The Fate of the Paper Resume

Things have changed with the advent of the Internet and the use of email as a main form of communication. You could almost call it a revolution – the world wide web has turned our previous modes of communicating, advertising, and even job hunting upside down. We have a whole new world from that of ten years ago. Does that world include paper resumes? We believe it does.

While the primary method of submitting a resume for a job position these days is via email, the paper resume still has a place in the job search. Most employers print out an electronic version of a resume in order to make notes on it, mark questions for the interview, or to place in a personnel file. This is a paper version of a resume even if it is not one printed by the job seeker and printed for the employer. It is important to remember that the Word document that is your resume may well be printed out on paper at some point. Providing a .pdf formatted file of your Word document will allow the formatting to be retained and avoid strange formatting adjustments that occur when opening Word files on other computers.

A paper resume is still taken by the applicant to all interviews. In fact, you should take at least six copies of your resume to the interview in case there is an interviewer or another person who is brought into the process who does not have a copy. We always recommend the resumes that our clients take to the interview be printed on high quality resume bond. Never, ever use regular copy paper. A good, heavy (24 lb. or heavier) linen or cotton paper is best and it should generally be in a conservative, neutral color. Paper selection is not something you should agonize over; as long as it is good quality and looks nice, it is fine. (If by chance you do mail a paper copy of your resume, you should not fold it or staple it. Send it in a 9” x 11” envelope with your cover letter on top.)

The question that continues to arise at professional resume writers’ conferences is whether the paper resume will ever completely disappear. No one knows the answer to this question and it really doesn’t matter. As long as the communication of the job seeker’s value is communicated to the employer and the employer calls for the interview, the mode of communication is not relevant.

Ten years ago, most of us couldn’t imagine email replacing snail mail and telephone calls to the extent it has. Who knows what will occur within the next ten years? One thing for sure – it will be exciting to watch!

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