Using Color On Your Resume: What You Need To Know

So, you want your resume to stand out.

But will using color in your resume help increase your chances of getting hired, or will it turn potential employers away?

Once upon a time, using color on resumes were generally considered unacceptable. Fast forward to the present and the perspective of most employers has now changed. According to CNBC, most employers will appreciate your creativity in using color on your resume. However, there are considerations to keep in mind.

The right balance will make your resume stand out and will help convey your personal brand. Also, the ways in which you use color on your resume will help direct attention. But when you use color on your resume randomly and without strategic thought your resume can have the opposite effect, looking gimmicky and giving recruiters a negative impression.

The Positive Impact of Using Color on Your Resume

Using color on your resume provides you with an increased level of customization and can have a stunning positive impact on the results your resume produces. Some of the advantages include:

  • Color makes your resume visually appealing: You may consider using color in your resume to make it more appealing to recruiters or hiring managers. Research has shown that color increases attention and comprehension. Your strategic use of color will also help readers pick out the most important information on the page, helping to direct the recruiter’s eye.

  • Color can help showcase your creativity: If you’re applying for a job in the creative field, using colors in your resume will provide employers with a practical example of your capacity to create visually appealing pieces. But, the truth is that no matter what field you are in, color will help differentiate you and convey the idea that you are a modern thinker who is up-to-date on trends.

  • Color helps you stand out from the crowd: You saw the job advertisement but so did many others. Therefore, the recruiter handling your application will have to go through countless other resumes. Anything that attracts (positive) attention and sets you apart from the other applicants will help you to move to the next phase of the hiring process.

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Best Practices of Using Color on Your Resume

Are you considering adding color to your resume? It is important to remember that color choices have consequences. Color affects perception and in the context of a resume color can really impact the first impression your resume makes.

Colors convey different emotions and they influence what we think and how we feel. As already mentioned, color can also direct our attention. On your resume, this means that the careful use of color can help draw attention to points you want to emphasize and also draw attention away from points you want to deemphasize.

Here are a few ways that you can effectively use color in your resume:

Create a standard black-and-white resume

If you’re at all unsure whether you want to use color on your resume or wonder if some employers might not be impressed by color, it is a simple process to create multiple versions of your resume with different color schemes, including a black-and-white version.

You can show these versions to trusted friends and family, to solicit their opinions on the colored versions vs the more traditional black-and-white version. And, if you are applying for a job at a company with a very conservative culture and you think the basic black-and-white version will be best, you’ll have it ready.

Choose a color scheme

Use a consistent color scheme to ensure that you’re using colors attractively and professionally. To do this, it is usually best to use no more than three colors – primary, secondary, and accent colors.

For example, you can use black as the primary color, blue as the secondary color, and green as your accent color. You can also create a very attractive resume using a monochromatic color scheme, for example two or three different shades of blue.

Microsoft Word makes it easy to create attractive color schemes by selecting from the pre-set color schemes. You will find these on the design tab, under colors.

Using Color On Your Resume: What You Need To Know

Unless you are intentionally trying to draw the eye to a section of text (such as a heading), it is usually best to use only black or shades of gray for the text of your resume.

Don’t just pick any color

What colors will look best in your resume? The choices you make about color are important because color helps to reflect your personal brand and can even help tell your story. Don’t just choose any color and pray that the recruiter has a similar taste to yours. The colors you choose will evoke feelings and create an impression, and you should be thoughtful about exactly what image you want to convey.

For example, blue is generally accepted to convey brand attributes like trustworthiness, competence, and responsibility. Green conveys money, revitalization, and nature. Orange, creativity, productivity, and an adventurous spirit.

To pick the right colors for your resume, think about the context of the job you’re applying for, the expectations of your target industry and profession, the theme of the success stories you are telling in your resume, and the brand image you want to convey.

For example, imagine that you are an accountant or finance professional who is bold, confident, and ambitious and approaches every responsibility with a sense of urgency. These brand traits would tend to point to using the color red in the resume. But is red really the best choice for the accounting profession? A corporate finance executive? I’d say no. I would probably choose a green or a blue instead that convey the traits more valued in an accounting or finance professional.

Or, maybe you are known for bringing new energy and ideas and infusing your workplace with positivity. Or maybe you work the solar industry. Perhaps oranges and yellows would be good choices in either of those cases.

See the infographic at the end of this article for more about color psychology and some guidelines for choosing the best colors for your situation.

Should You Use Color When Creating Your Resume?

The simple answer is yes.

In fact, I’d argue that rather than focusing your attention on whether or not to use color, you focus on how you will incorporate it and which colors you will use.

As discussed above, there are some fundamentals that you should first understand to help you choose the right color for your job application.

If you are not confident designing your own resume and selecting colors that look good together, using a Distinctive Resume Template will be of great help. Even better, you aren’t stuck with the template color scheme. You can easily change the color scheme of almost all of our templates by just clicking a few buttons.

How To Choose Color For Your Resume Infographic