How to Effectively Use Color on your Resume?


Fri, 09/16/2022 - 14:21

Creating your resume is an interesting process. Choosing the appropriate color palette is one of the most crucial parts of creating an effective resume, no matter if you choose a color or just use black and white. If you are creating your resume, you must understand when and how to utilize color effectively.

Including color in your resume can help it stand out from the crowd. some resumes increasingly utilize colors to add style or highlight important information, contrary to the earlier expectation that every resume submitted with the job application should only be in black and white. Depending on the hiring manager seeing your resume, color may or may not be appropriate. Some industries are more inclined to allow color than others. It’s crucial to use color in your resume in a professional manner. In this post, we will guide you on whether you should use color in your resume or other phases of the job application process, about how to include color on a resume, and also about which colors to pick and how to use them with advice and examples.

Why should you use color in your resume?

There are various reasons for which a candidate might consider adding color to their resume. The most fundamental justification for using color in a resume is to enhance its visual appearance and help it stand out from the competition when the hiring manager is browsing through candidates for a position. A resume can be made more eye-catching by using simple color coding to identify section headings or draw attention to a particular section.

To demonstrate their capacity to produce aesthetically appealing pieces of material, candidates in the creative sector can use the colors on their resumes. Some job seekers believe that adding color to their resume is the best way to make their resume genuinely reflect who they are as a person.

There has been significant discussion regarding whether or not color should be used in resumes. Some contend that using color effectively in a design is essential, while others may argue that choosing grayscale or black and white makes the resume look more polished. For anyone designing a resume, striking a balance between a design that is visually appealing and professional is crucial. Creating a paper that makes you stand out from the competition should be your aim as an application. But it should also assist you in creating a favorable impression as a serious applicant.

You should decide to add color to your resume based on your preferences and personality. Additionally, it depends on your sector and the position you are aiming for. You can make a truly unique resume if you know how to use color tastefully, proficiently, and appealingly. You can also create attention-grabbing paper in black and white if you doubt your ability to use color effectively. When applied correctly, both options have an equal chance of success.

So, do you want to add colors to your resume to stand out? But the real question is, will adding colors to the resume attract employers or turn them away?

It used to be universally accepted that color on a resume was terrible. But in 2022, employers’ viewpoints have changed. Using color on your resume might help your application stand out.

How do you determine which colors to use on your resume? And how much color is too much?

The answer to these questions will vary depending on the candidate’s industry and how the resume is used. Let’s first consider the lifecycle of a resume to determine what amount of color is appropriate for you.

Mentioned below are how resumes are reviewed and evaluated

  • Resumes may be scanned and filtered automatically.
  • The recruiting manager reviews the resume on a computer, a phone, or a printout,
  • For physical distribution, resumes are printed, frequently in black and white.

Any of these phases can be positively or negatively impacted by the color of a resume. To fully comprehend this, let’s consider it from the employer’s viewpoint.

Will I be rejected if I use color on a resume?

Although the use of color in modern hiring is becoming more widespread, it doesn’t necessarily follow if you are using any color on your resume, it will put a negative impression and might turn off certain potential employers.

The field in which you are applying should be your priority while determining whether or not to use color on your resume. It is more common for a graphic designer’s resume to use color to highlight certain sections and set it out from an accountant or other professionals. This is not a strict rule because certain hiring managers in the financial industry may like the colors, while some managers looking for designers may still prefer a basic resume format. However, a powerful first indication of whether colors are appropriate or not can come from your industry.

Having two versions of your base resume saved, one in black and white and one in color, is a good practice when using colors on your resume. When applying for a job, try to review the company and decide which is a better fit for you based on what you can learn about its culture and the industry it operates. Save a copy of the matching version of your resume as a new file, then change it to reflect the qualifications and responsibilities specified in the job posting when customizing it to match the job posting.

Should You Use a Colorful Resume Format When Creating Your Resume?

In this competitive job market, whether you are an executive, manager, or mid-career professional, you are aware of the fact that you are competing against equally qualified candidates for the same position. So, what can you do to set yourself apart from the competition using your resume and another career in marketing materials? Give them a touch of color.

If used properly, colors can be a powerful instrument in your resume. So, when should you use color on your resume? Here are some pointers.

  1. To draw the recruiter’s attention

The main thing that color can do for your resume is to draw the reader’s attention to particular sections of the page. Recruiters and hiring managers typically give resumes just a few seconds of their attention before determining whether or not to keep them. You can direct their focus to the key elements of your resume by using color. Usually, this entails giving your name and your headings some color. Your reader will know which parts of the resume they should focus on if you use color consistently.

For instance, use the same blue font, for your name and the headings for the sections on your education, employment background, and talents. This makes it easier for the reader to find important information easily. Additionally, you might use a matching color for any subheadings and your contact details. When used effectively, color may help you harmonize the various sections of your resume and direct the reader’s attention to the most important areas.

  1. While showing compatibility

Your resume’s reader can determine whether you would fit well with their business culture based on the personality and character you demonstrate there. Bright color schemes can make you stand out as a qualified candidate if you are seeking a position at an office with a relaxed, contemporary vibe. Alternatively, a subdued color scheme would probably be more effective if you sent your application to a more official or traditional business. If you do some advanced research on the business, it will be easier for you to select colors demonstrating your ability to blend in with the team.

  1. While showing your creativity skills.

The creativity you should display when creating your resume mostly depends on the type of job you are applying for and the job sector. For example- your ability to work with color may be necessary if you want to become a graphic designer, artist, primary school teacher, interior designer, marketing director, etc.

However, your knowledge of color schemes is less critical, if you are looking for work in finance, politics, commerce, or law. Generally speaking, the level of creativity you exhibit on your resume, should correspond to the level of creativity you would exhibit in your new position.

If the position you are pursuing involves certain creative abilities, then it will be advantageous to learn precisely what your potential employer is searching for in you. For example, if the position would require you to use that particular program like InDesign, you might utilize that specific tool, to create your resume. You may be able to discover methods to include the company’s trademark color scheme in your resume if it is one that it consistently utilizes as a part of its branding.

  1. When you are applying online

 The potential for the design to be corrupted or changed when you submit your resume online is one of the disadvantages of using color in your resume. This is especially relevant given that a company’s applicant tracking system may review your resume (ATS). If prospective employers use such an automated screening method, then using color may cause the scanning software to become confused. Opening your colorful resume on someone else’s screen could give it a different appearance. If the colors change, then some of your writing can become difficult to read. You can altogether avoid these problems if you use the colors carefully.

  1. When you lack in design. 

If you have never previously used color in a resume, you should know that it frequently requires time and work to develop this talent. If you lack confidence in your skills, using color might be dangerous. Even without color, a resume can still grab attention and be effective if the content is organized intelligently and written correctly.

Instead of giving a simple resume, you can prefer using resume templates that are available online. ShriResume’s resumes are tailored to your industry and the job opening you are applying for.

Right colors to use on a resume

Color conveys a lot of information, without even saying a word. It induces feelings and creates an impression. It is essential in marketing fields. While the substance of a resume is extremely important, anyone looking to stand out from the crowd should experiment with a bit of color in the layout. It will enhance their reputation, attract more attention, and hopefully elicit an emotional response from potential employers.

Unless you are specifically applying in a creative field and the colors are essential to your intended design, you should generally refrain from using excessively bright colors on your resume. Bright and flashy colors can come off as less professional and are more likely to be perceived negatively by a hiring manager than a more subtle color palette would be.

Colors that are light in tones such as pastels or muted natural tones are a good choice to use as back colors. If done properly, a light background on a section makes it stand out and attracts attention without being overly ostentatious or out of place with the rest of the resume.

Bright colors are less flexible than dark hues, but they can also be used as a background by changing the font’s color to white to contrast with the deeper shade. Because it is difficult to read light text on a white page, you can alternatively choose darker font colors. Another effective technique to emphasize key points is to make your section titles burgundy or decide to make the bolded text in your employment history and education parts navy blue.

Still, confused about what will be the right color for you to mention in your resume. Check all the colors they have included in their logo. They did not choose them by accident but had to think a lot before deciding on those colors in their logos. you can choose those colors to use on your resume. Or else, as a candidate, you can utilize these color insights to advance your candidacy. So, choose the colors strategically.


Leadership, Perseverance, Dynamic, Destruction


Strength, Ambition, Creativity, Excitement


Power, Energy, Freedom, Tolerance


Dexterity, Intelligence, Originality, Distraction


Value, Luxury, Wisdom, Beauty, Generosity


Stability, Progress, Mandatory, Jealous


Carelessness, Calm, Reliability, Azoreductase

Aqua Blue

Organization, Steadfastness, Idealism, Subordination


Sensuality, Idealism, Excitation, Repentance


Youth, Vitality, Devotion, Justice, Imagination


Integrity, Openness, Unity, Ease


Creation, Foresight, Void, Suppression


Sanity, Realism, Sadness, Depression


Friendliness, Feminity, Maturity, Lightheadedness


Reliability, Common Sense, Depression, Disappointment

How to use color on a resume?

Given the vast range of potential consequences from its utilization, it is crucial to add color to your resume in the right way if you are thinking about doing so. When used effectively, color may help a resume stand out and entice hiring managers to give it a closer look. Here are some tips for using color on your resume effectively:

Create a simple resume. while preparing a resume in color, it is crucial to have a black and white version of a resume in case a job application requests one. The quickest method to do this is to start by writing a conventional resume that includes all your relevant information. When necessary, you can use this as a traditional alternative as well as a base to which color can be added afterward.

Choose a scheme: When using color on your resume, it’s crucial to stick to a consistent color scheme because it enables you to do it attractively and professionally. The ideal color scheme calls for the employment of three hues: accent, secondary and primary. You can choose your colors with the use of online color wheels. A good color scheme might include black as the major color, maroon as the secondary color, and brick red as the accent color. These three colors go well together and allow you to emphasize certain areas, and are all still within the acceptable range of professional colors.

Choose a format: You may utilize color in a variety of ways on your resume, so pick one that suits you best. Color usage options range from simple uses like adding a little color to section headings to more complex ones like giving sections light backgrounds. You can also choose to selectively use color on the parts of the document that you want people to focus on, or you can utilize the same color scheme throughout the resume. Whatever route you choose, your objective should be to leave the best initial impression on a reader who is unfamiliar with you.

Apply your colors: You are prepared to create your color resume once you’ve decided on a color scheme and structure. Apply your scheme after saving your grayscale version as a new file. Once everything is finished, evaluated the impact of your color choices and if necessary, make revisions to make the finished product look more appealing. Finding the ideal balance between doing too little and sporting an unprofessional or excessively showy appearance may require multiple attempts.

Confirm color is right for the application: You still have the access to your conventional black-and-white format because you saved your colored resume as a distinct file/ when applying for a job. consider what you already know about the organization and select the best resume color format. After making any necessary adjustments to better suit the application, save a fresh copy of the selected style. By doing this, you may change between traditional styling and color as needed without altering your two base versions.

Benefits of Color on a Resume.

One can further customize your resume by adding some colors to it. Doing this has several advantages as well, such as;

  • Colors on your resume draw attention. Hence, you can ensure that the hiring manager will see the information you want them to see, even at a cursory glance.
  • While some employers don’t prefer color on a resume, many start-ups or other businesses aim to foster employee expression. So, while applying to such companies, using a colorful resume will make you stand out from other candidates.
  • Adding color to their resume presents an opportunity for enhanced expression for the candidates who express their true selves in their resume demonstrating that they are more likely to fit in well there.
  • Use color strategically on your resume. Using the right colors in your resume allows you to make your resume unique while keeping it professional, and also increasing your chances of getting selected in the next rounds of the interview. 

Drawbacks of Color on a Resume.

Although there are plenty of benefits of using colors in your resume, there are also drawbacks that you must take into consideration as well. You can choose not to include color in your resume for the following reasons;

  • Other than the creative job profiles, if your job belongs to the less creative fields, then using color on your resume might make a bad impression on the hiring manager.
  • If you don’t choose colors carefully with the right amount of contrast, it might decrease the readability of the text.
  • A resume that employs color to highlight areas or stand out could be perceived by more traditional hiring professionals as prioritizing style over content. To overcome the bias, you will need to demonstrate more qualifications on your resume

Hiring manager’s views about color on a resume.

A hiring manager or recruiter spends, on average, or under 7 seconds manually reviewing each resume. Your resume should make a strong enough impression to get you a job interview.

Using the proper combination of colors to draw attention to the key elements of your resume can make the reader more aware of your expertise and abilities.

So, the question is, how many colors should you use on your resume to make it stand out? This depends on the industry and company size that you are applying for.

Small Firms/Start-ups

Typically, all the companies with less than 25 employees manually review the resume. Using color on a resume here can help your candidacy stand out. While applying to start-up/ small companies, always use color to your resume and be creative as much as possible.

Industries like tech, media, and marketing

Using color strategically in your resume might prove to be advantageous if you are applying in industries such as tech, design, marketing, or media.

Hiring managers in these fields have manually examined thousands of resumes over their tenure and noticed that a lot of candidates have included color in their resumes, which usually didn't make them hard to read. But still, some candidates over-designed their resumes, which were difficult to read and the recruiters ended up noticing the resume design more than the candidate’s experience and skills.

So, while creating your resume, keep in mind that you will need to avoid drawing negative attention with colors on a resume. You should reduce the use of quirky graphics and too many designs and use those resume designs that make your resume look appealing and easy to read.

Fortunately, a lot of mid-sized tech companies, particularly those in the tech industries, won’t reject resumes based on poor layouts. Some of those applicants nevertheless still got to the interview. Sometimes, candidates with poor resume designs also get selected for the next steps of the interview process. lack of fit and irrelevant experience leads to rejection more than having a poor resume design.

Even if your resume includes colors, keep in mind that when the hiring manager prints it, it will only be printed in black and white. So, while creating your resume, keep in mind that you should use colors that will still keep the resume readable even when it’s printed in black and white. On your resume, it is crucial to have a strong contrast between colors and texts.

Industries like finance and law

The opposite is true, though, for the candidates who are applying to other industries such as finance or law, especially in large companies. Using colors in your resume while applying to these industries is often considered unacceptable and may get you rejected. So, if you are applying to any of these industries, especially in any top MNC, it is best to keep your resume black and white.

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