A lot of people ask me about colors for their resume. What’s right for you may not be right for your colleague.
I think that’s cool because we are all individuals, with different personalities, skills, and experiences. Color is yet another way to distinguish yourself from other professionals. And that’s what a resume seeks to do – distinguish!
And what’s even better is there are millions of colors and combinations to see what conveys who you are, your personal brand.
Recently, I did a little bit of digging into the psychology of colors and thought I would share a summary of what I learned. This information comes from various studies and experiments over the last 10 years (since 2010). They provide lots of useful insight and might help guide you on what color(s) are right for your resume and other personal marketing materials.
Red is bold and powerful color, often associated with excitement, passion, danger, thrill, energy, and action. Some use red for their “call to action” buttons (“order now,” “shop now,” etc.). This is because red is intense and provokes strong emotions which motivate action.
The Personality of Red:
- Can be a little impulsive
- Can be perceived as intimidating
Orange often conveys creativity, happiness, freedom, success, and sort of a balancing attribute that hints at collaboration and togetherness. Similar to red it’s used sometimes to grab attention to something important or to emphasize.
The Personality of Orange:
- Admirable fun and playful energy
- Social, perhaps extrovert
- Loves to play the host at parties or events
- In regards to productivity, you like to dive right into work and get things done
Happiness, positivity, and warm summer sun are frequent reminders of yellow. A splash of yellow is sometimes a secondary or complementary color in branding to add a touch of happiness or innocence.
The Personality of Yellow:
- A positive spirit
- Calming for those around them
- Infectious smiles and happiness that spread to each person they encounter
Blue is stable, harmonious, peaceful, and trustworthy. If you are known for your durability, strength, or dependability you will probably be drawn to the blue shades. You’ll notice many popular tech companies use blue a lot to convey those feelings, but of course, it’s also used heavily in the healthcare fields for those same reasons.
The Personality of Blue:
- Dependable or Trustworthy
- In regards to productivity, you like to strategize the best way to handle a task and can adapt when obstacles arise
There are two very dominant uses for green – nature and money. But it’s also used to signal growth, fertility, health, wealth, wellness, and generosity.
The Personality of Green:
- Growth and ambition
- Loves to give advice
- Loves to help others improve
- Earthy – enjoys the simplicity and balance of nature
Purple can be connected to royalty, power, privilege, wisdom, and spirituality. Of course, its been well-used in the dental hygiene community as an unofficial-official color.
The Personality of Purple:
- Dental hygiene
- Craves own identity
- Loves unique and different things, wants to stand out from the pack
- Dances to the music others may not follow or understand
- You thrive on creativity and inspiration strikes you randomly, allowing you to tune out the world and focus on it
Pink is usually associated with femininity, playfulness, and love, but depending on the shade can also be perceived as a somewhat of a youthful color. Along with cosmetics, you see a lot of pink in a child’s toy packaging to signal thoughts of whimsical or fun.
The Personality of Pink:
- Decidedly feminine
- Feminine strength or softness – depending on the use
- Fun or playful, possible even naive in some uses
- You wear your heart on your sleeve and aren’t afraid to express your emotions
- Love and family are important to you
White is often associated with clean, new, and simplicity in Western cultures (ie weddings and hospitals). Steve Jobs was famous for his love of white space, calling the absence of color “the ultimate sophistication.”
The Personality White:
- Calm or peaceful
- You like things clean and orderly
- You like the thought of a “fresh start” or a blank canvas
Black is the most versatile color, so context is important. I had a graphic design instructor who always said there is no stronger color combination than black ink on white paper – the contrast is stronger than any other 1-2 color punch. It can mean boldness, uniqueness, mystery, intrigue, and power. But it can also mean unhappiness, darkness, sadness, pain, or grief. Black is associated with death and mourning, but it’s also associated with strength, luxury, and intensity.
The Personality of Black:
- Perhaps a little impulsive at times
- Serious (maybe a little too serious)
- You’re strong and command a sense of respect from your peers
- You’re trustworthy
- Perhaps a little intimidating
Color Psychology Sources: 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2019
Doug Perry is an expert resume writer and job search coach. He and his wife, Tracie, who is a dental hygienist, created GetHiredRDH in response to the challenging dental hygiene job market and have helped thousands of dental hygienists through tips and individual services. If you need individual, click here to contact Doug.