Guide on How to Use Color in a Resume: Pros, Cons, and Tips

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Rise above other job searchers with the help of a well-designed resume. Learn how to add color in a resume layout—and make your job application stand out!

Should You Use Color on Your Resume?

Short answer, yes!

Many are hesitant to use colors in a resume, believing that doing so may leave a negative impressive to hiring managers. However, many employers today are open to fresh perspectives and using colors in a resume design can help your document standout.

There are things to remember despite the practice being accepted. First, you must take into account your industry. If you are searching for a job in digital and creative industries, then using color on your resume can help you showcase your design skills and standout from others. In contrast, traditional industries may need a more straightforward resume. So, choose darker colors to match the formal theme.

Second, you must look into your personality. You must find a balance between colors and spaces to make your resume format more appealing. The key is to make your resume clear and eye-catching. For more tips, read on.

Job Seeker Writing Resume On A Laptop

Advantages of Using Color in a Resume

Draws Attention

Hiring managers receive a handful of resumes and cover letters each day. So, there is a high chance that you are competing with a hundred other job searchers for a single job post. Set yourself apart from the pile of applicants using a unique resume. One way to catch their eyes is through a well-made design using color in a resume.

Improves Layout

After standing out from other job searchers, your next challenge is to let them see your winning feats. If done right, resume colors and layout can do this trick. Hiring managers may quickly scan your document so you must be able to highlight your topnotch skills within a short time. Also, colors can provide a smooth transition to your sections and improve your entire resume layout.

Shows Creativity

Applying for jobs in a creative industry? You may want to start strong with a creative resume. Showcase your skills with colors and design through your resume. Choose the right hues, best resume fonts, and resume layout based on your job post. If the company uses a color scheme, you may also want to use it. This can show that you did your research prior to the job search.

Conveys Personality

Aside from skills, you can also include a glimpse of your personality into your resume. Adding color and choosing the color palette can already give hints about you. Some hiring managers also look for one’s personality and assess their compatibility with the rest of the team early on. So, having a good first impression is crucial in winning the job posting.

Businessman Interviewer Consider A Resume

Disadvantages of Using Color in a Resume

Affects Readability

There are hiring managers who use software, such as applicant tracking systems, to screen through the resumes they receive every day. The system scans the resume to find keywords for a job role. At times, an overly designed resume may not be scanned properly. Nonetheless, using more graphics or mismatched colors over words may affect this process.

Distracts Reading

As said previously, adding colors can improve the resume layout. However, if done wrong, it can also make your resume difficult to read. Thus, choose colors that would match your tone. Also, select areas that need more emphasis and focus the colors on those parts to achieve balance on colors, white background, and texts.

Tips in Choosing the Best Colors in a Resume

Adding colors in a resume might be a bit tricky at first. Therefore, we’ve listed below useful color guides to help you choose the best palette for your job application.

  • Dark Colors – Perhaps the safest color scheme for starters are dark colors such as green or blue. Darker colors might not be striking, but they provide enough color variation to your resume. Avoid using dark font color over dark background for it may be hard to read.
  • Bright Colors – In contrast, bright colors are harder to pull off than dark colors. Wrong colors can instantly put your resume into a bad light. On the contrary, for creative job posts, this may be a good chance to show your skills in design. Also, avoid using more than three main colors for it may appear too cluttered.
  • Black and White – As much as adding colors can be fun, there’s nothing wrong with black and white. This scheme is the safest option for traditional companies.

How to Use Colors in a Resume

Drafting your colored resume soon? Here are guides to follow:

  1. Draft your resume. Write a resume without colors yet. You may use the black-and-white color scheme at this stage. This step will help you organize your skills and feats into your chosen resume format. This will be the core of your job application.
  2. Choose a color palette. After reading the pros and cons of each color scheme, decide which one fits your taste and industry. Plan which colors will be used for the document. Also, consider the companies color scheme and apply it to show that you know them.
  3. Select sections to highlight. Choose areas that you want to highlight. This may be your core skills and experiences. Adding colors will draw the reader’s attention to the right places if included properly.
  4. Apply colors to layout. Combine the basic resume with the color scheme plan. Add the chosen colors and improve the sections that need emphasis. At this point, you may still change the colors based on the initial output.
  5. Check design. View the entire resume and check if the colors matched. Read and spot the areas that can be hard to read. Revise accordingly until the desired design is achieved.
Job Seeker Using Laptop To Incorporate Color In A Resume

Perfect Your Job Search with the Right Color in a Resume

Win more job chances with a well-made resume. Partner with a resume writing expert to help you add the right color in a resume. Gain more edge in today’s job competition and take the latest resume trends to your advantage. Contact us to learn the best resume offers for you!

Michelle King

Michelle King

A Gardena, CA-based professional, Michelle King is RPW’s seasoned career strategist, resume writer, and talent advisor. Since 2003, she has helped countless job seekers land their dream jobs with her resume writing skills as well as her ability to provide career coaching.
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