Paper Resume vs. Electronic Resume: What to Send When
Whether a paper or electronic resume is best depends on the job and the company.
You’ve found the right internship or job listing and your resume is ready to go – but how do you decide whether to send a paper or an electronic copy?
As many offices are going paperless, resume tradition has changed. More recruiters are looking for electronic resumes rather than paper ones.
But some smaller companies still want a paper resume, so it’s important to know how to get your resume through the door.
Choosing between paper and electronic resumes? Ask yourself these 4 questions:
1. What does the listing ask for?
It might seem obvious, but many job listings contain instructions for resume submission that applicants overlook.
Check the end of the job listing to see whether the recruiter asks for a paper or electronic resume with your submission. The notice might include just an address or just an email contact that you can use to determine if you should submit an electronic resume or a paper resume.
If the job listing asks for an electronic resume, remember to check for submission instructions. Companies might ask for your electronic resume in the body of your email or as an attachment, or request that your cover letter is in a different format than your resume. Follow their instructions. When in doubt, include your electronic resume in the email text itself.
2. Are they on the web?
If the job listing doesn’t mention whether paper or electronic resumes are preferred, search the internet for the company name and website. You’ll be able to see how the business operates – and whether an electronic or paper resume is your best bet.
Many company websites have a section listing contact information for their departments and employees. If the site lists multiple email addresses in this section, they probably conduct much of their communication electronically. You can feel comfortable doing the same and sending an electronic resume.
If the website lists only street addresses - or if you can’t find a company site – send a paper resume to ensure that it arrives successfully.
3. Are they expecting many resumes?
If you’re responding to a job listing that reaches many people, or if you’re applying for a position at a large company, it’s best to submit an electronic resume with your application.
Recruiters receiving a high volume of resumes, especially resumes for entry-level jobs, often keep track of them more easily over email, rather than sorting through a stack of paper resumes. In a big office, it’s easier to pass an electronic resume through the company rather than delivering a document by hand. Plus, some companies use computers to quickly scan electronic resumes for keywords they want them to include.
Especially if you are using an online job listing site, always have an electronic copy of your resume ready. Companies using these sites expect electronic resumes and often won’t even accept paper resumes.
4. Are you in the area?
If you happen to live close to the company headquarters, consider stopping by with a paper copy of your resume.
Taking the extra time to deliver your paper resume will ensure that the company receives it – and it also will make you stand out from a pool of applicants, which can help you land an interview!
Be prepared with both resumes – just in case!
Always include your email address on your paper resume so that an employer can ask for an electronic copy should they require it. And always have a paper copy of your resume on hand when you’re preparing for a job interview.
Although job listings might require only one or the other, preparing both your paper resume and your electronic resume is key to proving your readiness and flexibility to a future employer.