With the hundreds of computer fonts available, only a few are considered appropriate for business letters. Because the purpose of a business letter isn't to showcase your artistic skills, a standard non-decorative font is best-suited for your audience. Avoid fonts with embellishments, unique curvatures and unusual designs to ensure that a business letter is easy to read and conveys professionalism.
Sans serif is a general description that applies to many font styles, meaning without serif, which is the small decorative embellishment added to a basic letter or number. Leeward Community College states that emails and web pages are easier to read without serifs, so choose sans serif fonts for business letters sent electronically. A few specific sans serif fonts include Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, Geneva, Avant Garde and Helvetica. Serif fonts are acceptable for printed business letters because the decorative additions are easily distinguished on paper. Their slightly ornate appearance makes them an appealing choice. Examples of serif fonts include Times New Roman, Rockwell, Georgia and Didot.
Times New Roman
The Times New Roman font is a top pick for printed business letters because of its ultra-conservative reputation. According to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab, Times New Roman is the generally accepted font for business letters because of its readability. If you're writing to a highly conservative company that has strict guidelines, professional dress codes or conventional business practices, Times New Roman is a safe bet.
The Arial font is a standard type used by many professionals in the workplace. It's often the default for computer software programs and is one of the first font options in the Microsoft Office drop-down menu. Because Arial has straight lines and smooth curves, it has a traditional appearance that isn't too mechanical or industrial, making it a suitable font for business letters. Because of its legibility and simplicity, it's a favorite for business letters, resumes, cover letters and other forms of professional correspondence.
In the business world, the font size is just as important as the font style. If you opt for a font that's too small, the recipient of your business letter might not be able to read the words clearly without magnification. On the other hand, a large font tends to look overstated, juvenile and unprofessional. The University of California Career Development Center recommends a font size between 10 and 12 points to ensure legibility and readability.
About the Author
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.
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The best fonts for your resume ranked
Before you submit another resume, make sure you’re using one of these recruiter-approved fonts.
Recruiters take six seconds to decide whether or not to toss your resume, so the right font makes a big difference.
Your resume communicates your skills, assets and hire-ability. So if a recruiter can’t read it, or is put off by a funky font, you won’t even get a second look.
“The most important thing is that your font is scannable, easy to read,” says Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume. “Because so many recruiters are reading resumes on-the-go, you’d also be smart to chose a font that’s easy to read on a mobile device, which means a sans serif font like Arial, Tahoma or Calibri.”
With so much being made of “personal brand,” it’s natural to want to stand out or make a statement. Augustine says you can still have some style, as long as you stay with one of these 10 resume-friendly fonts, ranked in order of preference.
Soft, gentle and modern, this is the default font of many email programs, so it’s familiar to the eye—and it’s a safe sans serif font.
2. Times New Roman
“For legal, operations and corporate jobs, this formal serif font is still readable electronically and goes with the brick-and-mortar feel of those industries,” says Augustine.
This classic sans serif font “is a great choice for creative people or those in a marketing field,” according to Augustine.
Like Arial, this is another clean and modern font that’s even easier to read because of the slightly wider spacing.
This is another default-type font that recruiters are familiar with, so you can’t go too wrong with it. It’s not as formal as Times New Roman, but just as dependable.
More graceful than some if its sans serif friends, Garamond might suit artistic types more than bankers or executives.
7. Book Antiqua
As its name suggests, Book Antiqua would work well for professions in the arts or humanities.
8. Trebuchet MS
Friendly and round, this is probably a good choice for creative or marketing fields.
9. Arial Narrow
If you’re tight on space, this sans serif is modern and still legible even in its narrow form.
This has style and panache, yet it is still readable. It’s probably the most artistic font that’s still professional enough to use on your resume.
Writing your resume and could use some help? A great first step is to join Monster. As a member, you can upload up to five different versions of your resume and make it searchable to recruiters.