A handwritten resume: Should you use it in 2023? ResumePerk
A handwritten resume: Should you use it in 2023?
Decades ago, all resumes were handwritten. Job-seekers would write down their employment history, education, and skills by hand and present the resume to employers in person, or send it by mail. The times have changed since then, and today most employers expect a digital resume in a DOCX or PDF format.
Yet, handwritten resumes can still be used in certain situations and contexts. In this article, we will explain when it is worth it to apply with a handwritten resume and what are the pros and cons of using this resume type.
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When should you submit a handwritten resume?
Recruiters typically see handwritten resumes as a thing of the past and do not welcome such applications. However, there are exceptions. You can confidently use a resume written by hand in the following instances:
The company specifically asks for a handwritten resume
If the job posting requires the candidates to apply with a handwritten resume, you need to follow the employer’s directions. Such companies are rare, but you can come across one of them. There are many reasons for companies to pose this requirement.
Some companies might not have the established application process online, or prefer doing business the old way. The others want to see your motivation and interest in the role, as writing a resume by hand takes time and effort. Do not submit a handwritten resume if the employer expects a digital copy, as in this case, it is likely to get tossed.
You are applying to a small local business
Small businesses often accept handwritten resumes as well. If the company doesn’t have a website or social media pages, they will gladly accept your application in person. You can also use a printed copy of your digital resume in this case, yet, some believe that handwritten resumes show more personality.
In either case, you need to approach writing a paper resume seriously. Research the company, study its requirements and focus on the exact qualifications and experiences the company is looking for.
Your industry welcomes a creative approach
A handwritten resume can be used not only to convey your professional background to the employer. Today, when sending a digital resume has become a norm, sending a handwritten resume can show your high interest in a position. Plus, it will demonstrate your creative approach and surely will get you top of the hiring manager’s mind.
Such an out-of-the-box approach will most likely work in a creative or arts industry. If coming up with a non-standard solution to a problem is welcomed in your industry, you can try and apply with a handwritten resume.
The pros and cons of using a handwritten resume
Like any non-traditional way of job application, submitting a paper resume has its pros and cons you should take into account.
- It is a creative way to stand out. In a world where everyone submits DOCX and PDF resumes, receiving a letter with a handwritten resume can be pretty surprising for a recruiter – in a good way. Chances are, they will spend more time on your application simply because this isn’t a common thing.
- It shows your personality. A handwritten resume can tell a lot about your education level, attention to detail, and the ability to structure and organize information. When writing a resume on a sheet of paper, we do not have standard fonts and the auto-correct feature, so every resume is different.
- It proves that you really want the job. If you took your time to write a resume by hand, not just send a digital copy, it shows that you are really motivated to work in this company. High motivation and enthusiasm are valued by every employer, no matter the industry.
- It makes a great impression (if your handwriting is good). A well-organized resume with good handwriting and correct spelling instantly makes a good impression. It makes the hiring manager think that the applicant is just as detail-driven and organized when it comes to doing their job.
- It might be difficult to read. If you have a clear handwriting, it definitely works to your advantage. On the flip side, if you don’t write beautifully and your handwriting is difficult to read, the hiring manager is likely to toss it whatsoever.
- It can indicate your lack of knowledge of the work culture. Today, people send job applications digitally. If you don’t do the same, the hiring manager can assume that you are not familiar with the professional etiquette and work culture, and will not fit into the organization.
- The employer might think you’re not tech-savvy. The recruiter might think that you don’t have a computer or cannot use it. As most businesses use computers and software to automate their processes, coming across as a Luddite isn’t the best first impression.
- You need to write a new resume for every position. If you apply to multiple companies, you cannot just paraphrase the career summary and send the same resume everywhere. You will need to write it from scratch, every time.
With so many pros and cons, the best strategy is to weigh if submitting a paper resume is acceptable in your industry and career situation. Moreover, even if you decide to write a resume by hand in 2023, prepare a digital copy in case the hiring manager requests it.
How to write a resume by hand?
- Use high-quality thick paper. Choose paper no less than 100 grams per square meter and a good ink pen. A resume written on thick premium paper makes a solid impression as opposed to resumes on thin paper that look sloppy. Use a lined sheet of paper so that your lines look straight.
- Use one-inch margins. Without margins, your resume text will look cluttered. Be sure to use some white space for better readability and make sure the resume can be punched.
- Write in lists, not paragraphs. Just like with digital resumes, use lists over paragraphs – in this case, your resume will look structured and organized.
- Keep it under 3 pages. Handwriting naturally takes more space than the text typed on the computer. So, while recommended length for digital resumes is 1-2 pages, handwritten resumes can take up to 3 pages.
- Avoid correcting your mistakes. If you misspelled a word or made another mistake, it is best not to use a correction fluid or cross it out. Take a new sheet of paper and start it over. It is time-consuming, but sending a corrected resume will not make the right first impression.
Follow the standard resume rules
The requirements for a handwritten resume as the same as for a digital one. To make your resume effective and persuasive, follow these tips:
Describe your professional experience concisely
Experienced professionals should focus on the last 10 years of work. You can omit the early jobs, or list the job titles only. List your jobs chronologically starting from the current position. Do not rewrite the job descriptions from the internet and do not focus too much on the daily duties – instead, describe the results.
List education after the experience
Students and graduates can write about education first. In this case, such details as your GPA, coursework, and college awards are welcome. If you have 2+ years of experience, put the Experience section first and focus on describing relevant professional duties.
In addition to a college or university degree, you can add training, online courses, and certifications. You can create a separate Training section for such information.
Include relevant skills
In digital resumes, skills work as keywords and help you pass the ATS filters. When writing a resume on a sheet of paper, you can expand on each skill so that it sounds more convincing to an employer. Whenever possible, avoid generic skills such as teamwork, dedication, and organization.
For example, instead of “leadership” you can say “coordinated a team of 5 sales associates in a retail store”. Usually, we recommend including between 8-14 skills.
Add the Summary section
Write 3-5 sentences summarizing your qualifications and accomplishments for the position. Make sure your summary is customized for the exact company’s needs and challenges. Include figures and percentages whenever possible, as they always make a great impression.
Focus on achievements
For each job you list, write not only your daily duties, but also the precise results of your work: the revenue you generated, costs you saved, processes you improved, people you trained, etc. Add numbers to illustrate your impact. Include at least one accomplishments per job, as the accomplishments differentiate you from other candidates with the same qualifications.
Check for mistakes
Employers don’t like grammar mistakes, vague sentences and misspelled words. Mistakes in a handwritten resume make a negative impression, so proofread the written resume to make sure it’s flawless. To avoid mistakes, you can type a resume on your computer, run a spell checker, and then just put it on paper.
Let our resume writers create a standout resume for you
If you choose to apply with a handwritten resume, it is best to write it yourself because such a resume shows your personality. Yet, when it comes to digital resumes, you can benefit a lot from working with a resume writer who knows your industry and modern resume standards. Looking for a job without resume? Check out this article.
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