Should You Include Color on a Resume?

Color on a Resume | Tips & FAQs

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If you are applying for a job in an artistic industry, you can consider using color on your resume. For individuals working in creative roles, adding color to your resume can give your job application the extra flair it needs to stand out. Learn about the importance of using color properly on a resume, the best colors to use, and how to create a polished resume that can help you impress employers.

Who should use color on their resume?

Some examples of professions in which a resume using color would be beneficial include the following:

  • Photographer
  • Art director
  • Artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic artist
  • Fashion designer
  • Floral designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Tattoo artist
  • Animator
  • Advertising director
  • Makeup artist
  • Creative director
  • Brand ambassador

Using color on your resume will help you showcase your creativity to hiring managers. This is essential in most artistic roles. It can give employers an idea of your talent, skills, and expertise right from the start of the hiring process.

Why should you include color on your resume?

Here are some reasons why you should consider the use of color on your resume.

It can leave a good first impression

Recruiters tend to scan resumes rather quickly, so it’s important to leave a lasting first impression. When your resume arrives on their desk or inbox, it needs to stand out and display a sense of creativity relative to the role you’re applying for.

It can make your resume visually appealing

Not only do recruiters appreciate a well-organized resume and layout, but they also like to see a visually engaging one, as well. Using colors to draw attention to important resume sections such as your skills and experience is a good way to create this type of engagement.

It can demonstrate your ability to fit in with the company’s culture

If you’re using color on your resume, you may be able to implement a color scheme that correlates with the company’s brand or logo. Doing this can help you demonstrate your brand awareness and show recruiters that you took the time to research the company.

It highlights relevant keywords and sections

Color can also be used to draw attention to certain parts of your resume. This can include key skills that are specific to the role you’re applying for. Color is a great way to get recruiters to focus on the relevant expertise that aligns with the job requirements and qualifications.

It is usually scannable by Automated Tracking Systems (ATS)

Many hiring managers use an ATS to screen resumes before going through applications themselves. This is done to detect any keywords they’re looking for. While some stylistic font or graphic additions to a resume may make it more difficult to make it through an ATS, different colors should have no effect.

What are the best colors to use in a resume?

The best colors to use on your resume greatly depend on the profession you’re applying for. Whereas black and white are suitable colors for a financial, business administration, or similar position, consider using more bold and diverse colors if you work or want to work in a creative role. Ultimately, an artistic career allows you to use more colors than a standard resume would.

When you select colors for your resume, narrow it down to a primary, secondary, and accent color. This ensures that you’re creating a strong color scheme that is professional and clean. The accent color is great to highlight certain key points on your resume that you want recruiters to notice.

If you want to keep a conservative-looking resume while using color, consider using black, white, and an accent color such as blue or green. This color scheme is minimal while still providing a visual element for recruiters. A safe option is to use white as the background color, black for your text, and the accent color to highlight important areas of your resume that you want to stand out.

Tips for using color on your resume

Here are some helpful tips for using color on your resume.

Match your resume to your cover letter

To create a cohesive look and style, use the same colors for the cover letter that you used on your resume. This helps create a consistent brand for yourself and your application materials. A uniform color scheme goes a long way toward impressing hiring managers in the creative industry.

Consider the paper you use

Be mindful of the paper type you’re using for your resume, as this can affect how the color on your resume will turn out. Take some time to print out different colors to determine what you want the final result to look like.

Stick to a maximum of three colors

When you choose colors for your resume, stick to a primary, secondary, and accent color. This will ensure your resume isn’t overly designed. Make sure to select colors purposefully.

Assign roles to the colors you choose

Assign colors to a specific function on your resume. For example, use one color for the main text, another for subsections, and another accent color to highlight certain areas of interest or special skills.

Create a hierarchy

When you use colors on your resume, use them to create a hierarchy. For example, use color for important details such as dates, subheadings, and headings. This helps highlight the most important elements of your resume. If you decide to use a single color, maintain this same type of hierarchy by differentiating the weight and sizes of your fonts.

Use color on design elements

Rather than using different colors for the text, consider using it for different design elements instead. This can include any shapes or icons.

Create balance

When you use colors on your resume, use them to create a harmoniously balanced layout. Spread color throughout your resume rather than having it in one area.

Consider the psychology of colors

When selecting colors for your resume, consider the meaning behind each color. For example, red typically represents power, blue displays intelligence, and green represents growth and calmness. Determine the impression you want to leave with hiring managers when making your selection.

Avoid bright colors

When selecting colors for your resume, avoid anything too bright. If you decide to use a neon color, use it sparingly to avoid possible eye strain. It’s also important to consider contrast. Use dark colors on a light background and light colors on a dark background.

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