Being a Senior Resume Consultant at Resume Companion, I assume this is a question many people ask themselves as I’ve asked it myself many times, and friends have also asked; what type of paper I should print my resume on? (or what format should it be saved in?) Now, before you fall asleep take a minute to think about the significance of that mundane document that is your resume or CV. (Find out the difference between the two here)
Seriously, how important is a resume?
The humble resume is your 8.5 X 11 inch key to personal satisfaction, financial security and sometimes personal happiness, depending on the job you land. Similar to how your birth certificate is the highest and final authority in your personal identity, your resume is the highest and final authority in your professional life.
Your professional life is a good majority of time spent on earth, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average workday for Americans is 8.6 hours and the average days worked is approximately 250 per year. This equates to 2,150 hours spent working yearly. Thus, the single record that documents the achievements acquired during this time are of utmost importance and worth analyzing at all levels, including the type of paper they (resumes and cover letters) are printed on.
But why does paper matter if I’m applying online?
Now, since I’ve made such an effort to dramatize resume paper in the above few statements I must now admit that because of computers, the Internet and software, physical paper resumes have lost much of the importance they once held. However, they still hold their own in the interview, when all applicants are expected to bring a physical resume with them for reference and to aid in the presentation of professional skills. Perhaps in the future, tablet computers or holograms will also negate the importance of resumes in the interview process, but as things stand, they are still of substantial significance.
Fine, I should use special paper. So what are my options?
The most important thing is that you are actually thinking about what paper you are printing your resume on. While hastily printing it on standard basis weight (of approximately 20lbs) you may be missing an opportunity to make a positive impression. Note the word “hastily” in the above sentence. This is a negative word to potential employers, and looking like you are unprepared could be the distinguishing factor between a good interview preparation and a bad preparation.
There are multiple ways to project yourself as a confident and well-prepared individual. The most obvious and discussed is how you vocalize yourself during an interview, what clothes you decide to wear, what body language you display and even what hairstyle or cologne you are wearing. Individual personality is also often reflected in the objects a person chooses to own, display or share. In the case of job applications, the printed resume is the only physical object you will be giving to an employer, and thus an opportunity to project a message and a reflection of your “self”.
You’ve convinced me! Now where do I get the paper?
Go to a local office supplies shop or brand name store and pick out some good quality paper for your resume. Staples, OfficeMax, Target or even your local newspaper office should offer a variety of quality papers. Choosing a specific style is something you will have to use your own judgment on. Look for something with a slightly heavier weight and perhaps with a subtle texture. Off-whites are a bit easier on the eyes and also help stand out from the plain white resumes that HR Managers see so many of. You can buy a pack of 50 to 100 sheets, which is perfect as it allows you to print many more resumes in the future should the need arise (Let’s hope it won’t).
If you by chance are applying by direct mail, then everything written above about interview paper selection also applies to the document that you intend to mail out. Keep it simple; you don’t want any weird bullet points, borders, stylized font or stickers to detract from your skills. Let your experience do the talking and the high quality paper do the gentle reassuring. Combined, they form a professional document worthy of nearly any level position and should give you just a slight edge in your job hunt, and sometimes a slight edge is all it really takes.
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