These simple CV details could make or break your application

Presentation is key for a good CV, and your font choices are crucial to ensuring that recruiters and hiring managers actually consider reading yours. If they give it a pass because your CV font size is too small or difficult to read, you've stumbled at the first hurdle. In this guide, we'll look at the ideal font size options, along with ATS-friendly fonts, that you can use for your CV.

The best CV font size, revealed

Deciding which CV font size to use can be tough. Too large and you risk looking childish with little to say, but too small and you risk making the CV too difficult to read and bother with. 

So, what's the best CV font size? We recommend using a 10-12 point size. Keep this font size consistent across the main body of your text, and use a larger font size (14-16 point) only for your name and section headings.

Use the above golden rule and you should be fine. Your texts will look professional and large enough to be read easily but small enough to accommodate everything you need to say.

Things to consider when using the 10-point font

A 10-point font is ideal for most CVs. But if you feel like you need to use this font size just to cram everything in, you probably need to be more ruthless with your editing. 

Consider narrowing the margins, summarising your earlier career more succinctly, or removing details that are irrelevant to your current career objective – this will help you keep your CV within the target one to two pages whilst remaining readable with an appropriate font size.

Things to consider when using the 12-point font

A 12-point font is also perfectly acceptable. But if you find yourself using this font size just to fill the space, you've probably not included enough information to sell yourself adequately. 

Rather than increasing the font size, try expounding on your responsibilities and achievements or including voluntary work and skills gained from hobbies on your CV.

Top ATS-friendly fonts for your CV 

Besides a good-sized font, you'll also need a typeface that's both professional-looking and can get past the applicant tracking system (ATS). Choose the wrong font and the ATS could end up filling your CV with those little boxes (▯) that we've all seen when software tries to read incompatible text. To help you avoid this problem, we've compiled some of the widely available best fonts for a curriculum vitae below:


Calibri is the default font on the latest version of Microsoft Word. That should tell you everything you need to know. It's legible, clear, and will look professional on the page. 

Calibri Light 

Looking for a thinner, lighter version of the classic? You can use Calibri Light instead. This font is exactly what it says on the tin – a thinner option.

Times New Roman 

Times New Roman has long been one of the most respected typefaces. If you're going for a traditional job, you might find that this old-school font is the way to go.


If you're looking for a minimal sans-serif font, you can't go wrong with Arial. This is one of the most popular fonts for CVs and it's clear to see why. 


Verdana is a more contemporary option that's ideal for on-screen reading. So, if you're sending your next CV as an attachment via email, you might want to use this typeface. 


Cambria is an attractive serif font and is used in many business materials. However, be aware that this one can be hard to read if the font size is too small. 


Staying in the same ballpark, Garamond has fast become a popular font for modern CVs. If you're looking for a serif font that's easy to read, this might be the right choice for you.

Book Antiqua 

Inspired by writing from the Italian Renaissance, Book Antiqua is a fancy typeface. If you're looking to impress the hiring manager with a stylised CV, you could use this one.

Trebuchet MS

Simple and easy to read, Trebuchet MS is a sans serif font that you can use on your CV. If you're looking to create a straightforward, minimal document, give this font a try.

Arial Narrow 

Arial Narrow is a light version of the standard Arial font. If you want to instantly create more white space on the page, you might want to consider giving this one a whirl.  

What fonts should you always avoid on your CV?

Comic Sans has a terrible (if slightly undeserved) reputation and should certainly not be used on any self-respecting CV. Even if you're aiming to work with small children, it's inadvisable to use this font as you'll have adults – not kids – reviewing your CV.

Any CV font that looks fun, bubbly, or themed, such as Jokerman, Cavolini or Old English, should be avoided as well, as should cursive fonts such as Freestyle Script and Brush Script. They don't look professional and are difficult to read.

Common mistakes when choosing professional fonts

Ready to update your CV? Let's take a look at some of the most common mistakes to avoid as you finalise your font choices: 

  • Mixing too many font styles. At most, you should choose one to two typefaces for your CV. If you chop and change the font in every section, it will look chaotic, hard to read, and unprofessional.

  • Failing to consider the role. The design of your CV should match the vacancy and industry you're going for.

  • Not aligning with your brand. When you're choosing which font to use, consider how it aligns with your professional brand. Are you more Times New Roman or Garamond?

  • Choosing a hard-to-read font. You might love a certain font style, but is it easy to read? Don't merely go with something that looks attractive. Think about whether it's legible.

  • Using a small font size. In this guide, we've covered the best CV font size to use. Going any smaller than 10-point is a recipe for disaster. Above all else, the hiring manager will not be able to read this font. 


What is the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts?

A serif font, such as Times New Roman, features small decorative flourishes on its letters, whereas a sans-serif font, like Arial, does not. 

You can use either, but there are things to keep in mind about each style. Sans-serif fonts are considered to be easier to read on a screen, which is where most people will first encounter your CV. They also ensure that the CV looks clean, contemporary, and uncluttered.

However, if there's a high chance of your CV being printed (or if you're planning to print it yourself to hand over in person), serif fonts may be the better choice. Though they can look dated, these traditional fonts are easier to read on paper and are generally preferred by the more traditional industries.

Can I use bold, italics, or underlines?

Yes! It's absolutely fine to use bold and italics, but do so sparingly. Whilst they're not appropriate for large chunks of text, you can use them for headers, to highlight key information, and to quote, for example, titles of publications. Underlined text is not unheard of, but it tends to be associated with hyperlinks these days and is therefore best avoided if possible.

What are the key points to consider when deciding on CV fonts? 

Ask yourself these questions when evaluating your CV font size and style choices: 

  • Do I look professional and authoritative?

  • Is it easy for a recruiter to read and pick out critical information?

  • Will my CV be accurately read by an applicant tracking system?

Once you're happy with your CV, use the same typeface, point size, and style on your cover letter to present a cohesive personal brand. Now, you're good to go! 

Keep your CV easy on the eyes 

The right CV font size and style can improve your CV's overall readability and clarity – two things necessary to win over the hiring manager's interest from the get-go. Making the best font choices for your CV isn't merely about going for what you like. Stick with a 10-12 point professional font and keep a uniform appearance across your documents to boost your application's likelihood of success.

Our expert writers understand what a CV should look like. Get suggestions for improving yours by submitting it for a free CV review.

This article was originally written by Jen David and has been updated by Charlotte Grainger. 

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