When it comes to your resume, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. After all, hiring managers may have to sift through hundreds of job candidates to fill just one position. Obviously, you want them to focus serious attention on your resume, right? To do that, you need to make sure that the hiring manager who sees your resume is truly interested in learning more about you.
That will help lead to more interviews and a better chance of landing the job you need. Some job-seekers incorporate color in a resume as a way of drawing attention to the document. In this post we’ll examine the issue of resume color, and whether it’s wise to use colors other than black and white.
Most companies today automatically screen your resume. Nearly 75% of candidates are rejected by the ATS and many times it’s because the resume isn’t formatted properly.
Applicant Tracking Systems instantly recognize black text but may struggle with fancy colors, graphics and icons. Since you need to get past those systems to be considered by an actual human, it’s important to comply with the machine’s expectations.
(We wrote a good post here on why you should never have a “creative” resume).
First, we should note that the experts have differing views on this topic. Some old-school traditionalists argue that resumes should always be presented in clear, black and white.
Others subscribe to the idea that some color is okay – if you don’t get carried away. Many in the design professions are in favor of an even more liberal approach. They believe that graphics, colored text, and other resume dressing can help to showcase design capabilities in a way that mere text cannot. As a rule, though, almost everyone agrees that resume color should be used sparingly.
Here is an example of a resume with color that uses color appropriately to break up the different sections and give the resume a more modern look:
(We wrote a good post here on why you should never have a “creative” resume)
It is vital to remember why you use a resume. Your resume has a purpose, after all, and that purpose is to convey critical information to potential employers. That means that the document needs to be clear and presentable to readers. At the same time, however, it needs to be professional and serious. That’s important if you want people to take your application seriously. Resume color can impact that presentation if you don’t handle it with care.
Never forget that you’re trying to make the right kind of impression. Color is a powerful tool that can impact emotions and thoughts. Resume color is no different. The wrong colors, or too much color – can distract from an otherwise stellar presentation. With that in mind, one thing is clear: your use of resume color must be designed to enhance your presentation.
You can still use some design on your resume – but don’t get too creative.
If you are intent on using resume color, these tips can help you to use those hues to your advantage:
In the end, the choice of whether to use resume color is one that only you can make. A bit of color is generally acceptable, if your resume meets the right standards and you choose colors that are compliant with the ATS. It’s far more important, however, to focus on the content of the document, and properly showcase your relevant skills. Those skills and your potential value as an employee will ultimately determine your odds of landing an interview and job.