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Is there a recommended font and size for academic job application? Usually I see Times New Roman being used with a 10 point font size for research papers, but I don't think that it is the best font and size for reading. Can I pick a font that I prefer, or is there some "best practices" that people expect and I should follow?

  • I'd go for a sans serif font. There's a good chance it will be read on screen, and going sans will make it much easier for the reader. Just no Arial or Helvetica, make it something a bit more elegant. – Gimelist Dec 10 '14 at 6:19
  • Well, what do you think is the best font and size? See this question for a discussion on font size/margins. – Kimball Dec 10 '14 at 6:39
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    Vote to close, I think this is a case of boat programming (or boat academics). – Davidmh Dec 10 '14 at 10:14
  • I think this question should be ask in Graphic Design – Ooker Dec 10 '14 at 10:57
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    @Michael: depending on the field, a sans serif font may stand out. The vast majority of applications I have seen in math used a serif font, usually Computer Modern, Times New Roman, or Palatino. – Oswald Veblen Dec 10 '14 at 11:35
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It really doesn't matter what font you choose, as long as it's not unprofessional. You can safely choose any font you might use for a research paper, 10 to 12 points in size (preferably 11 or 12, for the benefit of those with poor eyesight, but 10 is OK). It's not worth worrying about this too much. You can't help your chances through elegant typography, and the only way you can hurt them is if you do something ridiculous. Any effects on readability are probably small, and I don't think most hiring committee members have strong opinions on the matter (while the ones who do don't always agree).

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    Though mathematics hiring committees might be thrown off if yours is the one application that isn't in Computer Modern :-) – Nate Eldredge Dec 10 '14 at 8:14
  • @NateEldredge: But that may also be a positive effect as well, as it makes your application a bit more individual, less boring and better looking (given an appropriate font choice) than the others. There are some problems with Computer Modern, you know. – Wrzlprmft Dec 10 '14 at 9:34
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    I would always go with at least 11 point type. "Bad eyesight" is an extremely common problem, and it only gets worse when someone has to read hundreds of job applications. Moreover, electronic job applications are often printed on cheap laser printers by the receiving departments, which are particularly bad at small fonts. – Oswald Veblen Dec 10 '14 at 11:32
  • What about Verdana or Calibri? – Thomas Lee Dec 10 '14 at 17:12
  • To me, a sans serif font would come across as a slightly unusual choice, but it wouldn't bother me (and I don't think either Verdana or Calibri would be a problem). – Anonymous Mathematician Dec 10 '14 at 17:47

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