like the EB Garamond or the Adobe Garamond, depending on the editing tool you’re using.
If you’re looking for a hint of flair, Helvetica is the way to go. It’s elegant without being an overly fancy font.
It also happens to be the standard choice for IRS tax forms. That’s one way to present your cover letter as a document to be taken seriously!
Using a transitional serif typeface like Cambria can offer the best of both worlds; it’ll look good in print and on-screen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Arial or Calibri Better for a Resume?
None of them is more professional than the other, and the best font choice depends on your needs.
Calibri can be a better option if you need to fit more text into your resume, but some people find Arial more visually pleasing.
Is a 1.5 Page Cover Letter Okay?
No, a cover letter that exceeds a one-page document is too long.
Half a page is the sweet spot, but you can get away with two-thirds of a page as long as every sentence adds value.
It’s tough to say that there’s one go-to font for formal business letters, but there are some fail-proof options.
Sans-serif typefaces like Arial, Calibri, and Helvetica can be great for PDF cover letters. Meanwhile, serif typefaces like Garamond, Cambria, and the classic Times New Roman work well for printed documents.
Do you have a preferred font that we didn’t mention here? Leave a comment if you’re wondering if it’s professional enough for a cover letter.