Color or Not to Color?

“I think it gives it a little something extra!”

Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

To use color on your resume, or not to use color on your resume? That is the question– or whatever Shakespeare said.

Okay, so Shakespeare didn’t say that at all – but, a widely debated topic in the world of resumes is, “Should you add color to a resume?”  I mean, who can forget that scene in Legally Blonde when Elle, the protagonist, gives her professor a pink, scented resume and proclaims, “I think it gives it a little something extra!” Elle ends up going to Harvard, and eventually becomes a successful lawyer.

But, what’s the reality of this? We have our subject matter experts weigh in on adding color to your resume. See their thoughts below:

Victor – I’m thinking that if what you’re going for is a job that will utilize your creativity, I would say yes be creative.  Add color and design to give them a taste of your talent.  I also am thinking that in this age, it may not be until a face-to-face interview that you will hand someone your printed resume.  Why?  If it is a large company, or a company using one of the many search services, you will probably be uploading a .pdf or .doc of your resume.  Then an Applicant Tracking System will search through all the words in your resume.  If your resume is selected by the computer will it print a color copy?  Will the computer send your .pdf or .doc, or will it be a synopsis?  Will the computer have trouble with the designs and colors? Why take the chance?

Valerie– As a rule, I vote “no” to color when developing resumes. In my opinion, you should keep it simple. Color can be a distraction.  Black and white works just fine.  If creativity is a skill you are seeking to display, then maybe you can infuse a touch of color when framing or creating borders within the document.  Otherwise, I would not go against conventional standards. 

Most recruiters and hiring managers tend to stick with tradition.  I would hate to see a talented and qualified candidate overlooked simply because they decided to go against the grain. 

“Once you get your foot in the door for an in-person interview, feel free to fancy up your resume.  I think you can use color, but not anything outrageous.  Nice, consistent, and subtle color changes would be acceptable. . .”

Stacey Buttel, Career Facilitator

Stacey– I always lean on the safe side when it comes to submitting resumes for online job applications.  Companies use Applicant Tracking Systems and those systems can be very picky.  By using a black and white version of a resume, it would help to eliminate those systems from missing picking up the words they are searching for which could happen if they were in a color other than black.  Once you get your foot in the door for an in-person interview, feel free to fancy up your resume.  I think you can use color, but not anything outrageous.  Nice, consistent, and subtle color changes would be acceptable (like your name and the title headings), but I recommend staying away from hot pink.

So, reader- what do YOU think about adding color to your resume? Make sure to head over to our Facebook page to tell us your opinion on this hot button topic!

Until next time!

-Brandi

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