(Written tongue-in-cheek one year during the holiday season…)

As long as job hunters have tried to stand out (and feel they need new tricks to do so), there’s been the question of color for a resume.

Way back in the Stone Age when I was a candidate, the big no-no was colored paper. Now, it seems that the concept of color ON a resume is still catching on.

My Careerealism post on resume trends brought this to light very quickly.

While I mentioned several up-and-coming techniques that have helped my resume clients immensely, one hot button seemed to be color.

Should you or shouldn’t you? Answer these questions first:

  • Is your field reasonably cutting-edge (say, technology)?
  • Do you want to spark interest and intrigue among employers?
  • Are you open to open to trying new things? 

If you’ve answered yes to any of these, then resume color might be a great advantage for you.

However, if your idea of novelty is using borders for the first time, then it might be best to hold off on color and rely on shades of gray to spice up your resume.

To gauge whether resume color is appropriate, use these 3 guidelines (applied frequently in my work):

1) Resume color must fit the industry.

Blue is a nice touch for technical fields (see this Senior Software Engineer resume example), while a deep, regal red can be effective in financial industries (as shown in this sample IT Auditor resume).

You can take a look at these samples in PDF here as well.

2) Resume color should be used to strategically set off specific facts of your career.

This CFO held positions that were more relevant to his goal than his former employers. (trust me, I changed their names)

If you want a particular piece of information to stand out, color works VERY well.

3) Resume color should reflect your personality.

If you aren’t comfortable with an edgy, look-at-me tone to your resume, you should back off on color or just use it in one place.

However, if you really thrive on attention and want employers to get with the program and hire you, then consider ways to incorporate it without going overboard.

You can read more about my perspective on resume color trends at Examiner.com, or look at Donna Sweiden’s post on resume trends.