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    Resume Paper Guide: Best Size, Color & Type

    With job searching and recruitment moving almost entirely digital, you may have never considered resume paper. This article will show you why printing your resume can help.

    Mariusz Wawrzyniak
    Mariusz Wawrzyniak
    Career Expert
    Resume Paper Guide: Best Size, Color & Type

    Hold on, resume paper? Why would anyone care about that when we all apply for jobs online? While mostly true, let’s not forget about career fairs or applying in person for local jobs. Both of which are great opportunities to find your next place of work.

    And one of the worst things you can do is bring your resume printed out on some old, wrinkly paper.

    This guide will show you:

    • How to choose the best resume paper type.
    • What size should your resume paper be?.
    • Should resume paper be white, colored, or textured?.
    • Whether to use cotton or card stock when printing on resume paper.

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    Learn what to write on your resume paper from our guides:

    What is Resume Paper?

    Before we go in-depth into the subject of resume papers, we need to define what it actually is. After all, we’re not just talking about any old paper. So—

    Resume paper is a specialist paper designed for printing resumes, cover letters, and other professional documents. It’s a high-quality paper that weighs 32 lbs. Ideally, it’s comprised of 75-100% cotton. You should always print your physical resumes on high-quality paper.

    What Characterizes the Best Resume Paper?

    Several factors come into play when considering the best resume paper. Those are:

    • Weight
    • Color
    • Size
    • Texture
    • Cotton content

    And now, let’s discuss each one of these factors.

    Expert Hint: Not even the best resume paper in the world can save your application if poorly written. Learn how to write a resume from our expert guide to ensure you pass and get the interview.

    1. Resume Paper Weight—Which is best?

    When defining resume paper, we have already stated that the best resume paper is 32 lbs. (120gsm). But is it the only acceptable weight?

    Of course not. Let’s take a look at the most popular options and see which one you should choose:

    • 20 lbs paper: This is by far the most common type of paper. Commonly referred to as “office paper,” it’s most likely what’s currently inside your printer. And it’s also what we don’t recommend you use as a resume paper. It’s weak and transparent, and it crumbles way too easily.
    • 24 lbs paper: Not ideal, but still a better solution. It’s more professional than regular office paper. It is also more sturdy and a bit less transparent. If you can’t catch 32 lbs paper anywhere, go for this one.
    • 32 lbs paper: This is the highest-quality resume paper. The 32 lbs paper is thick and reliably crumble-resistant. It is also almost non-transparent. Choose this paper for the most professional and formal look.

    But before you stuff your printer full of 32 lbs paper, make sure your printer can handle it. Many commercial printers are not able to print on paper this thick. If that’s the case for you, we recommend visiting a local print shop.

    2. Resume Paper Color—White vs. Colored

    You can buy 32 lbs paper in almost any color. But, the resume paper needs to be professional. This factor instantly eliminates most color choices, leaving you with white and some off-white colors to choose from. Most commonly, it’s a battle between white vs. ivory (off-white yellow).

    • White: White is always the safest option. A plain white paper is an excellent choice for every resume format.
    • Ivory: This is a good choice for those resume layouts with strong contrasting color accents, such as a large sidebar or resume header section.

    This means that the choice between these two resume paper colors comes down to the resume template of your choice and your personal preference. But if you’re on the fence about choosing the color of your resume paper—stick with white.

    3. Best Resume Paper Size

    There isn’t much to say here. Always print on A4 paper, which is 8.5x11in. Too small of a resume paper will mean you will either have to increase the length of your resume or decrease the resume’s font so much that it will become barely readable. At the same time, imagine the recruiters' frustration if they can’t fit your resume into their briefcase if you printed it on a larger resume paper.

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    4. Resume Paper Texture—Which One to Choose?

    Textured resume paper can add some additional flare to your application. And it’s not just visual. The feeling of the resume also changes, making it that much more memorable.

    With resume paper textures, they will be most visible on colored resume paper. Below you’ll find a list of the best resume paper textures, with their pros & cons analyzed. And here is a study that proves choosing the right resume paper is greatly beneficial.

    1. Plain Resume Paper

    The good old inoffensive plain texture. It doesn’t add much pizzazz to your resume, but sometimes the safest choice is the best choice. It’s also the most wallet-friendly option out there.

    Here are the pros & cons of the plain resume paper:


    • The safest option
    • Works with every resume design
    • Very low chance of ink spills during printing


    • It doesn’t do much to make the resume memorable
    • Lower quality compared to others

    2. Granite Resume Paper

    The granite resume paper texture is very grainy, like sandpaper. It has this pleasant feeling of touching something that’s slightly rough. This texture is not only lovely to the touch, but it’s also easier to grip with fingertips when compared to plain paper.

    Here are the pros & cons of the granite-textured resume paper:


    • Many printers have no problem with it
    • Eco-friendly. Made from recycled materials
    • Professional-looking


    • Bad with light-colored resumes

    3. Laid Resume Paper

    Laid paper texture simulates the look and feel of paper made with historical methods. This means this resume paper’s surface is one of the slight waves forming on the page.

    Here are the pros & cons of the laid-textured resume paper:


    • Professional & unique looking
    • Pleasant to the touch


    • The highest chance of printing errors
    • Very expensive

    4. Parchment Resume Paper

    Parchment paper has a timeless elegance to it. But this can sometimes backfire in the modern world and make you seem old-fashioned. This resume paper type is also pleasant to the touch. Parchment paper with an ivory color can, in some cases, appear dirty and not textured.

    Here are the pros & cons of the parchment-textured resume paper:


    • Classy look
    • Can be appreciated for formal jobs


    • May seem pretentious
    • Can sometimes look dirty

    5. Linen Resume Paper

    In the next part, we’ll discuss the cotton contents resume paper should have. But what if we printed a resume on linen paper? Linen resume paper is a bit weighty and is good to grip and hold. However, it gets wrinkled quickly.


    • Unique look and feel
    • Low chance of print errors
    • Very durable


    • Wrinkles easily
    • Is expensive

    Expert hint: Remember first to choose a template you want to use for your resume. Our simple resume templates will work well when paired with textured paper.

    5. Resume Paper—Best Cotton Content

    Now it’s time for the real game-changer—

    Cotton resume paper. content.

    The amount of cotton used to make resume paper directly influences the most important aspects of it. High cotton content increases the paper’s durability, color intensity, and richness and gives the paper a soft feeling. Compared to the standard form made from processed wood pulp, which is generally weak, bland, and reflects light from its hard surface.

    So, what is the best percentage of cotton content in a resume paper? The higher number, the better. For the best results, go for 75% cotton at least, and for 100% cotton for the absolute best outcome.

    And as a bonus point—cotton is sustainable. So buying cotton paper over the classic type helps the environment. What’s not to love?

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    Key Points

    To choose the best resume paper, which will result in the perfect resume, keep these points in mind:

    • Have your resume printed out when going to a career fair.
    • Print out your resume on A4-sized paper.
    • Choose white or off-white paper, depending on your preferences and the template you’re using.
    • Pick a nice-looking texture to help your resume stand out.
    • Go for a resume paper that consists of at least 75% cotton.

    Thank you for reading this article! Do you have any questions regarding the resume paper? Looking for the best format-color-texture combination? Ask in the comments section below. We’ll happily help!

    About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

    At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

    Mariusz Wawrzyniak
    Written byMariusz Wawrzyniak

    Mariusz is a career expert with a background in quality control & economics. With work experience in FinTech and a passion for self-development, Mariusz brings a unique perspective to his role. He’s dedicated to providing the most effective advice on resume and cover letter writing techniques to help his readers secure the jobs of their dreams.

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