postmanIt's funny that even though the Internet is making the world a paperless place, sending a paper resume is still the best way to get it in front of a potential employer.

Searching for a job online can lead to a black hole where resumes, letters, applications and anything else sent through e-mail or in an online application can get lost with thousands of other people looking for the same position.

Although many companies only want online applications and want everything sent through e-mail or an online form, it's a good idea to send a resume on paper as a backup and as a way to get attention, according to Mike Zaya, CEO of PrintRunner.com, an online printing company. (That sounds like an oxymoron, "online printing.")

You'd think that Zaya's company -- which prints business cards, letterhead and other things job seekers need -- would be doing lousy in a recession where business is done online. But with print shops closing left and right, an online print shop like his is doing fantastic, said Zaya, who bought the business three years ago.

Online may be the top way to contact employers, but it's not the only way.

"Paper's not out," he told me in a telephone interview.

Resumes should be printed on heavy, quality paper with a crest watermark, and sent in envelopes with the same letter crest to distinguish your resume from anyone else's, he said. A follow-up letter should also be sent on the same stock.

Business cards should also stand out, although not as wildly as someone who is applying for a creative job. Using color is important to distinguish it from the crowd, but again, nothing too far out. "Nothing crazy but something more than normal," Zaya recommended.

As long as there are unemployed people seeking jobs, there will be a need for paper resumes, he said. They're important to have them to hand out at job fairs, for example, and gives a potential boss something to hold on to and read away from the computer. You want them to have something to remember you by.

"Just having a resume cannot be replaced," Zaya said.

And it won't be lost in a power failure.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at www.AaronCrowe.net

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