The Best Colors For Resume (Examples & Tips)


The Best Colors For Resume (With Examples)

Recruiters initially review each resume for less than a minute. If you send a well-designed document with a touch of color, it can pop out from the pile and draw attention.

Generally, it is a good idea to use color on your resume as long as you choose colors strategically to highlight key information and showcase your personal brand.

But how exactly do you use color to make your resume stand out? What colors are best for your resume, and what are considered less professional? Keep reading for specific tips on how to use resume color.

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Why are resume colors important?

Your resume color scheme is just as important as the content and structure. Colors can draw attention to the most important elements, key achievements, or section headings. Here are a few reasons why adding a splash of color to your resume is worth it:

  • Grab the recruiter's eye. Colors naturally draw the eye. When a recruiter sees a bright, well-designed resume template, they are likely to choose your resume from the pile and review it closely.
  • Show your creative skills.Most jobs in the modern world require creativity. By adding resume color, you can showcase your creative ability and out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Communicate your cultural fit.According to color psychology, each color symbolizes specific traits and qualities. By using specific colors, you can make the right impression on recruiters nonverbally.
  • Help readability. If you use color on your resume to highlight important content, the recruiter will notice the information you've emphasized. Thus, you can be sure the reader won't miss an important accomplishment or a degree.

Choosing colors for a resume: Good and bad color scheme examples

Before we dive deeper into how different colors work on your resume, let's look at some resume templates using different color schemes.

Bad resume example


Let's start with an example of how NOT to use colors for your resume. This resume uses colored fonts, and colors do not match with each other, thus giving an impression of sloppiness. Moreover, bright colors on a light background are difficult to read. As a result, colors, as well as the unprofessional picture, make the resume pop - but not in a good way.

This resume is difficult to read because of the colors, and it looks unprofessional. If you are not sure what colors to use, it is best to submit a black-and-white resume. Or, keep reading to find out how to use colors to stand out among other job-seekers.

Good resume example #1

This resume of a concept 04yLJ8h--iDT61xwmqAjOHs_u0lZUDHFHF4DlItvartist uses a sea green color with a touch of gold on the light background. A pop of color is used at the top to draw attention to the document. Then, the color is used strategically to highlight section headlines and key skills.

This color scheme with bright yet neutral tones will work great for creative professionals, such as graphic designers, illustrators, copywriters, marketers, and more. Colors make this resume visually appealing and can help stand out in your job search. At the same time, colors do not overwhelm the reader and are easy on the eye.

Good resume example #2


This monochromatic color scheme works well for more traditional industries. People in such industries as law, finance, nursing, or academia will benefit from color schemes using dark gray or navy blue.

The resume template is black and white with a touch of gray to highlight important details. Dark, neutral colors communicate professionalism and confidence. The resume has bold elements in the body text and a traditional format that also contribute to this impression.

In good resumes, colors are used sparingly to highlight key information and draw the reader's attention. Let's see how people perceive different colors - and then use this knowledge to choose the best colors for your resume.

Using color psychology to stand out to hiring managers

According to color theory, human beings associate colors with different emotions. Blue shades are calming, orange exudes positivity, and red stimulates action. When adding the color on your resume, think about what impression you'd like to make on hiring managers. Here are the most popular colors and their meaning.


The blue color palette is one of the most popular for resumes. Blue symbolizes trustworthiness and responsibility. Plus, it draws the recruiter's attention without being distracting. This resume color is popular among professionals in healthcare, finance, administration, and senior management.

Green shades, including light and dark green, exude the emotions of stability, growth, and security. It is also associated with nature. Feel free to use it in traditional industries, such as agriculture, engineering, and nonprofit.

Black - black on the white background is a traditional resume format. Yet, you can also use black to highlight important details. Using this contrasting color scheme communicates authority, confidence, and professionalism.

Yellow is one of the most vivid and vibrant colors. We associate it with happiness, optimism, and positivity. Use it when writing a resume for a food industry, customer service position, or the creative industry.

Purple exudes power and ambition, and can also communicate extravagance. Besides, it's not among the common resume colors, so adding it to your resume can help you stand out from candidates using more traditional color schemes.

Red symbolizes power and passion and works as a call to action. Using the red palette can inspire the hiring manager to give you a call! But be careful - the red color is intense, so use it sparingly.

Tips to choose the right colors for your resume

Keep your industry and position in mind

Keep your color choice relevant to the industry and the position you're after. What is considered creative and appropriate in the illustrator's resume can be off-putting in the resume of a senior accountant. Different industries have varied standards about what a good resume should look like.

First of all, keep in mind whether you are in a traditional or a creative industry:

Creative industries

Formal industries

  • Photographer
  • Marketing manager
  • Actor
  • Copywriter
  • Interior designer
  • Web developer
  • Journalist
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic designer
  • Curator
  • Accountant
  • University professor
  • Nurse
  • Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Lawyer
  • Administrative assistant
  • Social worker
  • Auditor
  • C-level manager

In the creative industries, using bright colors can add visibility and give you a competitive edge. Submitting a well-designed resume proves your creativity and shows interest in the role. As long as the design looks professional the use of color is welcomed.

In more formal industries, it is best to stick to a black-and-white color scheme or use muted, darker colors (such as dark green, grey, or blue). Being too creative can turn off the hiring manager, so use resume color carefully.

Make sure the colors match

When using more than one color on your resume, make sure that the colors you've chosen match with each other. Use complementing or contrasting colors to make your resume pop.

If you don't have advanced design skills, use black as a primary color for your resume text, and light blue or green as the secondary color to emphasize important details. Or, use the ready-made professional design schemes below.


Use the company's brand colors

Another way to stand out to hiring managers is to use a color palette of the company's brand. Say, if the company's website and logos use dark blue shades with white elements, design your resume using the same colors.

You will non-verbally communicate that you share the company's values and show you've done your research. Thus, the recruiters can see you as a potentially good fit.

Focus on readability

When adding color, use the black text in your resume for easy reading. Use colors sparingly to highlight the resume header, emphasize headlines, or make achievements pop from the rest of the text. Make sure that color elements guide the eye rather than distract.

Whether you choose warm or cool colors, check that your resume is easy to scan. If you are not sure if your resume colors look professional, consult a professional resume writer.

Is it a good idea to use bright colors?

Using bright graphic design is a good idea in creative fields. When applying for a job as an art director, illustrator, or writer, a resume design shows creative skills. Plus, bold, vivid colors will surely get you noticed and inspire the recruiter to pay closer attention to your resume.

On the flip side, sending a colorful resume to the bank can make the wrong impression. In formal settings, it is best to use a standard resume in black and white.

How to use resume colors right?

When applying a resume color scheme, follow these recommendations:

Use no more than three colors

Experts recommend using three colors - primary, secondary, and accent color. For example, you can use black for text, light blue as the primary one, and highlight details using dark blue. Thus, your resume design will look balanced and not overloaded with color.

Unless you are a professional designer who knows how to match multiple colors successfully, do not use more than three colors.

Use a white background

Do not use resume templates with the colored background. Opt for a plain white background. It makes the resume look neat and keeps the text readable. Plus, it is traditional and professional, which makes it suitable for every industry and job.

Add only one accent color. Two colors will distract attention from the resume content and make a sloppy impression.

Use professional resume formatting

No resume color scheme will improve your resume if it looks cluttered and unprofessional. Clean up your resume formatting and structure using these tips:

  • use bullet points, not paragraphs, to list your job duties and accomplishments
  • keep margins to 1 inch for better readability
  • use the same font type and size for the text in the document
  • define resume sections clearly using bigger font and color
  • keep the punctuation consistent (full stops or no punctuation at the end of each bullet).

Adapt for the applicant tracking system

If you are applying to a large company, optimize your resume content for ATS software. Such software screens incoming resumes, and if yours doesn't have relevant keywords, it gets tossed.

Many modern resume templates don't open correctly with ATS systems, which means that formatting can be destroyed. For this reason, keep the resume formatting plain - one column, no images, graphs, and charts. Resume colors are not a problem for ATS as long as the formatting is simple and you use plenty of relevant keywords.

Adding color to your resume can give you a competitive edge, emphasize your creativity, and help you land an interview. However, be sure to use color professionally, adjust the color choice to your industry standards, and use matching colors for a perfect result.

Polish your resume before sending

As you have worked on colors and formatting, make sure the content is up to scratch, too. Here are some tips to review your resume before sending it:

  • Keep it to two pages maximum. You needn't list all your jobs and projects in a resume. If it is too long, remove jobs you had over 10 years ago, and irrelevant activities, and shorten the job description. Your resume is a marketing document, not a career track record.
  • Tailor it to the job posting. Customized resumes bring better results than generic ones. Insert the keywords from the job listing to the resume, and focus on the qualifications the employer asks for.
  • Focus on results over duties. Employers look for measurable results. Add at least one achievement for each role mentioning numbers, percentages, or the positive outcome you've delivered to your former employers.
  • Proofread. 59% of recruiters reject resumes with mistakes. Take the time to proofread it yourself, or show it to a trusted friend. Use an online spell checker to do it faster.
  • Use the same color for your cover letter. Use the same formatting and colors so that both documents look consistent and send the same message.

Make your resume stand out with professional help

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