The baseline case for most professional resumes is to stay with a conservative format. Traditionally, this means a black and white format. Every client we work with in our staffing/consulting business (Path Technologies, Inc.) looks for a traditional format. These are financial institutions, utility companies, defense contractors, civil engineering firms, etc.
For the purposes of this discussion I’m referring to technical positions such as Information Technology personnel, engineers, lawyers, etc. Certainly for more creative positions like marketing, graphic design and the arts, a staid resume is likely to be a liability.
I want to make the case that a traditionally formatted resume can benefit from just a touch of color. Let’s look at an example. Here is a real world resume with some privacy modifications. It looks nice!
Now let’s take the same resume with just a slight add of color. Here I like limiting the color to the section dividers, name and the contact header. Now it jumps off the page!
As with any resume visual enhancement, less is more. A little bit of color can be an enhancement, while too much color can result in a resume landing in the trash bin.