This is a question that we at Alba CVs are regularly asked, and as a result of a conversation with a client last week on exactly this topic, I was inspired to write an article on the subject.

Writing your CV is very personal, after all the whole purpose of a CV is to reflect your skills, abilities and personality (to a certain extent!).  If you are an outgoing character, you might be tempted to add lots of colours and images.  Generally, this will not work in your favour, unless you are going for a role in a creative industry, such as fashion or design.

Using colour in your CV will help you stand out from all the other CVs a recruiter will receive, however you need to be very careful as this may not have a positive outcome!  The best way to ensure your CV stands out for the right reasons is to make sure that you have the best and most relevant content, and that it is presented in a way that is easy to read and follow.

Trends in CV writing change all the time, just type in ‘CV templates’ to your search engine to see how many options there are out there.  Some will have coloured text boxes, others might suggest grouping different subjects together using colour (achievements, key skills for example) or others may use colour in their headings.  What you need to think about is how it will look to a potential employer.  Will it detract from the content of your CV?

Using colour in your CV – the down side

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Imagine if you were on the receiving end of a rainbow-coloured CV, or one that was printed on bright green paper, would you take it seriously?

Naturally, these are two extreme examples, but not unheard of.  If you choose brightly coloured paper to print your CV on, there are two consequences:

  1. The text may not be easy to read
  2. The recruiter will ask ‘why?’ and the conclusion they come to may not be the one that you would want them to.


If you write your CV in lots of different colours, not only will attention be taken away from the content of your CV, it could be also very distracting for the reader, and may be viewed as unprofessional.

In reality, it is most unlikely you will set out to have a multi-coloured CV or choose to print your CV on an over-the-top colour, but the point is still the same; the reaction is not likely to be favourable.  Also, avoid using flowery borders or fancy backgrounds, remember that you are writing to a potential employer, and not your Granny.

If you do decide to use colour on your CV, make sure you keep it subtle.  Unless you are in the creative industries it is not generally a good idea to go overboard with colour on your CV.  It can, however, enhance your CV if you use a little colour – your name and the subject titles (Profile, Employment, Qualifications for example) – but make sure you restrict to one other colour other than black.  Always keep in mind that your CV is there to promote you and your ability to do role you are applying for, therefore the content should speak for itself.

If you need assistance with writing your perfect CV, please contact us at and we will be happy to help.

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