The Handwritten Résumé: Does it Work?

Find out whether a handwritten résumé is still even a thing...

felicity jones in northanger abbey

Jobseekers aren’t just being judged by a single piece of paper, but a resume can tell employers a lot about them. The reason employers ask for it is to get an initial image of candidates, so it is worth putting a good deal of effort into creating a resume if you want to increase your chances of getting a job.

But, before you start, you need to ask yourself, what’s the definition of the perfect resume - if there is one and what does it include? Is it something that follows specific rules and standards? Is it okay to be handwritten or should it be typed? Which one will work best?

The handwritten resume seemed to serve Leonardo Da Vinci well so, why wouldn’t it work for you right? You could say that the handwritten resume will get the job, but is there any proof of that? Can it do a better job than the typed resume?

The truth is that there are pros and cons to hand-writing a resume, and there is an ongoing debate on the matter. Let’s take a look.

The bad

The majority of recruiters would say that the handwritten resume is a thing of the past and should remain that way. These are some of the reasons they believe the handwritten resume may not work in your favour:

  • It makes you look sloppy and unprofessional.
  • It looks like you don’t care about the job.
  • It seems that you are not a detail-oriented person.
  • It makes employers think you can’t use a computer.

The hand-written resume has many disadvantages as it doesn’t help candidates stand out from the crowd. The only reason it became obsolete in the first place is because recruiters have gone online and candidates felt the need to make themselves more desirable - and discoverable. As such, what employers are looking for cannot be demonstrated through a resume you have written by hand, not just because it shows no interest in the job but also in terms of the skills you possess.

That very last point needs a lot more attention, especially since we live in a world where technology is as essential as morning coffee. As such employers expect you to possess at least the most basic computer skills. By sending a hand-written resume, you only make it clear to them that you are unwilling to change or adapt to the modern environment and as such you will have a hard time fitting in at their company. This means that recruiters will also have to spend more time with you until you become familiar with the use of a computer. The result? They would probably hire someone else who shows them he can do the job and be a good cultural fit.

The good

However, there is one guy who believes that the handwritten resume is superior to the typed resume. A blogger from Japan who is involved in recruitment commented on the value of writing a resume by hand, which both candidates and recruiters seem to overlook.

Here are some reasons why you should hand-write your resume according to him:

  • It helps recruiters make a judgment on your education.
  • It is much more personal and direct.
  • It helps employers see your personality (handwriting and spelling).
  • It is more trustworthy than digital data.
  • It shows how much you want the job.

Now this is where it gets really interesting. While a handwritten resume can show that you didn’t put much effort into getting the job, in other ways, it may also be a statement of how much you want it. As the Japanese blogger says, the handwritten resume shows the candidate’s commitment to the application. In fact, he challenges other recruiters to look at things the way he does by asking them:

Which would you hire: the student who took the time to write an individual hand-written CV, or the one who just bashed away at the keyboard for a few seconds?”

Obviously the typed resume offers some luxuries to jobseekers. Word processing options and AutoCorrect, for example, makes things a lot easier for them. However, this also makes the paper less authentic by giving out a false image about a candidate.  

If you were to write your resume by hand, chances are you will need to spend more time on it as you would be working through a bunch of drafts until you get the one with no mistakes. While this does make sense, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct, and it is not how modern recruiters choose to look at it. Recruiters would gladly hire you if you were to make things easier for them. This includes helping them out by doing your job in the fastest and least expensive way. It also means coming up with easy and flexible solutions to make that happen. So, is handwriting a resume the best way to show that? Probably, not.

On the bright side, a hand written resume could work well for those who don’t have access to a computer. The fact that they took the time to write a resume even if they don’t have the appropriate tools does count for a lot. This is what happened to this homeless man who applied for a job using a handwritten resume.

See also: 16 Extraordinary Creative CV Examples

While there is no specific formula for writing a resume, as a successful jobseeker, you need to make sure you are always up to date and well-informed about current resume trends.   

I would suggest creating an online profile to make it easier for employers to find you and keep it up to date.

So, do you think it is wise to handwrite your resume? If yes, how relevant can it be made today? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below…