Should I add colour to my CV?

Your CV is one of the most important parts of the whole job-hunting process.

This isn’t only because some companies pass all the countless CV’s through an algorithm rather than reading them personally, but also because it’s supposed to be a document highlighting your strengths and accomplishments in only 1.5 pages.

Doesn’t seem like much, does it? So, you sit there, pondering about how to make the most important achievements stick out and you come up with a solution. Just highlight the most important bits with different colours!

That’ll sort it. Right? Well…


Do some maths


Using colours might seem like a good idea. But you might want to re-evaluate that decision.

Resume Target’s done research on LinkedIn where they’ve asked companies whether they’d disregard colourful CV’s. The results showed that only 11% would, while 55% wouldn’t and 34% stated that it depends on the industry.

The numbers might be surprising to some. But do weigh the possibility whether you’re willing to risk losing 11% of job opportunities.


Is it unprofessional?


To some companies, using colours might seem unprofessional. The standard black and white layout’s been used ever since the day of cavemen and that’s what companies might expect.

Hence, using colours might seem juvenile or be a sign that you’re not taking the position seriously. It’s also a risk if the CV’s going to be read by a machine and not a person.

You’ve no idea how the machine’s programmed and how it may react to colours. That’s why, sometimes, colours, pictures, graphs, coloured paper and crazy fonts are best avoided.


Myth: never use colour


In some situations, companies might be willing to accept colour in your CV. Forbes states that it’s appropriate in any resume, even if you’re applying for a CEO position. The key’s to use it at the right place and time.

However, if you do decide on using colours, try going for grey, beige or blue. Not only are they easy on the eye, but bright colours might also distract the reader from the content. This is why neutral or soft colours are much better for highlighting your specific achievements.


Balance creativity and professionalism


It’s true that some job positions require a more professional approach than others. Let’s not forget about the 11% that’ll say no to your CV for use of colour.

But at the same time, you’re like a pen that needs to be sold. If all you’ve on your CV is “it’s a pretty pen and it writes well”, then you won’t get the job.

Resumecoach claims that “most professionally-designed resumes use colour” and that they can be easy on the eye. You shouldn’t fuss too much about using the right colour, as long as you follow a formula.

And that should be: a dominant colour, a secondary colour and a colour used to highlight important aspects of your CV. Try to compliment your CV, not take away the focus. And if you’re going to add a cover letter, then use the same colours as in your CV.

All in all, it’s about finding the right balance. Too much of everything’s not good for you and your CV. If you feel more comfortable sticking to the traditional format, fine. If you want to add style to your CV, go for it! If you’re applying to the creative fields, rules don’t apply.

But still. Don’t get too crazy. Good luck with your job hunting!


See our CV do’s and dont’s