Resume Structure for Digital vs. Paper Resumes

What's on this page?

  • Tips for resume structure for a resume when it's digital
  • Tips for when your resume is paper

When you're writing a resume, no matter the resume structure, some things will always remain the same. You should always put your name at the top, for example. And you should always take care that your resume is attractive and well formatted. But in this digital age many, if not all, of the employers you might be applying to will expect you to send your resume in digital format. This means many of the resume rules have changed. Lets take a look at some of the older resume rules for paper. Keep in mind that though these rules are classic, they still apply if you are turning in a hard copy of your resume to your future boss.

Resume Structure Rules for Paper Resumes

  • If possible, keep your resume to one page.
  • Always print your resume on fancy resume paper. You can get this paper at any Wal Mart or other general store.
  • Make sure it looks attractive, not only on the screen of your computer but on the paper it's printed on.
  • If it looks funny when you print it, then revise it and print it again. Make sure it's centered, etc...
  • Use colors infrequently, if at all. Colors tend to look unfprofessional. If you can incorporate muted colors sparingly, then use them with caution.

Resume Structure Rules for Digital Resumes

  • It is still important to format your resume even if you're only sending in a digital copy
  • Convert your Word document (or whatever you're using) into a PDF before you email it. Some people have Macs. Some people have PC's Some people open documents with old versions of Microsoft Office. Some people hate Office and use something else. But no matter what your future employer uses to view documents your PDF will always look the same. My sister once sent her resume into a company three times before she realized that the program they were using converted all her text to unreadable symbols. Big fail. Convert it to PDF.
  • You have two options for your cover letter. You could opt to create a formal cover letter and change it to a PDF along with your resume. This is a good option because if they print it they will likely print the two documents together which still gives you just that much more credibility.
  • The second option for digital cover letters is a popular way to go now. Instead of creating a formal cover letter you just write your cover letter in the email you will be sending with your resume attached. This is a bit less formal and sometimes that can be good too. You do have to put something in the email so a cover letter might be a good way to go here. You'll have to get a feel for the company you're applying for to see which way is the way to go for you.

If you want some more basic rules for writing resumes check out the main resume writing page.

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