When You Need a Printed Resume - dummies

By Laura DeCarlo

Although the job market has moved to digital resumes — and away from paper resumes — tree-and-ink products will be around for the foreseeable future. Paper resumes are the medium of choice in the following situations:

  • When you make the rounds of booths at career fairs, hand out your paper resumes. (Yes, some employers, for legal reasons, won’t accept paper resumes at fairs, but they’re in the minority.)

  • When you call on your personal network to assist your job search, circulate paper resumes. People are more likely to remember you and your search with a piece of paper to remind them than they are to recall that your resume is hanging out somewhere on the Internet.

  • When you meet an employer or recruiter in a job interview, bring along several copies of your paper resume. An attractive resume makes a good impression and can jump-start questions that you want to answer.

In a digital era, how good should your paper be? Although you’re using paper only for hand-to-hand delivery, the standards haven’t changed. The stock for a paper resume should be quality paper that contains rag content of perhaps 25 percent, as well as a watermark (a faint image ingrained in the paper). For lower-level positions, any decent-looking paper will do.

What color should you choose? Stick to white or off-white, eggshell, or the palest of gray. Print on only one side of the sheet.

What about theme papers — musical notes for musicians, tree leaves for environmental jobs, and the like? Although the use of theme paper for resumes has grown over the past decade, you may still consider plain stock unless you’re in a highly creative field. Look to make what’s in your resume visually pop.

Use a computer and a high-quality printer to produce your resume. Today’s standard is a sharp-looking resume printed on a laser or inkjet printer.

Finally, don’t staple together a two- or three-page resume or put it in a folder or plastic insert. The resume may be photocopied and distributed, or it may be — gasp, shades of ancient technology! — scanned into a database. Simply use a paperclip to attach the pages together, if desired.