Emphasize career highlights on your resume by using color strategically

There are two kinds of resume-reviewers: those who speed-read and those who read for details.

Your resume needs to satisfy both of them. Even if your resume is a one-page stunner or a two-page home-runner, make it so it’s easy for the reader to digest all your best points. Trust us, they’ll appreciate all the thought you’ve put into organizing all that information in a systematic and visually engaging way.

You don’t have to be a pro designer to get it right. You can follow the tips we’ve listed out in this article, based on some of the best accent color resumes out there, or try our resume builder tool. Canva also has a wide array of templates from simple to unique resume templates you can use, some of which we included here.

01. Combine with Black and White

Claudia Argueta's resume

Another page from Claudia Argueta's resume

Make your life easier when working with color by assigning roles to each color in your palette early on. As a rule of thumb, start out by making one color dominant, one secondary, and one an accent. Make things easier by using black and white as a base and adding in a third color.

When it comes to designing your resume, use white as the background, black for text, and the remaining color as an accent. If you’re not sure what this may look like check out Claudia Argueta’s beautiful resume above.

02. Use Strategically

Yu Xuan's resume highlights details in a quirky way

You can use an accent color on your resume to highlight important bits of information or you can also use it to highlight a quirky detail like Yu Xuan does in his resume above. Either way is fine, just be sure to apply color purposefully and not just for the sake of including it in your design.

03. Build Hierarchy

Linn Hamre uses a two color palette to help make her resume easy to navigate

Use an accent color on your resume to build hierarchy and direct viewers’ attention. We’re naturally drawn to color, so whatever you set in color will jump out first. If you’re not sure where to apply color, consider using it on important dates or headings. In the example above, Linn Hamre uses a lovely blue in just that way and in doing so makes her resume easy to navigate.

Spend less time designing and more time looking hunting for the perfect job by using one of our templates below. If you’re worried that you’ll wind up with the same template as somebody else, use our solutions as inspiration or a foundation to build from.

04. One Color Only

The accent color can be used to design an entire resume, just like in Kata Farkas's design.

Love the accent color you’ve selected? Shine the spotlight on it and use it to design your entire resume, like Kata Farkas does above. Remember, you still want to build hierarchy to make sure information on your resume is easy to navigate. Use different typefaces, weights and point sizes to do so.

05. Colorful Back

This resume by Jessica Woods uses an accent color for the backside of the design.

Add color to the backside or header of your resume like Jessica Woods does above. It’s a great way to brighten up your resume without worrying about overdoing it.

06. Use on Design Elements

Paulo Pettigiani uses design elements like icons, logos, and small illustrations to emphasize points in his resume.

Deviate from the norm and add in design elements to your layout instead of using type only. You can use a variety of elements, like icons and shapes, as showcased above or can stick to one kind only.

Use your accent color on them and be mindful of their placement. Make sure they’re strategically placed to help possible employers navigate your info.

07. Feature Illustrations

Alessia Tatulli uses an illustration of herself to liven up her resume.

If it’s fitting, add in a few fun illustrations to your resume. Above, Alessia Tatulli adds in an illustration of herself instead of a photograph and creates fun icons for her interests instead of listing them. She’s also created icons for each of her abilities.

You can go down the same path and create your own or just add a few illustrations to add visual interest to your resume. Need a little inspiration? Check out what we’ve done below.

08. Go Neon

Francisco Riquelme Bona bright resume makes it vibrant and eye-catching.

Use a neon color as an accent color to add vibrancy to your resume. With this approach, be mindful of the amount of color you’re using—too much neon can strain the eyes.

Follow Francisco Riquelme Bona’s example and use your super bright accent sparingly.

09. Create Balance

Julia Miceli resume

Just like with any other piece, aim for balance when defining the layout of your resume. You can use color, like Julia Miceli does above, as a tool to achieve it.

This template from Canva is perfectly balanced and ready for you to edit and make your own.

10. Combine With Cool Gray

Clémentine Stora resume

Resumes are commonly set on white backgrounds. But check out the cool solution above that kicks white to the curb and uses gray instead. Pretty neat, right?

11. Guide the Eye

Pieter-Jannick Dijkstra's personal resume is inspired by his fascination with the universe and space.

As mentioned above, be mindful of where and how you use color. Use it as a tool that helps viewers navigate information, especially when you’re resume is packed with experience.

Consider the example above. Each illustration features a bright color that helps the eye move throughout the layout. They are also placed next to important segments of the resume.

12. Create a Modern Feel

Self-Portfolio: Ordinary Man. Life.

Self-Portfolio: Ordinary Man. Life.

A modern solution like the one above may not be the best option for all disciplines. However, if it works with yours, give exploring alternative layouts a shot. Your resume will surely stand out in a pile filled with more traditional approaches.

Dig what you see but don’t know how to build it? Edit one of our templates below.

13. Use as a Header Background

Ivo Ruijters' resume limits the accent color to the header as well as some design elements

Check out what Ivo Ruijters has done above with his resume. Instead of using color everywhere, he’s limited the use to his resume’s header and a few design elements below.

14. Highlight Important Elements

James Wong's resume

Use an accent color to draw attention to important bits of information in your resume. Above, James Wong uses color to draw attention to his name and competencies. You don’t have to do the same, though. Feel free to apply color to whatever piece of content you wish to highlight.

The template below has a similar concept. Simply change the color use and placement to suit your own needs.

15. Use More Than One

Stepan Dihich uses a couple colors throughout his Online CV of a Creative Girl template.

You’re not limited to just one color. If you like more than one hue, feel free to create a more complex palette for your resume. Above, Stepan Dihich

16. Try a Soft Color

Emmanuelle Bories resume uses a soft accent color

Accent colors don’t have to be bright blues or neon yellows. You can go for a soft hue like Emmanuelle Bories does and accomplish the same things as you would using bold color.

If you’re not crazy about bold accents but still want to add a little color to your resume, check out our templates below.

17. Try a Border

Salomé Gautier uses accent color as a border instead of within the resume content.

Want to use color on your resume but don’t want to use it on your content? Consider a border. Above, designer Salomé Gautier adds a thing, solid color border to her resume.

Still looking for the border you like? Check out Canva’s frames and borders, easily adaptable to your design.

18. Use Sparingly

Accent color can be used subtly or sparingly, just like how Priscilla Leung applies it on her resume.

Forget about using color in large quantities and use it sparingly like Priscilla Leung does above. Remember, even in small quantities color will lure in the eye. Be mindful of where you’re using color.

19. Combine with Texture

Inês F. Mota adds another layer of interest to her resume by including texture to her accent color.

Combine an accent color with other design elements, like the cool textures in Inês F. Mota’s resume above. I love how she’s used them throughout her entire layout, giving it a modern and unique feel.

20. Try a Color Background

Nadine Layon illustrated her resume in simple black and white, but threw in a wonderful shade of pink as a background for it all.

Finally, use color an accent color as a background for an important section of your resume. This can be the area that contains your contact information or anything else you want to bring out.

Should your resume be only a page long or is it okay to have two pages? The answer is: it depends.

But whether it’s short or long, the important thing is that you highlight your best points and make it so your resume is easy on the eyes with a visual de-cluttering device—like color accents. Choose your favorite from the selection above and apply your own credentials.

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