Go With the Times, Man—Choose the Best Font for a Cover Letter
Whether you are stepping into the unforgiving world of job hunting for the first time or are a veteran looking for a new opportunity, you have probably heard of the importance of writing a cover letter.
You know what a cover letter is and why it is necessary—it enables you to showcase a bit of your personality to the hiring manager and present your experience and qualifications for the position. But did you know that choosing the right (or wrong) font for a cover letter leaves a lasting impression on recruiters too?
Selecting the right font type for your resume and cover letter says a lot about your professionalism and can increase your chances of getting a callback. But how do you choose a font when there are literally hundreds of them?
In this article, we will provide you with the top tips and tricks for choosing the best font for a cover letter. We will also help you make your cover letter stand out among thousands of others, no matter where you apply for a job.
Choosing the Right Font—Why Is It So Important?
It is essential to choose the “right” font to increase the readability of your document both by an applicant tracking system (ATS) and recruiters.
ATS is software used by most large corporations that scans documents for specific keywords and shortlists candidates for the next step in the hiring process. Since an ATS is technically a bot, you need to select a font that will be accepted by the software and forward your cover letter to a human.
Whether your cover letter passes the ATS test or the company you applied for doesn’t use it, you have to think about the hiring manager as well. Bear in mind that they prefer cover letters that are easy to read and look professional.
How can you ensure that? By selecting a simple font with a clean look.
Since simplicity is the key when choosing a winning font for your cover letter, you should avoid fonts that:
- Are difficult to read
- Have special characters
- Have too many stylistic flourishes
Recommended Font Types for Cover Letters
Two types of fonts are widely acknowledged and accepted by hiring managers everywhere. Those are:
- Serif fonts—These fonts are considered classic and traditional. The letters in this font have lines on the edges, the so-called “tails”, which make the eyes flow through the horizontal text easily. A common example of a Serif font is Times New Roman
- Sans serif fonts—These fonts do not have “tails” at the end of their letters, so they look more modern, sleek, and minimalistic. A popular example of this type of font is Calibri
See the table below for examples of other Serif and Sans Serif fonts you can use for your cover letter:
|Serif Font Examples||Sans Serif Font Examples|
|Times New Roman|
Does Size Matter When It Comes to Fonts?
When it comes to font size, you should follow the Goldilocks principle—it should be neither too big nor too small for an A4-sized page. The ideal font size that makes your cover letter easily readable is 10–12 pt.
Bear in mind that a 12 pt Arial is larger than a 12 pt Times New Roman—you should adjust the size according to the font you choose. You’ll know you’ve found an ideal font size if the cover letter fits on a single page—reduce the font size if the text spills to the next page, but increase it if the page looks empty.
Other Font-astic Tips You Should Know
Looking for more useful advice? Check out the table below for the best font-related tips and tricks that will make your document look more professional:
|Tips and Tricks||Brief Explanation|
|Be consistent||Make sure that you use the same font type and size throughout the document. Using different font types in different parts of the cover letter can make you seem sloppy and unprofessional and decrease the document’s readability|
|Use standard formatting||Note that specific formatting can cause an ATS to instantly reject your application and prevent it from ever reaching a hiring manager. Avoid doing any of the following:|
|Save the document in a proper format||Before you send the cover letter via email, save the document in PDF to retain the formatting and font style. Other file formats, such as .doc or docx, might display your formatting incorrectly on the recruiter’s computer|
Must-Know Information About the Cover Letter Structure
Source: Christina Morillo
You might know everything about choosing the best font, but mapping out the structure of your cover letter is just as important.
A cover letter should have the following components:
- Heading—A section that includes your personal information, such as your name, phone number, email address, and a LinkedIn profile (especially important if you’re applying for an entry-level position). Your mailing address is not necessary
- Formal greeting—This serves to address the recruiter and make the cover letter look more professional. Avoid informal language, emoticons, or abbreviations
- Body—A few paragraphs containing details about your experience, skills, and qualifications. There’s no need to list them all—focus on those that are relevant for the position
- Conclusion—A brief paragraph where you thank the HR manager for their time, explain why you would be a great addition to their company, and encourage them to reach out to you
- Line spacing and alignment—Your document should be single-spaced, and the text should be aligned to the left
- Margins—Set the margins on the document to 1 inch from all sides. You can reduce it to 0.7 inches if you have more text and increase it to 1.5 inches if the document looks empty
- Spacing between paragraphs—Each paragraph should be separated by a single space as it makes the document easier to read
- Bold formatting—This will help you emphasize specific parts of the text that you want to catch the hiring manager’s eye because they show you’re the perfect candidate for the job, such as your key achievements, qualifications, experience, and any specific certification relevant for the position
I’ve Got My Cover Letter All Covered—What’s Next?
Have you chosen a suitable font and written an outstanding cover letter? The next stage is using it to land a job.
While the unemployment rate has decreased from 15% in 2020 to 6% in 2021—according to the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics—the situation is still far from ideal. Statistics reveal that approximately 4,200,000 individuals stay unemployed for an average of 27 weeks!
Drafting a superb resume and cover letter is a great first step, but there are many other factors to consider when looking for a job. Having to keep track of all your applications on different forums is frustrating enough, but even finding a job doesn’t mean you’ll be satisfied in the long run—it may not be a good cultural fit for you.
Do you want an easier solution? Choose Lensa!
Lensa is a job board aggregator website that not only facilitates your job search but also matches you with perfect employment opportunities based on more than your desired salary and location.
Key advantages of choosing Lensa are:
- Access to job ads from multiple job boards—Lensa collects them all on a single platform
- Opportunity to play the Workstyle game and learn more about your soft skills
- Personalized job suggestions based on your requirements, personality traits, and professional strengths
- Email notifications and SMS alerts regarding new job opportunities
- Evaluation of your resume based on its ATS-friendliness
A Step-by-Step Approach to Registering for Lensa
You can register for Lensa for free by following these straightforward instructions:
- Go to the Lensa website
- Enter details about your preferred job title and location
- Provide your email address
Once you have completed these steps, you can start your job search, learn more about making informed career decisions, or build your profile to get more advanced employment opportunities.
You can also do the following:
- Add your mobile number to get notifications for new job openings
- Enter more details about your qualifications and experience
- Provide your ideal salary range
- Upload your resume and portfolio
Completing the above-mentioned actions will enable you to get personalized job suggestions—and cut down the time needed to find a job.