For years, people have been saying that paper resumes are dead. Are they really?

Why Paper Resumes Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon
Photo by clive darra

The hype



Search Twitter for “paper resume” and many of the results are articles announcing that the Internet-based resume era is here.

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But who has actually been saying they’re dead?

1) Companies who stand to gain from you not using them, such as video resume companies


While video resumes and paper resumes will both help you on your job search, one doesn’t negate the other as you might think after seeing the above tweet. They’re both personal job search marketing tools that can make an impact when used appropriately.

2) Recruiters who don’t want to deal with paper resumes anymore


And I don’t blame them.

Since I started JobMob back in 2006, I’ve received hundreds of resumes via email and have viewed many more online. I’m not a recruiter, but if I had to store all those as paper somewhere, my home office would need a second floor.

As it is, whenever a job seeker hands me their resume at a networking event or job fair, I’ll always tell them to save it for others at the event without forgetting to email it to me later.

3) Personal branding experts, like me

In my 5 Most Interesting Notes From the 2010 Israeli Recruitment Conference, I mentioned that-

Morit Rozen even said that “the resume is going to die” – I disagree; more on that another time – and that soon, recruiters will just want names and use the Internet to find everything else. She suggests googling yourself right now (“לגגל” – l’gagel) to make a quick assessment of your situation, and I definitely agree with that.

And I still do.

But even if I’ve been recommending for years that you regularly build your brand online through social media, personal websites, blogging, or whatever combination makes the most sense for you, that still doesn’t mean you don’t need a paper resume any more.

The truth


Reasons why you still need a paper resume:

  1. Even in 2015, many companies still aren’t fully digital, especially smaller companies who make up the majority of any major job search market
  2. Be different. When everything is going virtual, the few people who successfully manage both the online and the offline will really standout. (This is why some people are still using fax machines to get their resumes in the door)
  3. Digital resumes get lost just as easily as paper ones. Resume copies you bring to interviews might be the only ones in the room, and the interviewers will appreciate that when it happens, especially when they go on to take notes directly on your copies.
  4. Like a business card, a resume crisply printed on high quality paper leaves a professional impression wherever you go: networking event or job fair.
  5. To show off your creativity

The proof

In May 2014, I posted the following poll to JobMob:

Have you sent or given a paper resume to recruiters in the past year?

  • No (55%, 278 Votes)
  • Yes (45%, 227 Votes)
Started: May 7, 2014 @ 10:19 am

Total Voters: 505

If the paper resume was truly dead, why would such a high percentage of people still be using them?

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Brian Krueger

    While most professional-level positions are fully digitized, many blue collar roles are not. And the paper resume is still the most accepted networking tool to have in your folder. Sure, you can give the contact a business card with a link to your resume, but wouldn’t you rather have him/her actually read your resume as a leave behind?

  2. Todd Porter

    The Paper Resume isn’t going away for the same reason books aren’t going away. People who were raised reading off paper won’t ever feel totally comfortable with electronic media. I did a poll and my wife said, she reads electronic books for convenience but loves the feel of book. (okay – that’s an official poll) The world can live with both electronic resumes/books and also hard copy, at least for the next generation or two.

  3. Jacob Share

    Todd- transitions are hardest, no question. And I agree that it’ll probably take at least 2 generations to see if paper ever goes away. Even if current grade teens were reared on tablets, their recruiters haven’t been, and the teens will need to follow instructions like everyone else.

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