Resume tip #3: Don’t use unusual colors (or get too fancy in other ways)

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We’ve all heard the stories. Someone puts together an amazing resume and lands a big job. Perhaps a full-color glossy brochure all about him- or herself with a professionally shot video on CD-ROM thrown in for good measure.

In the history of job hunting, it’s true that, from time to time, tricks like this have worked, giving rise to the meme, “I’ve got to do something to stand out!”

Today, we occasionally see colored paper, unusual fonts, colored backgrounds, and a variety of other visual elements designed to make a resume “stand out.” We also see resumes that look normal at first glance but are formatted or written in unorthodox ways.

In the days before resumes in electronic formats (Word, PDF, etc.), getting fancy visually at least showed a little knowledge and effort beyond that of the average person. Today, however, virtually anyone can alter colors or insert photos into Microsoft Word, so the effect fails to impress and most likely causes a negative reaction.

Further, people used to try to impress potential employers by sending their resumes out on nicer, heavier paper in cream, beige, gray, and other colors that seemed “fancier” than white. Of course, fewer resumes today are sent out by mail, but when you do so, we don’t recommend using any color other than white. The main reason is that white is the easiest to read, scan, and copy.

Resumes that actually “stand out” to recruiters and employers are those that have great qualifications and career accomplishments arranged in a standard format that’s easy to read.

If you are an ambitious, qualified professional, we would love to see your resume. Please contact us to discuss your career goals and aspirations.

The Key Corporate Services Blog Team