If you use email to apply for a job, of course, there is no paper to worry about. When you physically mail a CV to the human resource department, it is generally scanned into an electronic format and sent to hiring managers, so the paper you write your CV on and send to them is less important than clarity of font – and of course, the quality of the content.
However, if you are handing out your physical CVs or if you land an actual job interview, you will want to bring additional printed CVs with you to give to the interviewer(s). You should give serious thought to the paper quality of these CVs, and here are five reasons why:
- First Impressions are Key. Every human being, no matter how much they try not to, makes snap judgments about people based on very small details. If your socks don’t match, does that mean you’re a bad worker? Of course not – but your interviewer may draw that conclusion without even thinking about it. In the same way, a snap judgment is made the moment you hand your CV over. Does it feel professional? You want your CV to make the right first impression.
- Your CV is your Personal Sales Brochure. Ask yourself this question: do companies ever print their sales brochures on awfully-cheap photocopy paper? Never – the customers would never take their products seriously, regardless of how good they actually are. Likewise, no matter how good your CV actually is, if you do not present it with enough care and consideration it might not even be considered for shortlisting.
- Professional Appearance. For a job interview, you want to present yourself in the best possible way. You want employers to know you care about the position and the company you are applying to. When you choose high-quality paper for printing, it’s like choosing the best professional clothing – you are saying that you are thoughtful and your presentation matters to you. It helps you stand out as someone who cares more than most people about professionalism.
- Attention to Detail. Many people will list on their CV that they have ‘excellent attention to detail’, but then hand out shoddy CVs on cheap paper. By making an effort to put the CV on quality paper when you present it to the hiring manager, you’ve shown that you do, in fact, pay attention to the small details of a job and a presentation. These small things make a big impression on managers. Every time they look at your CV, they will be reminded of the effort you put into the interview.
- A CV is how you put your best foot forward. In a competitive job market, employers are often looking for reasons not to hire the applicant in front of them. They need to narrow the field to the best choices, and you need to make sure you are the best choice. When you put time and effort into the physical paper you choose for your CV, as well as the content and clarity of the CV, you will be using your best marketing tool to top advantage.
Suitable quality of paper to use for a CV
Sadly, not all job seekers are aware of the fact that papers come in different densities. The value of the density is given in gramme per square metre (gsm).
The typical photocopy paper is 80gsm in weight/density which is not very suitable for a CV. So… what is the best paper density to use for your CV, I hear you ask? Glad you asked.
The ideal paper density of a CV should be between 100gsm and 120gsm; this will give it slightly more weight and make it stand out above the rest of the CVs. Be careful, anything with a higher density than 120gsm will make your CV feel like a thick card!
Similarly, when posting CVs make use of good quality envelopes.
Colour: you can further improve the presentation of your CV by printing it on a cream or light cream paper as compared to the usual white sheet of paper. This has proven to be a quite effective CV marketing technique.
“Excellence is in the details. Give attention to the details and excellence will come.” – Perry Paxton