It's a fine detail, but the type of paper you use to print your resume on really does matter. Low-quality, murky white paper from your local discount store just won't cut it for a professional resume. Resume-quality paper is available at most office supply stores and professional printing shops, and it's well worth the investment. Since you don't need a whole ream of paper, you can purchase paper by the sheet or pay the printing shop to print your resume for you.
When it comes to the color of paper for a resume, pale conservative colors in neutral tones are almost always best. According to the Career Center at Duke University School of Law, a resume should be printed on white, ecru, light gray or a similarly neutral-colored paper. Neutral resume colors range from pure bright white to medium beige or soft gray, so choose a shade that fits your style. Avoid dark or brightly colored paper because it tends to look juvenile and is considered unprofessional in many workplace environments. Neutral-colored paper with a light fleck or faded marble pattern is also acceptable, as long as the pattern is faint and subdued.
Resume-quality paper is heavier, denser and more durable than your average computer or copy paper. Paper weight, also known as paper density or basis weight, measures the amount of light each sheet allows to pass through. Because of the thick, non-transparent nature of resume paper, it doesn't rip or tear easily. Duke Career Center recommends using 24-pound paper for a resume.
Subitting a resume isn't a beauty contest, but selecting envelopes to coordinate with the color and quality of your resume paper is a good style choice. By doing so, you avoid sending an ecru-colored resume in a bright white envelope or mailing a light gray resume in an off-white envelope. You might have to buy a small box of 20 envelopes if the office supply store or printing shop doesn't sell them individually. Always use a business-size envelope, so you can tri-fold your resume, or a manilla-size envelope so you don't have to fold your resume at all.
If your resume is more than one page in length, don't print on the backside -- use a second sheet of paper. According to Northern Michigan University's career development webpage, it's best to print each page separately and staple the pages together, if you're concerned they might get separated once the envelope is opened. You can also print your name on the top right corner of the second page if you want to avoid stapling -- staples sometimes get jammed in mail-sorting machines. Some companies and organizations request electronic resume submissions, so follow the employer's instructions if he wants an electronic copy rather than a paper copy.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.