Recruiters and hiring managers appreciate receiving a polished hard copy of your resume when they meet with you in person. When preparing for a job fair or interview, it can be easy to forget to pack your printed document properly in order to protect it from damage. If you arrive with a torn or smudged resume, you’ll be less likely to leave people with a positive or memorable impression of your skills. When bringing your hard copy resume to a formal occasion, it’s important to protect it against the elements.

Secure Your Resume in Three Steps 

1. Insert your resume pages in a plain manila folder.
2. Slide the manila folder into a clear plastic letter-size document holder and/or a large Ziploc bag.
3. Place the sealed-up manila folder in a sturdy portfolio folder that you’ll carry into the job fair or interview. (For simplicity, when you’ve safely arrived at the venue, you can toss or pocket the plastic bag or document holder.)

By putting these three layers around your hard copy resume, you’ll keep it presentable and protect against a worst-case scenario. For instance, say you’ve just parked at the office building where you’re scheduled for a job interview. On getting out of your car, you drop your resume folder in a mud puddle. Don’t panic if the portfolio folder is ruined (or at least unusable this time), but you can still retrieve the dry manila folder from inside and bring that to your interview. Arriving at the interview with your resume in a plain manila folder isn’t ideal, but it’s far better than showing up with a mud-spattered resume (or none at all).

The three steps outlined above are only one method of preserving your hard-copy resume. There are always alternative methods to protect your documents, including packing them in a laptop bag or briefcase. Whenever you bring your resume to a job fair or interview, make a mental note to protect it against the elements. This will ensure that you will never be without it when you need it most. Thinking this through, and acting accordingly, will ensure that your hard copy resume is as physically present and presentable as you are during your interview.

More Hard-Copy Resume Tips

Careful transport isn’t the only thing to know about using a hard-copy resume in your job search. Also, keep these five tips in mind:

  • Avoid printing your resume on regular printer paper. For a formal job fair or interview, using printer paper is like wearing jeans and a T-shirt: too casual in virtually all cases. Instead, use high-quality resume paper, which you’ll find at almost any office supply store. Resume paper comes in plain white and “off-white” options like ivory. We generally suggest using the off-white option. You may feel off-white resume paper is less “crisp”looking than plain white. But it’s also gentler on the eyes (especially if you’re using a serif font). The color difference helps further distinguish your resume from other printed documents.
  • Choose the highest quality setting on your printer. The difference between standard and high print quality on most printers is pretty subtle. But that difference is still worth it on a document as formal as your resume. Also, remember to print in color if your resume has color elements.
  • Use a paperclip or stapler if your resume is two or more pages.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume in case you end up interviewing with more people than you expect. Ideally, you’ll never have to tell someone who asks for your resume that you’re fresh out of copies.
  • Choose a portfolio folder with distinct pockets or flaps where you can slide in business cards, your resume, a pen, and a legal pad for taking notes or contact information.

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