Winning Resume Colors That Get You Seen! Add Color to Your Resume.

She selects a color for her resume.

What experts say about color on your resume:

Writing a resume can be intimidating, and it is no wonder that job seekers often struggle to figure out what colors are best for their resumes. What you might not realize is that certain colors can give your resume the edge it needs to stand out from the competition. In this article, we will explore the various colors experts recommend for resumes and discuss how to use them strategically to make your resume stand out. The traditional resume is in black and white read on to learn more about the best colors for resumes and how to make the most of them to make your competitors look green with envy.

What resume colors are best for your resume?

One of the most popular resume colors  is black and white. This classic combination provides a professional, conservative look that can help you appear more mature and dependable to potential employers. Black and white also looks great on any paper stock, making it an excellent choice if you don’t have access to color printing or don’t want to invest in expensive resume paper.

Consider using shades of blue or gray. These are popular choices because they look professional, but not too overbearing or dull. Shades of blue evoke feelings of trustworthiness, while shades of gray radiate sophistication and classiness. Additionally, many employers have told job seekers that blue and gray hues look especially good on resumes printed on white or cream paper.

Finally, research shows that it can be beneficial to include a splash of color in your resume somewhere. For example, using a bright, bold accent color for headings or subheadings can help draw the eye to important parts of your resume and give it some personality. Additionally, use of an accent color can help differentiate yourself from other applicants who are relying solely on black and white text. Just make sure to choose a muted version of the color you like, rather than one that is too loud or distracting.

The 3 Best Resume Colors

Blue, Black, Gray are the three best resume colors.

Black , Blue, and Gray on White (add a splash of color if you like.) The key to an effective resume is choosing the right colors that will help you make a great impression on employers. By using black and white as your main color scheme, adding blue or gray shades to the mix, and including one bold accent color, you can give your resume a unique look that makes it stand out from the crowd. With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to create a resume that looks professional yet reflects your personality—and puts your best foot forward in the job search.

Standing out from the competition is essential if you want to land the job of your dreams. Choosing the right colors for your resume can go a long way towards helping you make a great impression on potential employers.

What do Employers Think About Color on Resumes in 2023?

While the traditional black and white resume is still a mainstay, employers are increasingly open to resumes with color. According to experts, adding a splash of bold color in your resume can help you draw attention to key elements and make your application stand out from the crowd. However, it’s important not to go overboard—aside from one or two accent colors, try to keep your resume mostly monochromatic using shades of blue and grey or even maroon.

Additionally, choosing the right typeface is equally important; opt for professional-looking fonts like Times New Roman or Arial that can be easily read at any size for your best resume.

What do Recruiters and Resume Writers Say?

Should you use color on a resume in 2023? 

Don’t use color on your resume—unless they’re ‘hiring you for your creativity’ When writing a resume, there are multiple expert tips to consider. Make sure to mirror the language in the job description if it’s relevant to your experience. Use impactful verbs in describing what you did in each job. Source: CNBC

Is it unprofessional to have color on your resume?

As long as the contrast between the text and background is high, using color won’t prevent your resume from being scanned. Conservative use of colors on your resume is acceptable to Applicant Tracking Systems. Source:

Does your resume match your role?

Recruiters tend to favor a resume that shows a level of creativity that matches their role. Your resume color can help you stand out, show culture fit, and direct attention. Source: Enhancv.

While it may be tempting to punch up your Senior Accountant Application with some color it may not send the right message. If you are applying for a client facing role that will call for you to do presentations it may be a chance to exhibit this skill by adding a graphic or some other visual cue that allows the reader to instantly see you have skills.

Here is an example of a colored graphic that may be welcomed by a recruiter with a scant few seconds to decide if you are a good fit:

Colored graphic for resume.

Context: Color Theory

Color theory Black and white create the highest contrast possible, so it is considered one of the best color schemes to use on a resume. You can choose a pale background and intensive dark lettering. Just keep in mind that your resume may be printed in black and white, so don’t use pale on pale. Alternately, consider monochromatic colors like blue and gray or maroon. You can also introduce an accent color as long as it is not too bright or distracting from the content of your graphic. Consider using shades of the same hue for a cohesive look.

Conclusion: Best resume color scheme

TL;DR: Dark colors and shading may be your best bet. Keep it simple so that it can be read easily on paper, iPad, computer screen, or phone. Use one or two accent colors to break up the monotony of text. Keep the contrast high between light and dark colors, but don’t go overboard with too much color. Make sure it matches your experience level and job application.

Overall, consider using a professional-looking font like Times New Roman or Arial that can be easily read at any size when creating your resume in 2023. Additionally, adding a splash of bold color in your resume can help you draw attention to key graphic elements without going overboard. This will help convey culture fit and allow your application to stand out against others in the applicant pool. Graphic elements lend themselves to color more naturally than other areas.

Avoid using more than one accent color on your resume:

Stick to one or two colors that match the job you are applying for and be sure the text can be read easily at any size. Use your creativity wisely, as it may give a better idea of who you are to recruiters and employers. With our tips in mind, you will be able to create an excellent resume with color in 2023.

Avoid Resume Templates that use too many bright, creative colors:

Instead, choose a simple, professional template that will enhance your experience and skills.

Always keep in mind that the content of your resume matters more than the colors you choose – be sure to highlight relevant experiences and skills necessary for the job you are applying for! Lastly, consider other aspects like font size and type, white space, and readability when creating your resume in 2023.

One exception: Resume Design in Creative Industries

For some creative industries, it may be appropriate to use color in your application materials. If you are applying for a job in design or the arts, adding small accents of color can help show off your creativity and personality without going overboard. This will help convey culture fit and allow your application to stand out against others in the applicant pool.

The most creative resume (not the most colorful resume) I have ever seen was submitted to a friend’s client for a graphic design role. The artist substituted his face on a re-imagined version of the classic kid’s toy Wooly Willie and had his resume printed on the back. It was amazing and he did not get the job because it was an Aerospace company and that was a bit too whimsical. I have a feeling he got the next job, or the one after that. The point is that your resume should speak about you while it speaks to the company culture you will be entering.

This is one industry/area exception and I am sure there are more, if you are applying for a job at Etsy it may be wise to cross-stitch your business card or decoupage your CV. I would imagine that there are many others and if you are in those areas and have some examples I hope you will reach out so I can include them here!

Still, always remember that the content on your resume is more important than any visual elements—be sure to highlight relevant experiences and skills necessary for the job you are applying for. With these tips in mind, you will be able to show off your creativity by using color on elements without going overboard.

How do employers use applicant tracking systems?

Employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to quickly sort through job applications and resumes. These digital tools read and parse the information you provide in your CV so that recruiters can identify important words and phrases that match their company’s qualifications. ATSs can even scan for keywords, such as certifications, or years of experience listed on a resume. To ensure your application is read correctly by an ATS, make sure you are using industry-specific terms related to the position you are applying for instead of generic language. Additionally, formatting should be kept consistent throughout your document—using bullet points and headings will help break up text and keep the recruiter from getting lost while reading your resume.

How does color affect an electronic scan?

When using an applicant tracking system, colour has no impact on the results of the scan. The ATS will not recognize any color or design elements, so it’s important to keep your resume content concise and easy to read without relying on visuals for effect. However, when you are manually submitting a resume with printed copies, color can be used to draw attention to specific text or highlight key qualifications that match the position you are applying for. If used correctly, this could help your application stand out amongst other applicants in the pool.
Just remember: always follow instructions and use common sense when deciding if adding color is necessary—if a company explicitly states they do not want colored resumes then adhere to their wishes! Also, be aware of the industry you are applying to before adding color—you want to use colors that represent professionalism and sophistication. Lastly, always keep in mind how your resume will be read and make sure it is still legible when printed or displayed electronically.

Advice on cover letter writing and resume creativity:

If you decide to use color in the cover letter, be sure to keep it professional and stay within one or two colors. You can also stick with black font and add a small element of creativity through a graphical design. Choose a few words that match the job you are applying for and create a small graphic around them. Be sure that your cover letter is still legible as well.

In most cases, though, you should avoid color in your email or cover letter text, these are often read on screens and what the recruiter sees may not match your intentions. In the case of cover letters we recommend you go old school, pay attention to readable and trusted fonts, and save your creativity for your resume and your best interview outfit.

Finally, always remember to tailor your resume and cover letter according to the employer’s needs and qualifications listed in the job description. Use keywords from the job post when creating your resume content so that recruiters can quickly assess your skill set.

Closing Thoughts on Color

Resume color photo

You can copy an employer’s branding colors when you apply

As long as you are aware of how the colors look when printed or displayed electronically. This will make your resume stand out and communicate that you have done your research on the company’s culture, which is always a great way to impress potential employers.

When it comes to using color in your application materials, it’s important to remember to use good judgment before adding any visual elements. Always keep in mind how your resume will be read and viewed—the content should be the main focus, not the design! With these tips in mind, you can add small accents of color to help convey culture fit without sacrificing legibility or professionalism. Good luck!

What do hiring managers think about color on resumes?

Hiring managers generally appreciate resumes that stand out, as long as the content is still legible and conveys the applicant’s qualifications. Adding color to make your resume more visually appealing can help you convey culture fit if done tastefully, but it should never be a distraction from the content of your application. Hiring managers also like to see that an applicant has researched their company before applying so using their branding colors is a great way to show initiative and interest in the organization before even getting an interview. Ultimately, when adding color to your resume it’s important to make sure that you are communicating culture fit without sacrificing professionalism or legibility. Keep these tips in mind and you will be on your way to creating an eye

Things to keep in mind besides color

When it comes to resumes, there are many other aspects to consider aside from color. At the end of the day, recruiters and hiring managers are still most concerned with the content of the resume itself. It is important to make sure that your experience and qualifications are clearly displayed, that the document is well-organized, and that any references are up-to-date. So always remember: no matter how creative you get with color, what really matters is the quality of information included in your application materials.

Browse more resume templates that fit your role

Check out this site, if you haven’t already. Enhancv offers very clean designs that make it easy to add a pop of color without detracting from the detail. They have tons of templates for industries, roles, and everything you need to do this on your own for a very reasonable price.

3 More good resume accent colors

With a monochrome document it is mostly about the steak and less about the sizzle. This does not mean you can ignore the layout, the typeface, font size, and layout. Opinions vary but your author is a fan of professional resume writers and I use one myself. There are also online resume design tools that get better everyday. (Here is one I like – no affiliation, just a recommendation.) If you are doing it yourself, make a few designs and then ask some people to pick one they like. I asked my Dentist, my wife, and a friend who is also a Recruiter.

Industries such as technology, marketing, and media

These are often more open to color on resumes. There can be an exception – a portfolio piece or infographic that could help you stand out in any industry. Still, if you want to add some pizzazz, keep it professional and use colors that represent the company’s culture and branding.

Industries such as finance and law

These organizations usually prefer a more conservative approach. It is best to stick with black and white and allow your qualifications to shine on their own. Again, the design of your resume should be professional but without relying too heavily on color.

No matter what industry you are applying for, it is important to follow the instructions given in the job posting. Just remember, even if you don’t use any color at all, a good layout and professional font can still make your resume stand out.

What should I do if I want feedback on my resume?

Getting feedback on your resume is a great way to make sure that your application materials are up to the standards of potential employers. You can reach out to family, friends, or colleagues that have experience in the field you are applying for and ask them to take a look and provide honest feedback. Additionally, there are many online resources available such as LinkedIn’s free resume review tool or websites like Indeed and Glassdoor that offer tips and advice on how to optimize your resume. Take advantage of these resources and you will be one step closer to submitting a competitive application.

You’re almost there!, here are a few final tips for making sure your job application stands out:

  • Proofread your documents multiple times – typos and grammar errors can be costly
  • Make sure the information on your resume is up-to-date – employers prefer recent experience
  • Use a professional font like Times New Roman or Arial – these fonts ensure readability

Stay away from loud colors and stick with subtle accents that evoke professionalism while still displaying personality. With modern ATSs, there is no need for fear of not getting seen by employers because of colors included on a resume. However, always use common sense and pay attention to how the hiring manager wants their applicants to format their documents before submitting them! And lastly—be sure to check that your resume is still legible when it’s printed.

About the author:

Life's Work Press

Every career journey is different and unique and many can benefit from some specific guidance along the way. In addition to our career coaching website we publish books, workbooks and audio books (soon) to help you lean into your strengths :

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