Choosing the right resume paper is important to make a lasting impression. We broke down everything you need about resume paper, including the best texture, weight, color and size. For more insight you can also take a look at our resume formats.

What is Resume Paper?

Imagine you’re attending a job fair or an interview, wondering — “what paper should I print my resume on?” If not, you should! Resume paper is a paper designed explicitly for resumes and cover letters. It’s thicker, heavier and of higher quality than regular printing paper. 

Is resume paper necessary?

Resume paper is typically unnecessary since most job openings are online. However, there are situations in which you need a hard copy of your resume: 

  1. In-person interview
  2. Job fair
  3. Mailing a copy of your resume 

In these cases, using resume paper lets the employer know you mean business and go the extra mile to make a good impression. Using professional resume paper helps to avoid ink bleeds and smudges and makes your resume stand out among a stack of resumes using regular paper. 

What Makes a Great Paper for Resumes?

There are five characteristics to consider when choosing your resume paper: 

  1. Color
  2. Weight
  3. Size
  4. Texture 
  5. Cotton Content

We’ll discuss each aspect in detail below. Or you could also try our ATS-ready resume templates.


Resume Paper Color: Ivory or White?

The correct paper color for you will depend on the job role, industry and specific design elements you’ll use. There are two options to consider: 


An ivory resume paper conveys a timeless and classic look suitable for positions in law, business and corporate. We recommend pairing it with dark colors and white spaces. 


This color is perfect for creative roles like graphic designers and animators because it makes colors pop and is easy to read. A white resume paper is best for using bold colors and graphs. 


Resume Paper Measurements

Resume Paper Weight

Next, consider the weight or thickness of your resume paper. There are three options: 

  1. 20 pounds: This is the cheapest option but the most see-through and frail, so it doesn’t complement bold colors or graphic design elements well. 
  2. 24 pounds: This is a perfectly suitable option if you’re on a tight budget but still want a sleek and professional look. 
  3. 32 pounds: Though expensive, this weight is the most professional and the least transparent of the three. Its thicker composition is an excellent option for bright-colored designs. If you have the money, we suggest you go for it. 

Resume Paper Size

This one is easy. Just go for the standard size in your region, which would be letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) in the U.S. and A4 (8.27 x 11.69 inches) in Europe and the rest of the world. 


Resume Paper Texture: Pros and Cons

Before jumping into paper texture, we must discuss cotton content because they go hand in hand. The cotton content in your paper’s texture will affect the sheet’s: 

  1. Color depth and saturation
  2. Thickness and weight
  3. Crispness and softness
  4. Durability


If you want a resume that feels professional and pleasant to the touch, go for cotton content that is 75% or above. Each of the textures we’ll explain next will offer different options for cotton content, so keep this in mind.

Plain (Standard)

Plain resume paper is used in all office settings, and it’s best for candidates on a budget. Here are the pros and cons: 


  1. Everyone is familiar with it
  2. Economical
  3. Works with most resume designs


  1. Lowest quality material
  2. Not that impressive 


Linen resume paper has a soft and weighty feel thanks to its cross-hatch style texture. Here are the pros and cons: 


  1. Thick
  2. Durable
  3. Soft
  4. Gives a classic look


  1. Wrinkle prone 


Granite resume paper highlights darker colors and gives your resume a semi-rocky feel. It’s light like sandpaper but soft to the touch. Plus, it’s made from recycled materials! Here are the pros and cons: 


  1. Eco-friendly
  2. Soft
  3. Lightweight 
  4. Easy to grip 


  1. Not suitable for light colors 


Laid resume paper has embossed lines that look like rolling waves, meant to emulate how paper initially looked when it was first invented. Here are the pros and cons: 


  1. Memorable
  2. Sophisticated  
  3. Nice to the touch


  1. Likely to cause errors in text and font quality
  2. Costly 
  3. Not suitable for dark-colored palettes 


How to Choose the Best Resume Paper

We covered texture, size, cotton content, weight and color, but how do you know which suits you best? Follow these tips to select the best resume paper: 

  • Consider industry trends:

    While creative jobs tend to encourage experimentation, conservative industries expect minimalist and traditional alternatives. Keep that in mind when evaluating paper texture and cotton content. 

  • Follow your resume design:

    Your choice of paper should complement your design. If your design has bold, contrasting colors, go for white linen or granite paper, whereas if your design is minimal with lighter shades, you can opt for ivory-laid resume paper. 

  • Create balance:

    If you’re on a tight budget but want a sophisticated look, consider going for a lighter weight or lower cotton content with a high-quality texture. See which combination of all the elements optimizes your budget best. 

Key Takeaways

Now you’re ready to go and find the best paper for your resume, but before you do that, let’s review some key points: 

  • When choosing paper for your resume, there are five elements to evaluate: color, weight, size, texture and cotton content. 

  • Ivory paper is best for traditional industries like law and finance, while white paper suits creative roles that use bold colors in their resumes. 

  • We recommend opting for a 24- or 32-pound resume paper to achieve a professional look. 

  • If you live in the U.S., use a letter size paper, but A4 is the standard paper size if you live anywhere else. 

  • Always go for cotton content 75% or above to ensure better color depth, saturation, durability, softness and thickness. 

  • There are four textures to choose from: linen, plain, laid, and granite. Each has pros and cons, so consider your resume design, budget and industry standards when selecting yours.