When it comes to job search, every small detail can play for or against you. Spelling, layout, stylistic highlights, fonts — the tiny design tweaks can amplify or muddle the first impression you are to make.
All of the above is true for cover letters too. The easiest way to make the wrong first impression is by using a terrible cover letter font. OK, but which ones are good ones and which ones are bad?
I’ve talked to our graphic design team (the one behind all our resume templates!) to get their scoop on the best fonts for cover letters.
What is the Best Font for a Cover Letter?
The best font for a cover letter is Times New Roman. It’s a classic serif typeface that’s been in use for over 85 years. Times New Roman uses space economically which makes it easier to fit your cover letter into one page. This font looks equally great in print and in digital documents, plus it is supported by all major word processors and email apps. So your cover letter will be 100% readable!
What is the Best Font Size for a Cover Letter?
The best font size for a cover letter is 12 points. This is a standard font size for most business documents — not too big, not too small for different screen sizes. You can also opt for 10 or 11 points cover letter font size if you need to fit more information into one page, but this can affect the readability of your letter.
Best Fonts for a Professional Cover Letter: Overview
But because Times New Roman is a serif font, it might be hard to read for people with dyslexia or other types of reading disorders. So if you want to be extra mindful, you can look for another professional cover letter font.
Just make sure it is:
- Serif or sans serif (avoid calligraphic typefaces)
- Readable (i.e. don’t have too many fancy elements)
- Widely supported by word processing apps
- Not Comic Sans (which is universally deemed unprofessional)
To help you narrow down your choice, here are several more best fonts for a professional cover letter we recommend using.
Arial font has been around since the 1980s. You are probably well-familiar with it if you are a Windows user. Arial has been the default font for this operating system since the 1990s. It’s a web-friendly sans serif typeface. However, many graphic designers suggest avoiding Arial in print as it ends up looking somewhat plain, especially in bigger sizes.
But since most of us dispatch email cover letters these days, it shouldn’t be much of a concern.
Helvetica is a Swiss-born typeface as its name indicates (Helvetia is the Latin word for Switzerland). Originally created by a freelance designer for a Haus foundry, it became hugely popular thanks to Apple. While Microsoft chose Arial as the main font for its OS, Apple picked Helvetica for the same purpose.
Helvetica is also a sans serif font and it’s very readable. That’s because it has even kerning in any variation — bold, italic, or skinny — which gives the reader a sense of clean spacing.
Calibri is a digital-native sans serif post. It was created specifically for online documents in the early 2000s — and presented to the general public with Microsoft Office 2007 and Windows Vista releases. Up till today, it remains the default font in MS Office.
It has a pleasant rounded feel to it, paired with a tight layout. Thanks to it, you can flexibly change text size without losing resolution. So if you need to fit a longer cover letter into one page, try using Calibri in size 11.
Don’t let this name trick you — the Georgia typeface was designed in the US in the 1990s for Microsoft corporation (again). But it was introduced only in 2006 as one of the standard fonts.
Georgia was originally envisioned as an alternative serif font to Times New Roman, which would look better on smaller screen sizes. Times New Roman becomes hard to read in small sizes.
Overall, Georgia is a great cover letter font option for those who want to add some extra “personality” to your cover letter, while still maintaining professionalism.
Garamond is another fine example of a time-tested font. It was modeled after an old-styled Latin typeface, used by a 16th-century engraver Claude Garamond. But don’t let its age deter you, Garamond looks fresher compared to other popular serif fonts like Times New Roman and Georgia. So if you want to give your cover letter a subtle creative flair, go for this option.
Verdana typeface family is another ‘brainchild’ of Microsoft Corporation, released in the late 1990s. It was modeled after humanist sans serif fonts such as the ones still used by the London Underground.
Yet Verdana has a more modern feel to it and touts generous width and spacing between letters. It also has a prominent distinction between frequently confused letters just as lowercase i j l, the uppercase I J L, and the number 1.
Making Cover Letter Font Selection Easier
If you feel that typography isn’t your forte, go with a “safe” choice of Times New Roman. Yes, it’s somewhat overused, but this fact doesn’t make it less professional. Alternatively, opt for popular sans serif fonts such as Ariel, Helvetica, or Verdana. There you go — you now have no more excuses for not working on your cover letter!