Resumes and CVs have already been conventionally black and white. However, a dash of color can always make things look more interesting, and your resume is no different. It can make your resume stand out, and with the correct use of color and formatting, you can highlight your skills much more efficiently.
However, candidates often get confused about how many colors should they use on their resume and which colors are the best. It is good to consult a professional resume maker if you are unsure about the correct use of color, but then it is not very difficult to figure it out.
It is all about making the right impression so that the hiring manager going through hundreds of resumes each day, makes it a point to go through your resume, and you can make the desired call to the interview.
You must, however, make sure that the colors should not distract the reader or overpower the content of your resume. Nor should it feel like you are trying to impress the hiring manager through your impressive designing skills alone and not your merit. Here are some of the ways in which you can enhance your resume by using colors to your best advantage.
Use of Colors in Resume: The Right Color Scheme and Combination
To use colors on your resume, you need to use the right combination of colors. Then, the colors should be balanced by using the right font and font size. The two things to remember here are hierarchy and contrast.
Contrast here would mean that writing something on a contrasting background makes it stand out, which is why writing in black over white is the popular choice, and it presents the highest contrast. You can write the main body of your resume in black and white, and you can add other darker colors while writing the headings and subheadings.
While choosing the colors for the headings and subheadings, do not choose a pale color that will merge with the white background. You can choose darker colors, but which also look professional, like dark green or navy blue.
It is more about visual representation that will psychologically affect the hiring manager reading your resume and leading their eyes over your resume when it comes to hierarchy. To do so, you must choose colors hierarchically.
So, if you have selected dark green for your main heading, the next sub-heading can be in another shade of green, two shades lighter than dark green. Use this format through the resume to create a seamless flow of information.
That way, the reader will see the dominant color first and then the secondary colors.
Next, you can use another color to highlight links and subsections with specific information about your portfolio, like an award or recognition or a paper you published.
While using color psychology on your resume is interesting, you also have to know that not all hiring managers will get it. While green signifies growth, yellow signifies hope, and blue signifies being calm, your hiring manager might not get the implications. Hence, the best way to go about it is to choose an aesthetically pleasing color combination that can highlight your skills.
You also need to remember that if you are applying in an industry that is traditionally known to be conservative, like law, traditional public sector jobs, or research in medical science, then it is best not to use bright colors too much and keep the use of colors to a minimum.
On the other hand, if you want to apply for a graphic designer position, you can show a flair for creativity by using colors interestingly on your resume.
Things to Keep in Mind while Using Colors for your Resume
You can only use color to your best advantage when some other factors are also in place. Using too much of it without properly balancing your format can spell doom for your resume. Here is what you need to keep in mind.
1. Using White Space
You should have some white space on your resume to make it easy for the recruiter to differentiate between the various sections. Tightly packing in too much text can make the information incomprehensible. Use line spacing to separate the points and leave space between the headings, subheadings, and main text, even if you are using color.
2. Use Professional Fonts
It would be best to always use only professional fonts for your resume. There are some fonts that might look aesthetically pleasing due to the calligraphic effect they produce, but when recruiters have to go through hundreds of resumes quickly, they might come across as unreadable. Use clear fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri, Verdana, or something similar, and use the colors to make the writing look interesting instead.
3. Choosing the Layout
Instead of overdoing the colors on your resume, you can choose an interesting layout that will also add to the organization of points on your resume. You can use a pale for the background of a box in which you mention your awards and recognition or while mentioning your skills.
In addition, do not overdo the bullet points. Use them sparingly but effectively only when more than three points are in a particular section. Too many bullets can be seen as distracting, and only use them when you are sure about the formatting.
4. Keeping ATS is Mind
You must know about the Applicant Tracking System or ATS that many larger companies now use to go through the huge resumes they receive every day. The ATS can track resumes even when they have colors on them because they mostly screen resumes through keywords.
However, it is best not to overdo the colors as the AI might get confused with too many colors or with the wrong formatting. Using garish colors with illegible fonts is the worst possible mistake you can make, as it could throw the ATS off track.
Some of the Best Colors You May Choose for Your Resume
Here are some colors that look good on your resume. Remember to use them intelligently.
Choosing red for your resume can be an interesting option because it will surely draw your recruiter’s attention to that particular section. Red signifies passion and is a bold color, and you should only use it while mentioning the strongest point on your resume.
Like red, orange is a bright and bold color as well and should be used minimally. Since there is a certain perky quality, you can use it to highlight your hobbies and interests, especially if you pursue something out of the way and want your recruiters to notice.
While yellow is a bright color that signifies hope, you should refrain from using it as a font color because it tends to merge easily with the white background, and whatever you have written could become difficult to read. Hence, it would be best if you only used it for the purpose of highlighting.
Shades of green are one of the most popular options in a resume. Dark green looks very professional and can be used for your main headings, while you can opt for lighter shades for your subheads. It is also the color of nature and signifies growth.
Like green, blue is also a very popular option on resumes. Navy blue looks very professional, and you can use it for your headings. However, some shades of blue can look depressing, as blue is also traditionally associated with sadness. And yet, blue is one of the most-liked colors in the world because the right shade also signifies calmness. Many companies in the world also use it.
Purple has been traditionally associated with wealth and royalty and also signifies creativity. It is a dark and bold color yet has a certain amount of brightness. Using it on your resume will definitely make you come across as more adventurous. If you are applying in a conservative industry, then you would do well to stick to neutral colors. You will be using colors, but it will not look too out of the way. You can use bright and fun colors when applying in a more liberal and new age industry, as many startups today focus on creativity. Making your resume stand out is the key, without making it look like a rainbow.
Your resume should push your resume to the next level rather than making your recruiter think twice about hiring you. Many recruiters have proclaimed that adding a dash of color works to the candidate’s advantage as it definitely makes the resume stand out.
However, at the end of the day, it is the content of the resume rather than the design that will influence the recruiter’s decision. Keep your resume professional and aesthetically appealing.
Once you have added your impressive list of qualifications and skills, you will have a winning combination on your hands that will surely draw your prospective employer’s attention. It will be the first step to a promising and fulfilling career.