How to Choose the Right Resume Paper

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One key aspect for creating a good impression for a job application is your choice of resume paper. When you apply for a job, it’s important to submit a quality resume since it is essentially a formal representation of yourself. This article explains how to choose the best resume paper to communicate your professionalism and personality.

What is resume paper?

Resume paper is the material chosen for a candidate’s resume. It’s made from various materials such as parchment, cotton, bamboo and more. Making the right selection of resume paper can have the potential to improve your chances of getting hired over other applicants. Big companies receive a large number of resumes daily. Therefore, it’s important to choose a good, high-quality paper that will not only avoid the automatic rejection of your application but also stand out among the stacks of resumes from other applicants.

How to choose the best resume paper

A common practice is to use a 32lb high cotton content paper for your resume. Another is to use a white-colored paper with plain texture to keep yourself in the acceptable list. Ultimately, using a high-quality paper over one that’s easily tearable and low-quality provides a professional backdrop to your resume’s content.

You may also use a different approach to your resume paper to create a more distinct impression than other applicants. One way is to use recycled paper for your resume to show your support for eco-friendly practices, a concept widely followed and promoted by most organizations worldwide. Another way of forming the same impression is by using paper made from environmentally friendly material, such as bamboo. Some people prefer a paper with a textured background for a vivid impression.

Resume paper weight

Paper weight is vital in determining how well the printed copy of your resume looks. Keep in mind that a heavyweight paper may prevent optimal print quality. If you select a very lightweight resume paper, however, the edges of your resume may turn during the printing. The paper may also tear and result in a wrong impression. 

The suggested paper weight for your resume is any of the three standard ones: 20lb, 24lb and 32lb. You can use 20lb paper if you want to use the paper with an at-home printer, while 24lb and 32lb paper are best known for providing higher opacity and thickness.

You may use the 24lb paper to print on both sides. This paper weight is suitable to prevent leaking of printer ink. It is also different enough from the 20lb paper to create an impression on the potential employer. Using a paper weight greater than 32lb can result in print distortion.

Resume paper color

The paper color of your resume affects its readability and the general impression it leaves on an employer. Generally, it is preferable to use white-colored paper because it is easier to read from a white background. The white background also makes the resume look neat and clean. However, you may select between different variations of white colors, such as off-white or ivory color. 

Examples for resume paper color by appearance:

The appearance of your resume also plays an essential part in deciding the color of your resume paper. For example, if your resume uses a dark red and black font with a textured background, using a white-colored paper will be more suitable. This will make it easier for the recruiter to read the printed content. 

However, if you are using a blue and orange combination for font colors, using an ivory-colored paper for your resume will create a better impression. Your resume appearance should create a formal and positive impression. You may use a paper with gradient colors if it suits your resume’s content.

Examples for resume paper color by job type:

The type of job you are applying to is also crucial in deciding the paper color of your resume. If you are applying for the position of a writer for a female magazine that follows a pink color scheme, you may choose pink-colored paper for your resume. This choice will show your consideration of the employer’s brand, thus improving your chances of employment.

Examples for general trends:

Resume color also depends on the trends in the industry or company. Some firms may require you to follow a specific resume pattern. You must use the resume color prescribed by the firm in such cases.

Resume paper format

Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting a suitable resume paper format:


Most people use either serif or a sans-serif font for their resume. If you are opting for a serif font, use Times New Roman. If you choose a sans-serif font, opt for Arial, Calibri or Verdana.

Font size

You can be specific about font size as well. Size 10 and 12 are better. Your final choice depends on the style of your resume. Most experts recommend font size 11 for its readability and outlook.


The standard one-inch margins are more suitable for the resume. You may opt for a different margin size, depending on your format. Although most people use 0.5-inch margins, yet, 1-inch margins are preferred to reduce reader fatigue. For alignment, use left, as it works in most contexts. You may use center or justified alignment to match a particular design for your resume. If your resume is in a right-to-left language, you may use the right alignment.


Some recruiters have a specific resume pattern. You must follow the guidelines on the recruiter’s website. These specifications may include narrower margins or specific font sizes.

Resume paper size

It is generally preferable to use the 8.5 in x 11 in paper size for your resume. This size looks professional and suits the general business environment of most workplaces. Still, using a larger or smaller size may be suitable according to the requirements of the vacancy. 

For example, if you are applying for a graphic designer job for a banner designing company, you may use a larger sized paper to create an impression on the recruiter regarding your banner designing skills. A resume for a calligraphy job may need stylish papers with a variety of sizes. Refer to the job you’re applying to and select a size that best matches what you’d be doing in the role.