Guide: what type of paper should a CV be printed on?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 September 2022 | Published 7 December 2021

Updated 7 September 2022

Published 7 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When developing your CV, you may wonder what kind of paper to print it on for best effect. It's crucial to print your CV on excellent material to maximise its influence on your potential employer. Learning about the kinds of paper available to you may help you decide and even enhance your chances of being invited to interview. In this article, we discuss what type of paper to print a CV on, discuss what weight, size and colour a CV paper can have, highlight how to print a CV and how to choose the best paper.

Related: CV format guide: examples and tips

What type of paper should a CV be printed on?

The question, 'what type of paper should a CV be printed on', is one that's sure to have come up in your job search. When choosing a CV paper, the first consideration is the material. Among the options are:

  • Linen: This paper has a beautiful texture that's naturally thick and it may help your CV to be distinct. Cotton paper has a linen feel.

  • Granite: With darker speckles dispersed throughout, this paper appears distinctive while keeping a professional appearance. Most manufacturers create granite paper from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendly alternative.

  • Cotton: Cotton is the conventional option since it presents as crisp and formal. The amount of cotton in the paper creates a difference in the feel, durability and texture of the paper (the higher the percentage of cotton, the better quality your CV paper appears).

  • Parchment: Diplomas are usually printed on parchment paper so choosing this type will make an official impression. Similar to linen, parchment has some texture to it, although it's less visible.

Related: Why is a CV important? Everything you need to know

What is a CV paper?

CV paper is a special type of paper used only for creating a CV. CV paper may be thicker than regular printing or copy paper and may comprise a different material or colour. Use CV paper in the following scenarios:

  • at a job fair, to present your application to various hiring managers or corporate representatives

  • during an interview with a recruiting manager or a panel of interviewers

  • at a hiring-focused networking event

What paper weight can my CV have?

A typical ream of copy paper weighs 9,072 grams or 500 pages. Rather than using ordinary weight paper, use 10,887 or 14,515 grams of paper. A 10,887 grams sheet of paper is more formal than a 14,515 grams sheet of paper. It's cost-effective, budget-friendly and you can typically print it on a home printer.

CV paper at 14,515 grams is more opaque and durable, with a lower likelihood of tearing. It's typically more costly than 10,887 grams of paper, and many home printers may have difficulty processing it. If you're printing your CV on 14,515 grams of paper, try printing it at an office supply store with a professional printer.

Related: Alternative Ways To Say 'Please Find Attached My CV'

What size paper can I print my CV on?

While you can experiment with different weights, typefaces and colours to differentiate yourself from the competition, one area where you can adhere to industry norms is the paper size of your CV, which may be 8.5 x 11 inches. By maintaining a consistent size, recruiting managers may quickly file or scan and transmit CVs to colleagues.

Why is it important to use CV paper?

While the type of CV paper you choose may seem unnecessary, it provides the following benefits:

  • A high-quality print: Because CV paper is thicker than conventional printing paper, you can expect fewer ink bleeds and smudges and overall higher printing quality.

  • A more professional appearance: While the actual content of your CV is more essential than the paper on which you print it, the thicker paper can provide a more professional appearance. When a hiring manager receives your CV, they may not expect a high-quality paper, so the added thickness and quality may get their attention.

  • Higher Possibility of being noticed: A hiring manager typically receives many CVs for a single vacant position, and when you choose high-quality paper and appropriate colour, your CV has a better chance of being noticed among the rest.

Related: What is a visual CV? (plus tools to create one)

Which colour paper is the best for a CV?

As with regular paper, CV paper is available in a variety of colours. It's critical to consider the position for which you're applying, the sector in which you work and also the design aspects of your CV. You can consider the following paper colours:

Ivory

Ivory is a warm colour that adds a timeless appeal to your CV and looks best on high-quality paper. It's also attractive to many hiring managers, but it's critical to take into consideration that some CV design aspects may have a tougher time adapting properly to ivory paper. For instance, if your CV has a sidebar with a darker contrasting backdrop, it may print nicely on ivory paper, but a sidebar with a lighter background may appear less professional.

White

White is a common paper colour that works effectively regardless of the items on your CV. The white paper gives your CV a clean, professional appearance. You may use a white paper for any role or profession.

Subtle tones

You can also choose a light colour such as pale yellow, blue, brown or green. Ivory and white are more appropriate for professional roles, but delicate shades may be more appropriate for a more creative position, such as that of a graphic designer. Even a more subtle tone, like grey, can seem professional while still making your CV appear distinctive.

How can I print my CV?

While most conventional printers can print on CV paper, you can consult your home printer's handbook before purchasing CV paper and attempting to print on it yourself. If your home printer can print on CV paper, see the instruction guide for any additional procedures necessary to print properly. You may also print your CV at a public library, an office supply store or a copy and printing service. Alternatively, you can send your CV through email, upload it to a flash drive or submit it through an online portal and request that the store prints your document.

How to choose the best paper for your CV

Choosing a paper type that's appropriate may enhance your CV's overall appearance and provide an attractive texture for highlighting your talents and expertise. When shopping for paper, you may wish to utilise the following strategies:

1. Locate paper that's within your budget

Begin by narrowing your paper selection to a defined price range so you feel comfortable with the amount you're spending. Paper may be rather costly, so understanding your budget can help with your choice. Once you've determined a budget, you may further filter down your selections to choose the ideal paper for your CV.

2. Select an acceptable colour

While white paper is the most popular and can work well for CVs, you can consider other neutral tones such as ivory, grey or blue. When choosing a paper colour, it's critical to consider how the CV's content will look once printed. You might print a test copy of your CV to evaluate how the paper colour appears in various lighting conditions.

For example, ivory-toned paper may seem more yellow in natural light than it does in artificial light. It's important to consider the professional appearance of the paper colour. For example, most people may regard light blue paper as more casual than plain white or ivory paper.

3. Think about the texture

A textured paper may add a unique feel and appearance to your CV, depending on the style or template. Consider textures such as parchment, stone, papyrus or a smooth, textured finish. A critical point to remember regarding paper texture is that excessively textured sheets don't reflect light in the same way that flat surfaces do. This makes parchment and papyrus (also known as a 'laid' texture) suitable for a CV because of their anti-glare qualities.

4. Examine the cotton content of the paper

The cotton count is another consideration while selecting a CV paper. The term 'cotton count' refers to the amount of cotton used per sheet of paper. A larger cotton content may give your CV a unique appearance and feel which can help it stand out. A percentage can also represent the cotton content of a ream of paper, with a greater percentage showing a higher cotton content. Having a greater cotton count can also indicate a higher-quality paper.

5. Select paper that complements the CV's aesthetic

One other option is to tailor the paper's style to that of your CV. A light blue tone, for example, co-ordinates well with CV layouts that feature design elements such as line separators, margin lines and other aesthetic components. To make your CV professional, use a paper style that's also formal, such as clean white or ivory parchment.

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