Best Color Scheme for Your Resume and Cover Letter

Oh, please don't say "gray on white" or "blue on white" is good for your resume because it looks cool. I know everyone's writing documents with blue and gray text, but it just isn't the best color scheme. It's hard for readers like me who have less-than-perfect eyesight.

If your resume is easy to read, it's more apt to get read. So use the highest contrast you can get.

The Best Color Scheme: Black on White

That's right, good ole black text on a white background. And that goes for cover emails and cover letters as well as resumes.

You don't want the employer or recruiter to have to bump up the size of text on his screen or have to print it out or put on his glasses so he can figure out what you've written. If he has to jump through even a small hoop to be able to read your text, he may not do it.

And if you're tempted to put your name and contact info in the Word header of your resume, don't do it. Text in the header will be gray when your document is opened in Normal View, which is how most employers will see it on first review.

Why take that risk? Play it safe and make a good impression by sticking to the best color scheme: black on white. Now that's cool!

6 thoughts on “Best Color Scheme for Your Resume and Cover Letter

  1. I agree. If I was forced (although I don’t know what sort f supernatural power would force me to chance the color of my resume) to use some colors in it, those would be some discreet stripes or some sort of stationary that doesn’t “touch” the text.

    • Ah, that’s the creative side of you coming out. Well, maybe to YOUR creative resume that would work. 🙂

      • Oh, you got me there! 🙂

        Although, I absolutely agree with everything that you wrote in your post, I am one of those people who simply have the need to put a personal “stamp” on everything.

        But I think I have it under control when it comes to resumes 😀

        • Daly, I like the idea of a personal stamp. I’ll bet you have one on your resume — maybe it’s the way you phrase your statements.

          Sometimes I see a little “something” on someone’s resume that isn’t “by the book” but is close enough to tradition that it fits with the reader’s sense of what’s okay. That little something gives the resume sparkle — an insight into the real person behind the resume.

          Next time I see that in a resume, I’ll write a post on it to show you what I mean. 🙂

  2. I took early retirement a few years ago. Now due to the economic situation, I find myself having to look for a full time job.

    I would appreciate some help with a cover letter to accompany my resume. How do I explain the gap in my employment history and my need to return to work.

    Thank you

    • Hello Anne,
      So sorry you have to return to work when you had your heart set on retirement. So many others are in the same situation.

      It will be helpful to first resolve this two-year gap in employment on your resume. I assume you’ll do this by using some volunteer or personal activities that are relevant to your job objective. If not, you’ll probably list something such as travel or caregiver or something that shows good character such as independent study or volunteerism — even if it’s not relevant to your objective.

      If you do a good job on your resume of mending the hole in your work history, you may not have to mention it at all in your cover letter.

      If, however, you feel you need to mention it, do it with dignity or even humor. In other words, don’t be apologetic. It’s not your fault the economy headed south.

      And you don’t have to use the word “retirement.” You could refer to that time as a career break to do such-and-such. And now you’re back!

      Play with a few drafts. And if you want to share some of them here, feel free. We can give you feedback, if you want.

      Best of luck on your re-entry!

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