I'm applying to an assistant professor position at a private institution. I bought fancy resume paper on which to print my CV/resume. There are other components of the application package that I need to include:

  • Official application (contact info, criminal background statements, employment records, etc.)
  • Teaching statement
  • Cover letter

Should all of these be printed on fancy paper? My feeling is that all except the official application should be, but at the same time that might make the relatively flimsy paper stand out.

The applications materials are being mailed directly to the chair of the department, and it is a very small department. There are only one or two other faculty.

  • 10
    What is this "paper" you speak of?
    – jakebeal
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 22:14
  • @jakebeal Added a link showing product.
    – BMS
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 23:28
  • I am voting to close your question because only the institution you are applying to can tell you precisely on which kind of paper they prefer to receive the required documents.
    – enthu
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 23:43
  • 5
    @BMS sorry, perhaps my joke was too subtle: my point was that I haven't seen a request for a physical paper CV or resume for a long time.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 23:46
  • 2
    These days, it's increasingly likely that your application documents will immediately be scanned and the originals discarded. In which case, nobody will be impressed by your fancy paper except possibly the office worker who does the scanning. Of course, it's also increasingly common that applications are strictly electronic, so maybe this employer is a holdout. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 1:39

3 Answers 3


Above some minimum quality threshold (like, it's actually a piece of paper that is roughly a uniform white), the fanciness of the paper has had no bearing on any hiring decision that I've been a part of.


Since most people use electronic documents these days, if you're dealing with somebody who actually wants paper, it's likely they'll appreciate your fancy paper. Print whatever you'd appreciate having on fancy paper (not worrying about expense, since it's just one packet for a long-term position) and you'll be fine.

If, on the other hand, you've got a choice or electronic or physical, you should ignore your fancy paper and send an electronic packet. The physical submission option is only kept by many organizations as a fallback for odd exception cases.

  • 2
    I believe some departments require paper applications not because they like paper, but because they think the extra time and expense of preparing a paper application will ensure that they only get applications from serious applicants, thus reducing the time they have to spend reviewing them. But in such a case, they might immediately digitize applications upon receipt, and throw away the fancy paper. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 14:45


Any advantage or action that you perceive will gain you an advantage is worth doing, as long as it isn't unethical/against the law/etc. It might not impress anyone, or just the secretary who scans it, but it won't hurt either in those cases. A great application that is easy to read and on which somebody has obviously sweated the details is always a plus in my book, it shows that you care and that you pay proper attention to detail.

That said, other details are much more important than which paper you use, such as your prior experience, letters of recommendation, existing work and no spelling mistakes(!). Don't stress it too much.

  • It seems a lot of people disagree (that's fine, I'm not hurt), but have no further input on the discussion?
    – Jakob Buis
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 14:26
  • 2
    Any advantage or action that you perceive will gain you an advantage is worth doing: That is clearly not literally true. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 14:48
  • I disagree because printing your CV on obviously "fancy" paper might actually make a negative impression. Not so bad by itself, but if the rest of the application (i.e. cover letter and CV) has similar displays of ostentatiousness... that's not a good thing. Refill paper is out, but no reasonable and logical person would care whether the applicant used standard photocopy paper or fancy paper.
    – Moriarty
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 22:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .