As long as job hunters have tried to stand out (and feel they need new tricks to do so), there’s been the question of color for a resume.
Way back in the Stone Age when I was a candidate, the big no-no was colored paper. Now, it seems that the concept of color ON a resume is still catching on.
My Careerealism post on resume trends brought this to light very quickly.
While I mentioned several up-and-coming techniques that have helped my resume clients immensely, one hot button seemed to be color.
Should you or shouldn’t you? Here’s what I’ve found to be true:
IF you’re in a field that is reasonably cutting-edge (say, technology), IF you’re wanting to spark interest and intrigue among employers, and IF you’re open to trying new things, then resume color is for you.
However, if your idea of novelty is using borders for the first time, then it might be best to hold off on color and rely on shades of gray to spice up your resume.
Several other rules of resume color that I apply in my work include:
1 – Resume color must fit the industry.
Blue is a nice touch for technical fields (see this Senior Software Engineer resume example), while this Chief Marketing Officer sample resume reflects the deep red in the candidate’s agency brand scheme.
You can also see a diverse array of colors and design elements in these executive resume samples.
2 – Resume color should be used to highlight specific elements.
This CFO held positions that were more relevant to his goal than his former employers. (trust me, I changed their names)
If you want a particular piece of information to stand out, color works VERY well.
3 – Resume color should reflect your personality.
If you aren’t comfortable with an edgy, look-at-me tone to your resume, you should back off on color or just use it in one place.
However, if you really thrive on attention and want employers to get with the program and hire you, then consider ways to incorporate it without going overboard.
You can read more about my perspective on resume color trends here at modenook.com, or look at Donna Sweiden’s post on resume trends.
Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is an executive resume writer and former recruiter who partners with C-suite, VP, IT, and Director-level candidates to win interviews at corporations including Google, Cisco Systems, AT&T, Oracle, McKesson, Accenture, and others. Her work has won 13 international awards for excellence in resume writing, with publication in numerous career bestsellers.