Printed Resume: Definition, Types of Paper To Use and Tips
Updated June 24, 2022
Although most recruiters and hiring managers request digital copies of your resume, you may sometimes need a printed version of your resume in addition or instead of a digital one. A high-quality printed resume can help distinguish your application and display your professionalism to potential employers. In this article, we discuss the definition of printed resumes, the best types of paper to print your resume on and tips for making physical copies of your resume.
What is a printed resume?
A printed resume is a physical version of your resume. Resumes are documents requested by most recruiters and potential employers when you search or apply for a job. The specific contents of your resume may vary depending on your experiences and the job you want. Resumes typically contain your contact information, skills, work experiences and education.
Related: Q&A: Is Resume Paper Necessary?
When do I need a printed resume?
Many employers and recruiters request you submit your resume online, such as by email or through an online portal, when you look or apply for a job. However, there are situations when you need to print copies of your resume. Print out a professional copy of your resume if:
The job posting requests a physical copy. Some employers may specify in the job listing that they want a mailed copy of your resume. A job may also only give you their postal address as contact information to indicate they want your printed resume.
You have an in-person interview. Bringing your printed resume to an in-person interview shows you've prepared to answer questions and provide helpful information. A printed copy of your resume can also help both you and the interviewer remember important points about your qualifications during the interview.
You're going to a career fair, exposition or related event. When attending a job fair or similar type of professional event, bring multiple printed copies of your resume. This way, you can let multiple potential employers or recruiters keep your resume and contact you at a later date.
You're asking your network to help you find a job. Some people turn to their professional network to aid in their job search. Your network may find it easier to recommend you to potential employers if they already have physical copies of your resume they can distribute to their contacts.
Where should I print my resume?
The best place to print your resume is a professional print shop. You can print your resume at home or at a community resource with printing access, such as a library. However, a print shop has higher-quality printers, paper and ink that can help your resume look and feel more professional.
Qualities to consider when choosing paper for printed resumes
Printing your resume on high-quality paper can show potential employers that you're a serious candidate. A professionally printed resume helps make a great first impression. When you make printed copies of your resume, it's important to choose a type of paper that looks and feels professional. Here are the primary factors to consider when deciding what kind of paper to print your resume on:
Most paper packaging tells you the weight of the paper. In the United States, a paper's weight refers to how much a 500-sheet ream, or unit, of paper weighs before being cut into those 500 sheets. The weight of a ream of paper affects the thickness of each sheet. Heavier paper doesn't crinkle as easily and is more durable. Many regular printers and copiers, such as those at a public library, use light-weight sheets of paper that are about 20 pounds.
To make your resume more professional, print it on heavier paper. Purchase or ask your print shop to use thicker paper, such as sheets from 24- or 32-pound reams. Paper that weighs 24 or 32 pounds is less heavy than card stock but more sturdy than normal copier paper. Printing your resume on heavier paper helps ensure you can give recruiters or potential employers crisp and clean copies of your resume.
Related: Best Resume Templates and Types
Choose a paper color that makes it easy to read your resume text. White or off-white paper colors, such as ivory or cream, usually display font the most professionally. Some high-quality resume paper also comes in shades of light gray.
Many paper reams designated for resumes or other professional documents have watermarks on them. A watermark is a symbol visible on the sheet of paper only when held up to the light. The watermark on resume paper is often the logo or name of the company that made the paper. Choosing a paper with a watermark for your resume can help demonstrate your professionalism, as it shows employers you chose a high-quality paper.
However, you can also find high-quality paper free of watermarks. Some job seekers and employers may prefer the aesthetic of paper that's absent of watermarks for their resumes.
A paper's texture relates to the material it's made from. Manufacturing companies most often make paper from wood. However, they often make paper for more professional or sophisticated documents with other materials, such as cotton, jute or linen. These materials help give the paper a more textured feel and can improve the paper's durability. Purchase or request at the print shop paper made from these or other high-quality, textured materials.
Select a paper for your resume that's more opaque, meaning harder to see through. Regular paper often is highly transparent when held up to the light. Higher-quality paper, however, is less translucent and less prone to creating glares. Using opaque paper for your resume can help make your resume easier for hiring managers to read.
Resume paper to use
Here are some of the best types of paper to print your resume on:
Many paper manufacturing companies sell a product called resume paper. The specific material, weight and other factors of resume paper vary depending on the brand. However, reams sold as resume paper typically weigh 32 pounds. Resume paper is most commonly made from cotton, linen or both.
Laid finish paper
Laid finish paper imitates how paper used to look and feel several centuries ago. Laid finish paper has chain lines rolled onto it, giving it a more textured feel and unique appearance that could help distinguish your resume. However, only use laid finish paper for your resume if you plan to get your resume from a professional print shop. Most home or office printers aren't capable of printing professionally on such textured material. If you'd like to use laid finish paper, place an order at a print shop to optimize the quality of your resume.
Cotton paper has a softer texture. It also is more durable than traditional paper made from wood. Printing your resume on cotton paper provides hiring managers with a resume that doesn't crinkle easily and feels smooth. Cotton paper is usually heavier and more opaque, meaning it displays text in a clean and highly readable way. Additionally, cotton paper is a more environmentally friendly option.
Manufacturing companies might make their cotton paper entirely from cotton or a blend of cotton and wood fibers. For your resume, choose paper with between 75 and 100% cotton. Paper made from at least 75% cotton can be more sturdy, smooth and opaque.
Parchment printing paper is another type of highly textured paper. Manufacturing companies design parchment paper to imitate the appearance and feel of paper made several hundred years ago. In the past, many official documents used parchment paper. Parchment paper may give your resume a unique and professional appearance.
Only use parchment paper for your resume if you plan to visit a print shop. Parchment paper is more slippery than regular paper, meaning that using a typical office or home printer with parchment paper might cause your ink to smear. A professional print shop can use a more advanced printer capable of printing on glossier sheets.
Granite paper is a type of paper made to resemble granite. Like actual granite countertops or walkways, granite paper has a mottled or speckled design. Granite paper is typically thicker, with a weight of at least 24 pounds, and a light gray color.
Using granite paper can give your printed resume a more sophisticated and unique appearance. However, only use granite paper if your resume has no shading effects or designs. Granite paper is usually darker than other types of paper, so shading effects or images may make your resume harder to read. Choose granite paper only if your resume uses black font exclusively.
Manufacturing companies design linen paper to resemble linen fabric. Linen paper has a crosshatch pattern, meaning a texture with intersecting lines like those found in woven fabric. Published books, certificates, wedding initiations and other professional or elegant items often use linen paper. Linen paper is also frequently a more economical option than other high-end types of paper. Using linen paper can help give your resume a sophisticated and distinguished appearance.
Resume printing tips
Here is some advice for making a printed resume:
Print with only black ink. Black ink helps show recruiters and employers that you take their job opportunity seriously.
Choose a standard font. Select a font that is professional and easy for employers to read quickly, such as Times New Roman, Garamond or Arial.
Use a typical resume format. Write your resume in a standardized format, such as reverse chronological order. Using a resume template can help ensure that you format your resume cleanly and professionally.
Select a quality printer. If you want to print at home or at a community resource, use a laser printer. Inkjet printers can also produce high-quality printed resumes, but be sure to let the ink dry thoroughly to prevent smudges.
Set up standardized margins. Most resumes use one-inch margins on all sides. You can also use 1.25-inch margins on the sides of your resume.
Store your resume in a folder. Put your printed resume in a folder when bringing it to a job interview or career fair. Folders help ensure that your resume stays flat and clean during transportation.
Include a cover letter. If you're printing your resume out to mail in response to a job posting, write and print a cover letter too. A cover letter helps provide context for why you're mailing your resume and gives recruiters a more thorough understanding of your qualifications.
Print on only one side of your paper. One-sided printing makes it easier for hiring managers to quickly read your resume. It also helps the sheet of paper appear less transparent.
Use the standard letter size. Print your resume on paper that measures eight and a half by eleven inches.
Secure multiple pages with a paper clip. Most resumes should be no longer than one page. However, if your resume needs to be longer, attach the pages together in order with a paper clip rather than a staple.
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