Picking the best font for your CV and cover letter is important because it significantly influences how your job application looks to the employer.

But with more than 700 fonts in Word — not to mention hundreds of thousands available from other platforms — how do you choose the right one for your application documents?

To help you make the right font choice and make a CV and build a cover letter that look as good as they read, our experts have compiled 15 professional fonts your potential employer will appreciate. We’ve also outlined how to size and style your text so no detail gets lost in the formatting.

What’s the best font for a CV?

Here are our top tips for making the best CV font choices:

  1. Choose a widely used font with clean, simple lettering — Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Verdana are good examples
  2. Use a black, 10–12 point font for the main content of your CV
  3. Make your name large (up to 30 points) so it catches the employer’s attention
  4. Bold section headings and make them bigger than the main text

What’s the best cover letter font?

The best font for your cover letter is the font you used to write your CV. If your CV and cover letter fonts differ, you’ll stand out to employers as lacking attention to detail.

15 professional fonts for CVs and cover letters in 2024

The specific font type that you choose will influence your job application’s appearance. If you choose wisely, you can align your application with the company culture to give yourself an edge over other applicants.

The 15 cover letter and CV fonts below will help you make a professional job application.

And to help you make the right choice, we included:

  1. whether each font is sans serif (straight) or serif (curly)
  2. which word processors include the font
  3. where you can download the font (if necessary)
A simple visual example showing the differences between a sans serif font and a serif font
Serif fonts are considered more ‘formal’, while sans serifs are more ‘modern’.

Consider using a serif font if you work in a traditional industry (like banking) and a sans serif if you’re seeking a modern role (in tech, for instance) to match your job application to your target company.

1. Arial

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Arial. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

One of the first fonts to appear in Google Docs and Microsoft Word, Arial is suitable for a wide range of industries, from marketing to hospitality.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Pages
  • Arial is not open source, but you can download Arimo, a similar style, from Google Fonts

2. Calibri

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Calibri. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Calibri is another modern font that’s highly readable on screen and in print. Calibri was introduced in 2007 as the default font for Microsoft Office, so it’s a popular choice for business and finance roles.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs
  • Calibri is not open source, but you can download Open Sans, a similar style, from Google Fonts

3. Times New Roman

An example of a black serif CV font, Times New Roman. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Times New Roman is a serif font that was designed in 1931 for The Times newspaper in London. It’s now one of the most widely used fonts in the world.

Considered one of the standard fonts for CVs and cover letter writing, Times New Roman is easy to read in small sizes so it’ll help you save space as you’re making your CV.

  • Font type: Serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Pages
  • Times New Roman is not open source, but you can download Gupter, a similar style, from Google Fonts

4. Garamond

An example of a black serif CV font, Garamond. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Garamond has been used in printed materials and books since the 16th century, making it suitable for fields in which credibility and readability are important (e.g., law, finance, education, and research).

  • Font type: Serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs
  • Download from: Google Fonts

5. Cambria

An example of a black serif CV font, Cambria. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Cambria is a serif font that Microsoft released in 2004. This versatile font has a classic, small serif design that makes it easy to read, even on small screens.

  • Font type: Serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs
  • Cambria is not open source, but you can download Source Serif 4, a similar style, from Google Fonts

6. Helvetica

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Helvetica. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Helvetica is one of the most widely used typefaces in the UK and features in many international logos and branding campaigns (including BMW and NASA).

A good CV font to use because of its minimalistic design, Helvetica’s straight lines, and rounded shapes make your CV and cover letter appear neat.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Pages
  • Helvetica is not open source, but you can download Roboto, a similar style, from Google Fonts

7. Didot

An example of a black serif CV font, Didot. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Designed in the 18th century, Didot is still widely used today in high-end books, magazines, and newspapers.

Didot can give a polished touch to your job application documents, which is especially useful if you work in fashion, art, or design. This font’s tall, elegant letterforms look particularly good in headings and subheadings.

  • Font type: Serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Pages
  • Download from: Google Fonts

8. Georgia

An example of a black serif CV font, Georgia. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Named after the Canadian newspaper The Georgia Straight and made for newspaper prints, Georgia later became a core font for Microsoft.

Georgia comes as a default font on many computers, so applying this font to your CV means employers can scan your documents with no issues.

  • Font type: Serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Pages
  • Georgia is not open source, but you can download Tinos, a similar style, from Google Fonts

9. Lato

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Lato. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Lato is a sans serif font that was designed in 2010. This typeface’s rounded shapes and slightly curved lines produce an elegant and professional look that can help you create an attractive CV that employers will enjoy reading.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Pages
  • Download from: Google Fonts

10. Trebuchet MS

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Trebuchet MS. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Trebuchet MS was designed in 1996 for use on the web. Trebuchet MS is known for its slightly wider letters, which makes it readable on lower-resolution screens.

This sans serif font has been optimised for both digital and print use, making it a great font choice for your CV and cover letter.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Pages
  • Trebuchet MS is not open source, but you can download Fira Sans, a similar style, from Google Fonts

11. Inter

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Inter. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Inter is a versatile and modern font known for its excellent readability on both digital screens and in print.

A great choice for CVs and cover letters, Inter can give your application a clean look suitable for a wide range of industries and employers.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Google Docs
  • Download from: Google Fonts

12. Poppins

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Poppins. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

With its curved, geometric design, Poppins is a modern font with a little extra personality. Tall lowercase lettering makes this font easy to read even in small text sizes. As a result, Poppins is a great choice if your text is pushing your content past the recommended CV length and cover letter page limit.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Pages
  • Download from: Google Fonts

13. Palatino

An example of a black serif CV font, Palatino. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Based on the type forms of the Italian Renaissance, Palatino has a timeless look that can help you emphasise professionalism on your CV and in your cover letter.

Decorative flourishes at the end of the main letter strokes (such as the ‘Q’) contribute to Palatino’s refined and elegant appearance.

  • Font type: Serif
  • Available on: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Pages
  • Palatino is not open source, but you can download URW Palladio, a free version, from Fontesk

14. Noto Sans

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Noto Sans. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Boasting impressive multilingual accessibility, Noto Sans was designed to correctly render characters in a vast number of scripts, including Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Hebrew.

This open-source font was designed to be highly readable in a wide range of applications, with slightly wide yet straightforward lettering that still looks clear in small text sizes.

  • Font type: Sans serif
  • Available on: Google Docs, Pages
  • Download from: Google Fonts

15. Montserrat

An example of a black sans serif CV font, Montserrat. The name of the font is underlined above a short work experience entry that demonstrates what the bolded, italicised, and regular versions of the font look like.

Inspired by the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of the same name, Montserrat has a clean design, characterised by straight lines and circular shapes.

The uppercase and lowercase letterforms of this font are wide set yet balanced, improving readability and contributing to a distinctive, contemporary appearance.

  • Font type: Serif
  • Available on: Google Docs, Pages
  • Download from: Google Fonts

What’s the best cover letter and CV font size?

The best font size for standard body text should be between 10 and 12 points. Subheadings can be slightly larger — normally 13–14 points is ideal.

For the header on your cover letter and CV, use a larger font size (28–35 points) for your name so it stands out, and then use a regular body text size for your contact details.

But remember that fonts vary in width and spacing, which means that some fonts will take up more space on your CV even if they’re the same font size. So you can experiment with fonts slightly larger or smaller than the recommended point ranges above to find the perfect size for your application documents.

Serif fonts usually have slightly smaller lowercase letters than sans serif fonts, so you may want to use a slightly larger font size if you’re using a serif font.

3 tips for formatting your fonts professionally

Correct font formatting will make your CV and cover letter look balanced and professional — and it’s not all that tricky to get right. Here are three font formatting tips that’ll help you make a great first impression on your target employer.

1. Pick a more creative font for headers and a simple font for body text

Using a different font for your cover letter and CV headers, as well as your CV’s section headers, creates visual contrast and is a great way to show your design skills. Your name will stand out more to the employer, and your application documents will be easier to skim for key information.

Create a cohesive look by choosing two professional fonts that complement each other.

A popular approach is to choose a sans-serif font (like Lato, Poppins, or Montserrat) for the CV and section headers and a serif font (like Times New Roman, Cambria, Palatino) for the main text. The sans serif headers will make your CV layout and cover letter format look clean and well-structured, while the serif font will emphasise your professionalism.

A personal statement demonstrating how serif and sans serif fonts look when paired together. The section heading uses the sans serif font Inter, while the main text uses the serif font Georgia.

2. Bold or italicise subheadings

Bold or italicise your subheadings to highlight additional information and make longer CV sections easier to scan for information.

There’s no specific rule for bolding and italicising your CV. One good approach is to bold the start of each work experience and education entry (normally the job/degree title) to improve readability.

You can also use italics when you include additional information within a work experience or education entry (for example, you add a relevant modules header to your CV education section).

An example of professional CV font formatting, which shows a serif section header and sans serif education section with bolding and italics to highlight key information.

Typically, cover letters don’t have headers to format. But you can try bolding the date, your cover letter’s salutation (for example, Dear Ms Jones,) and your name in your sign-off to provide a clear structure and a pleasant contrast to the regular paragraph text.

3. Stick to subtle font colours

Black fonts look most professional on CVs and cover letters, especially for body text. But if you want to add a little colour to your application, then you can change the colour of your CV and section headers.

Pick subtle hues like navy blue or maroon. You don’t want the employer to see your CV as flashy and unprofessional.

A CV font example with a maroon header and black body text, which shows how you can use subtle colours in your header font.

4. Use an AI builder that picks and formats the best fonts for you

Is your head spinning from all the font choices and formatting tips we’ve presented? Let HR experts choose and format the best font for you by using a job application document builder.

A good CV builder offers you several template choices with fonts optimised for readability by professional designers. And the best builders include the option to build a cover letter in a matching template:

Build My CV Now

Frequently asked questions about professional fonts

Still have questions about what font to use on your CV and cover letter? Here are expert answers to five of the most common questions about picking a professional font:

1. What fonts should I avoid using for my CV and cover letter?

Avoid using any fonts that are difficult to read. For example, don’t use stylised fonts designed to look like joined-up writing, as people aren’t used to reading such scripts.

There’s no set rule for determining whether a font is professional or not, but you should be able to tell at a glance. If a font looks like it would fit well on an informal party invitation, it’s best to avoid using it for your CV and cover letter.

2. What’s the best cover letter spacing?

The best cover letter spacing between lines is 1–1.5 spaces. Double-spacing makes a cover letter look like a university essay (ie., unprofessional), while anything below single-spaced crams your text too close together, making it difficult to read.

On a related note, set your cover letter’s margins to 1.27–2.5 cm. Usually, the default margins in your writing software are fine, but you can make them larger to extend your text and make the page appear full, or shrink your margins to fit extra text on a single page.

3. Is Arial Narrow a good font for CVs?

Yes, Arial Narrow is a good font for CVs. According to Microsoft, Arial Narrow is ideal for a variety of content that requires clear communication — such as essays and newspapers.

Also, Arial Narrow’s efficient design makes it perfect for squeezing extra information into your application documents without pushing them onto extra pages.

4. What is the most professional font?

There is no single most professional font. Rather, any easy-to-read, commonly used font is a professional font. For instance, the 15 fonts we mentioned above are all equally professional choices.

5. Is it okay to bold words in a cover letter?

Using different font styles can help you make your top qualifications easy for employers to find in your cover letter. Here are the cover letter font styles you can use:

  • Bold: Putting important information in bold text makes it stand out. But don’t overuse bolded text, or you’ll achieve the opposite effect.
  • Italic: Another way to make words in your cover letter stand out is by italicising them. However, italic text is best for emphasising emotions in your writing (e.g., ‘I’ve never met a spreadsheet I didn’t love’) because they’re not as easy to read as bold text is.
  • Underlined: You can use underlined text to emphasise both information and emotions in your cover letter. But only use underlining in a printed cover letter because people reading on-screen may associate the underline with a clickable link.
  • Coloured: The main place you can use coloured text is for your name in your cover letter header as a design feature. Just make sure the colour is easy to read and professional (e.g., dark blue or green rather than neon yellow). You could match the colour of any bolded text in your cover letter body to your title, but consult with a professional designer to make sure it looks good.
  • All caps: The only place you can use ALL CAPS is for your name in a cover letter header. Doing so helps your name stand out to employers. Never use all caps in your cover letter body because it’ll make the reader feel like you’re yelling at them.

Reddit users often ask these questions about fonts for CVs and cover letters

Here are answers to three common Reddit questions about how to pick fonts for cover letters and CVs:

1. What are some good font pairings for a CV or cover letter?

Here are some good font pairings our designers use to make professional CVs and cover letters:

  • Lato (for headers) and Poppins Light (for body text):
A cover letter and CV font pairing example showing a personal statement using Lato for its header and Poppins Light for its body text.
This font pairing comes from a free-downloadable data analyst CV example
  • Montserrat (for headers) and Muli (for body text):
A cover letter and CV font pairing example showing a cover letter header and opening using Montserrat for its header and Muli for its body text.
This font pairing comes from a free-downloadable retail cover letter example
  • Times New Roman (for headers) and Calibri (for body text):
A cover letter and CV font pairing example showing a personal statement using Times New Roman for its header and Calibri for its body text.
This font pairing comes from a free-downloadable personal assistant CV example

For more font pairing ideas, view good CV templates and cover letter templates online.

2. Do I need to use the same font size on my cover letter and CV?

It’s best to use the same font size on your cover letter and CV. Employers will read both application documents in succession, so they’ll notice if you significantly increased the font size on your cover letter — and they may wonder if you did so to make up for a lack of content.

However, if you need to adjust the size, make it a .5-point difference. This size difference is small enough that most readers won’t notice.

3. What font is used for academic CVs?

There’s no standard font for an academic CV, as any professional font will do. However, you can consider using a serif font to match the traditional fonts used in textbooks — such as Garamond — to give your CV an authoritative look.

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Written by

Aaron Case

Aaron Case is a CPRW & Senior CV Expert at CV Genius with 8+ years of experience in writing and career resource spaces. Job seekers around the world and in various stages of their vocational journeys have landed fulfilling work thanks to his thoughtful career advice, which has also been showcased in publications like Forbes, MSN, CareerAddict, Ladders, Best Colleges, Ivy Exec, Capitalism.com, and vidIQ. Aaron has a BS in English & Communications from Liberty University bolstered by a professional credential from UC Berkeley. He’s collected practical experience while following various career paths, and he enjoys sharing the resulting insights with everyone. You can contact him through his LinkedIn profile or on Twitter. Please note, we don’t accept guest posts, and all such requests will be ignored.