Best Font For Cover Letter When Applying For A Job

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 4, 2020

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Having fantastic content is the most important part of a cover letter. However, your text needs to be presented in a way that makes it easy to read. If your cover letter is hard to read, many people will give up and toss your job application aside.

There are so many things to consider when writing a cover letter for your job search. Not only do the words need to be compelling, but it needs to be formatted in a way that is professional and easy to read as well. Knowing the best cover letter typeface and size can help your cover letter to stand out.

Cover Letters Are an Important Part of Decision Making for Hires

The cover letter is like the teaser for your resume. If you are worried about how to write an entry-level cover letter, I advise that you don’t use a template. The other day, I saw an ad offer a cover letter that is free, fast, and done to create a cover letter from a template. That was really frustrating. Why would anyone want to do that? A cover letter is your chance to let your personality and experience shine.

A cover letter highlights some of the best qualifications you offer as a candidate. It shows your passion and motivation for wanting to join a company. Plus, it shows a few reasons why your skills and experience are a perfect match for their job opening. You want it to make your cover letter stand out so the hiring manager can interview you.

Cover letters help you to:

  • Stand out against candidates who apply without a cover letter.

  • Entice recruiters to read your resume.

  • Explain career gaps.

  • Discuss reasons for changing careers.

  • Share the value and ROI you brought in the positions you have held.

This article will show you the best font typefaces and font sizes you can use in your cover letter. By using one of them, you will significantly improve your cover letter’s professionalism and readability.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Choosing the Right Font

Whether you’re aware or not, the font you use plays a vital role in your cover letter’s appearance. The way you format your cover letter can improve your cover letter’s overall aesthetic and allow hiring managers and recruiters to read the content easier.

But if you carelessly pick a random font, it might hurt how your cover letter looks and its readability.

You want to format your cover letter, so the typeface is clean and easy to read. Here are some of the reasons why choosing the right font matters.

  • Professional – It’s essential to use a font that looks professional. If you use an artsy font, it doesn’t come across seriously.

  • Consistent for print/web – Select a font that views well in both email and print. Hiring Managers will probably first see your cover letter online. Then they may print it for closer review.

  • Web-safe fonts. These are fonts that are compatible with both Macintosh and Windows devices. Your cover letter font should view consistently on an Apple device or a Windows PC. Make sure to check your cover letter on different devices, screens, and browsers to ensure that your font looks good everywhere.

  • PDF compatible. When you convert your cover letter to pdf, you want to ensure that the formatting remains clean in the newly created document. Helvetica or Arial will convert cleanly in regular, bold, italic, and bold italic.

  • Clean – Sans serif fonts are a standard web-friendly type font. It’s easy to read on-screen. Plus, it views well consistently across multiple browsers.

  • Easy to read – Some of your recruiters will be older. Using a small font size may allow you to include more on a page, but it makes your cover letter more difficult to read for older hiring managers who wear glasses or readers.

Best Font Families: Let’s Talk Typeface

So what are the best recruiter approved fonts? There are generally two types of web fonts available.

  • Serif fonts: The most notable feature of these fonts are the small line at the end of a big stroke in a letter or symbol.

  • San serif fonts are the favorite font face to choose for readability. It does not have extensions called “serifs” at the end of strokes. Most fonts from this family usually have a similar stroke width, making it appear modern and minimalistic. Google and Facebook use sans-serif fonts.

    San serif fonts are easier to read on a computer screen. So if a hiring manager reads your cover letter on their smartphone, it will be easy to read. It also prints cleanly too. So if they like your cover letter and want to print it out to review more thoroughly, it will still look crisp and clean.

  • TrueType fonts are the most common format for fonts on Mac and Windows operating systems. The benefit of TrueType fonts is that they display precisely at various font sizes. That means that whether you size the font to 8 or 18, you’ll still be able to read it cleanly on a computer screen. Arial, Trebuchet, and Verdana are TrueType Fonts.

    • Arial. This is a sans serif font. This classic font is clean and easy to read. That’s why it’s one of the most popular fonts used for business communications. It is the default font in Google Docs. Arial was first created by IBM. But later, Microsoft chose to include Arial in their Windows software.

    • Trebuchet. This sans-serif typeface was actually designed for Microsoft Corporation by Vincent Connare. It was created to display nicely on a computer screen.

    • Verdana. This sans-serif typeface was also designed to be viewed on computer monitors. It’s an easily readable typeface even when using small font sizes.

    • Helvetica. This is a sans serif font that is one of the most popular and widely used fonts. It’s a neutral font that is suitable for any type of business communication.

    • Calibri. This is a sans serif font. It is the default font for Microsoft Office. It also replaced Arial as the default in PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and WordPad.

What Font Sizes to Cover Letter

You want to use a font size that is easy to read for the majority of recruiters and hiring managers. With employers reading hundreds of resumes online, you want to ensure your font size reduces eye strain.

We recommend between 10 to 12 points in size for the main cover letter text. For headers, you can boost the font size to 13 to 16 points for emphasis.

Tips to Boost your Cover Letter Readability

Want to make your cover letter stand out? Here are some steps to add more impact.

  • Personalize. Don’t send the same cookie-cutter letter. Take time to read their job description and learn about the company. Then write how and why you are a match for their job opening.

  • Scannability. Most hiring managers are not going to read your cover letter from start to finish. They are going to scan for what they are looking for. They have to sort through piles and piles of resumes to pull out a select few to review.

    If they select yours out of the pile, they look your letter over quickly rather than read it word for word. So it’s imperative to format your cover letter so that if a recruiter glossed over it, they could quickly grasp the key points.

  • Small sections. Try to keep your paragraphs shorter. Group information in small sections that a reader can easily scan and find information on a specific point. That way, if they jump from one section to the next, they’ll spot more of the highlights of your document.

  • Uniqueness. Don’t take things word for word in your resume and include them in your cover letter. You don’t want employers to think that you don’t have creativity. Take the time to wordsmith and create original text about the points you are trying to make.

  • Proofread. You have probably been working on your resume and cover letter for hours. So it’s hard to spot typos and other errors. Print your cover letter out. Read it out loud. That will help you find grammatical, punctuation, and formatting errors. Plus, you’ll probably find areas that would sound better with an edit to smooth it out.

  • Consistency. Use a consistent typeface and size for both your cover letter and resume. That way, visually, they look like they belong together. It creates a more polished, cohesive look.

  • Bullets. If you need to list items in your cover letter, it is much better to use bullets for both readability and scannability. It ensures that your information is well organized and listed in an order that makes sense. Plus, it adds visual appeal by leading the reader down the page.

Final Steps to Polish Your Cover Letter

On the first day, draft your thoughts and write the cover letter. On the second day, go through the letter carefully to make everything perfect before finalizing it. Using this two-day writing method will help you write more powerful cover letters.

We have shown you the best cover letter font and size. Now that you know the best choices, it’s time to decide which is the most suitable for your own use.

Good luck job hunting!

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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