Can I use colour on a resume?

The short answer is: ABSOLUTELY (when used in small doses).

The long answer is that colour is a great addition to your resume when it is used to strengthen your personal brand and doesn’t make your resume look like a rainbow. My theory is that the days of black-and-white TV are in the past and so should be the traditional black-and-white resume.

Colour can be a valuable tool in your personal branding toolbox that will help you express your attributes, grab the attention of the reader and create an emotional connection with hiring managers and recruiters. However, when colour isn’t used properly or is used too much it can have the opposite effect and can hurt your personal brand more than help.


The first step is to have an idea what colours to include in your personal brand. It is not always the best choice to simply use your favorite colour; sometimes you have to strategically think about the colour that will best convey your attributes and brand within the industry you are trying to leverage yourself in.  Remember, your resume is your marketing brochure so you need to think about it strategically and in a way that will get you noticed.

Your resume is not about what you like; it is about what the hiring managers are looking for.

It has been a long debated theory about whether colour can invoke emotional responses and reactions, but the basic principles seem to always remain the same among psychologists, interior designers and artists:

– Red is an expression of action, passion, power or courage.

– Orange shows determination, encouragement, strength and productivity.

– Yellow signifies optimism, positivity, energy and vision.

– Green represents the environment, calmness, growth and rebirth.

– Blue demonstrates trust, reliability, integrity and professionalism.

– Purple is the colour of luxury, spirituality, inspiration and dignity.

If you plan to use colour in your career marketing material make sure that you are expressing and conveying the right attributes for you and your brand by using the right colour.


This is the tricky part – knowing where and when to use colour to bolster your brand and not turn people off. Unless you are a graphic designer who knows how to work properly with design elements and graphics, my best advice is to keep it simple. Make sure that your document still maintains readability and enough white space that the hiring managers are not overwhelmed. At the end of the day, you still need to make sure that those reading your resume are able to focus in on the meat of your actual qualifications and the value you have to offer.

Some tips and tricks to accomplish this:

– Use colour sparingly – one to two colours maximum (unless you have a true eye for design)

– Use colour to strengthen your personal brand only

– Don’t add colour to the font or text of your resume as this can make it difficult to read

– Do add colour to little design elements such as bullets and borders

– Be consistent across all your marketing material (for example: use the same colour in your online profiles and websites and in your networking letters)

At the end of the day, the goal is to be consistent with your personal brand – it is this consistency that will leave a lasting impression on the hiring authorities.

Transform your brand into something that is truly memorable and harvests results for your career!


Thank you for reading my blog! If you have any questions or would like advice on transforming your career brand, please contact me at