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I make it a habit of bringing extra copies of my resume in my folio to interviews that I go on. I also bring my references in case I am asked for them at the end of the interview. This way, if one of the interviewers doesn't print out a copy, they don't have to get up and make a copy from someone else.

Since 99.9% of my resumes are submittted digitally, I don't bother printing these extra copies on heavier resume paper. Should I be or are regular 8.5x11 white sheets ok?

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  • 12
    I never even knew they made separate resume paper.
    – animuson
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 2:35
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    Honestly, high quality paper would be a negative for me. I work with software/electrical engineering, and I want people who don't waste time on trivial details. Those kinds of people would be wasting their time writing lab reports in multiple color and finding a proper format for comments/notes. It also indicates lower passion for the job, and more passion in looking nice. But it's a plus for someone who's paid to look nice, like a graphics designer or someone who works in service.
    – Muz
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 9:08
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    @Muz, producing a visually pleasing and easily digestible (fonts, distinctive and semantic colors are a part of this) reports/papers/whatever is a major part of making them easily understandable by others. As disseminating knowledge is their primary reason for existence, I'd say the details might not be so trivial.
    – Celos
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 7:16
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    @Celos yeah but you have to know your audience. We could go into the semantics of the semantics, but if at the end of the day you get an interviewer like Muz, you and your fancy paper are going home.
    – J.J
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 7:30
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    Haha I'll move this into an answer so you guys can downvote.
    – Muz
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 18:53

6 Answers 6

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This is an interesting question, and is one that I always got as an instructor of such things even though 99% of things are digital these days. I think we'll always get these questions as long as office supply stores are still selling boxes of "fancy resume paper".

Given the situation you describe, in which all of the following cases are true:

  1. You have submitted your resume electronically,
  2. You are in the interview stage, AND
  3. You are providing ad-hoc secondary copies when originals were not expected to be provided

Then a resume on plain paper is perfectly fine. Even if it's not bright or slightly heavier, it doesn't matter -- it's a bonus that you've provided something for someone who should've/could've printed your resume but who did not. I can guarantee that they would've printed it on plain white paper!

The reasons behind "fancy resume paper" -- be it heavy, bright, or slightly off-color (cream, not pink!) -- does come from the time when resumes were not passed around electronically, when a candidate could set them apart from the crowd based on the paper they used. Those reasons might have been to stand out in a stack or when the paper was spread out on a table, or to make the reading experience better; that rarely matches the resume evaluation process these days.

But for backup copies of resumes already reviewed? Plain white is fine -- by the interview stage, no one is judging you on the weight of your paper (although you'll want to avoid coffee stains, blurry text, or other general sloppiness as a matter of course!).

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  • The only exception I might make is if you are applying for a design position, especially if it's print related. A pretty resume can help convince prospective employers you have the skills for the position.
    – Kai
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 19:07
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My company participates in a number of job fairs during the year, and I often draw the short straw and have to review the big stack of resumes that come back from these.

Until recently I would have answered 'just use copy paper, nobody in the technical world cares'. And that's probably true most of the time.

I was recently given a resume stack from a job fair, and I notice right in the middle of the stack there was a resume printed on thick, ultra-white paper. It really stood out, so I pulled that one out first.

It was the resume of a graphics designer. She had some colorful, fun, and interesting graphics and the whole presentation was just beautiful. I took that resume straight to our UX guy, who now uses this person as a contract artist. In this case anyway, the paper she used got my attention.

Would it have mattered as much if she was applying to be a Java programer? Probably not, but it wouldn't have hurt her either.

If I ever go looking for a gig at a job fair I'm going to use a better-than-copier-grade paper for my resumes. I'm not capable of colorful or fun graphics, so I won't have that.

Once you are in the door for a physical interview it's less important, but couldn't hurt to use nice paper.

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Whatever quality of paper you have easy access to, so that you can focus on other aspects of your preparation that are much more likely to impact the hiring decision.

From the other side of the interview table, it is very difficult for me to imagine a circumstance where the quality of the paper on the copies of the resume the candidate brings with her being a factor in a hiring decision. Maybe if it gave me a paper cut? Even then...

Obviously there are some limits -- you shouldn't print your resume on the back of your phone bill. But, IMO, any time and effort spent fretting over or acquiring specific paper for backup copies is time and effort better spent researching the company, refreshing yourself on your domain expertise, or getting some rest.

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  • Absolutely, I agree. Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 5:05
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I suggested printing out extra resumes on resume paper to my daughter who is an undergrad business major. Was I surprised that she had never heard of such a thing, and had to be persuaded why it was a good idea. The comments I'm seeing from those opposed to it are based on the idea that resume paper is "fancy." No -- it's not, nor should it be. By "resume paper," we are talking about a heavier weight WHITE sheet of paper -- never colored, not even ecru, without excessive texture (but not slick/laser jet paper either), preferably without watermark. Something clean and crisp, but with a little weight (24-34#), so it's not flimsy and flopping around in the interviewer's hand. Someone pointed out the poor quality of today's copy paper. I agree. These aesthetic points are important, especially if you are in the design field. But for any industry, a heavier-stock white paper conveys professionalism. Definitely you should have these on hand for any interview.

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I think that as well as basic copy paper and "fancy resume paper" there is a huge range of options for color and thickness and whiteness.

You'll find that in recent years, basic copy paper has gotten very cheap, and - not surprising - light weight and more off-white (through lack of quality). Better quality (but still basic) paper will be thicker and have a higher white rating and will 'feel' nice to the hands.

As with many other "little" things you should look to use a higher quality of paper for resumes in those situations. Face it, if you're actually at their location, spending hundreds of dollar of your time, do you really want to use paper that is 3c per sheet cheaper ?

At the end of the day this is minor thing and you've already spent enough time on it ;)

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Fancy paper can hurt your chances.

Everything you do or don't do says something. If it's in default font like Times New Roman, it says nothing. If you change the font to Comic Sans, Arial, Roboto, etc, that says something about you.

Where I live, people who put significant effort into marketing are covering up for poor quality. If I get a fancy paper, my first thought is "What's this guy covering up?"

It's an unfair generalization, but you associate yourself in the group of people who spend more time pretending to do work than the guys who are too lazy to do work. It's not an instant rejection but I'm going to keep an eye out for any signs of an office politician.

Another thing this says is that you're spending effort getting a job.

I have resumes of very impressive people - all of them are messy and ugly. They get poached and recruited without any effort on their end. I ask for their resume and their response is along the lines of "Sorry, my resume is 2 years outdated because the last few people hired me without looking at my resume..."

Exception is for UX/graphics guys, salespeople, and anyone with a business degree, as this is part of their job.

If you're joining a startup, this can be an extremely negative thing. Startups care about every cent you spend, and this can come up as being a little spendthrift, even if the paper doesn't cost that much.

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