What Recruiters “Actually Think” About Your Colorful CV

You must have seen those fabulous CV templates online- yes the ones with colors and graphs and fancy bullet points and fonts. You are probably thinking yes please! let’s jump on the trend of the latest CV templates, but honestly what is the scoop on the colorful, multi layout, graphical CVs that have become so popular these days?  Do they really work?

Let’s clarify something very quickly, your CV has one and only one objective – get you hired! In the journey to getting hired you might have heard about the 3 second rule – which is the average time a recruiter spends looking at you CV. So you might be thinking, how best to make an impression in that short time?

Could a colourful CV help you get noticed enough to get an interview invite? A colorful resume may get you noticed – but will it help you make the best impression?

Why You Might Want To Consider A Colorful CV  

As of today, the job advert would attract at least 500 applications!

So the odds are really stacked, and it is only natural to want to do all you can to make your own application noticeable and stand apart from the rest. But could a water-color looking CV be the answer?

An overly colorful and fancy CV can actually work against you to your disadvantage, by drawing attention away from what you actually want the recruiter to notice — primarily, your skills, work experience and achievements.

Stay with me on this one, let us go through this together, the recruiter has a primary objective- which is to find the best fit candidate for the current vacancy. Your CV is not intended to make the recruiter smile appreciatively of its beauty or aesthetics— it’s meant to demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt your ability to get the job done.

Now let’s lay some foundations……

  What Is The Ultimate Goal of A CV?

To start off take a step back and consider the ultimate goal of your CV.

Your CV is meant to convince the recruiter at by demonstrating that you are the right fit for the job vacancy, it is after demonstrating on paper that you are the right fit only then can you progress to the interview stage. Your CV must do an excellent job of conveying the right information about your job experience, skills, education, overall personal qualities and achievements that you have gathered over the course of your work history.

However, the way you are able to communicate all that information may be very different depending on the job and industry you are applying to.

What Really Makes An Effective CV?

The effectiveness of a resume is generally measured by how clearly and efficiently it demonstrates the candidate’s ability to do the job.

An effective CV utilizes language and keywords that will grab the of the recipient of the CV.

Now that you understand some of the fundamental characteristics of a good resume, let’s talk about where and when it’s okay to inject a little color.


Color and Your CV – What Is The Big Deal?

If you are a fine art artist, and you are applying for a role in that skill area good for you! Go ahead and share your details printed on your most recent painting!

But if you are clearly not in that industry or in the creative industry for that matter it is best to err on the side of caution. Be subtle with your colorful personality until you get the job……..make sense right?

Imagine for a minute you are a stand-up comedian, you are about to do your routine, as you walk into the room, you try to read the room, that is exactly what you should do – take a few minutes to consider who will be the recipient of your CV. Would it be the external recruiter? The internal HR team? You future supervisor? While it is a long stretch to be 100% sure who will get your CV, I would strongly suggest you do your best to learn as much as possible about the industry, the company, and the workplace culture before adding a dash of colour to your CV.”

The industry and job role being applied to must be carefully considered. The kind of CV that would be perfect when applying for the role of  a Graphic Designer,  will hardly work for another candidate applying for a role as a Pharmacist or an Accountant”

I am sure you get the drift now, if you must use colors by all means do but go the subtle approach and apply only where it would work to get you noticed.


How To Add Color And Graphics To Your CV Without Overdoing It.

By now you understand that you must be subtle in layering on the colours and the graphs. Only use them under the following conditions

  • You have done your research and you know the industry, company and team are very open and in-fact are reputed to be on the look-out for some thing “different” and as such will not mind a colorful, graphical CV.
  • The job role you are applying for requires that you share graphical charts and stuff like that to underscore your skills.
  • You will be very clever about phrasing your work skills an achievements details in quantifiable ways to the recruiter.
  • The geographic location and local context of the job vacancy you are applying to does not already have bias for CVs like that.

Do not Rely Too Much On Colors And Graphics

Everyone likes to see a nicely done CV –  even recruiters and HR Professionals. The truth is most job seekers are interested in using trendy CV templates because they want to stand out and be remembered.
However, one of the biggest challenges with colorful and graphical resumes is that if you focus too much on colors and graphics, you run the risk of losing sight of the key objectives of your CV.

Don’t read this wrong, it is okay to want to be memorable, but ideally you should seek to be remembered because of your experience and accomplishments. Your colourful and graphical CV should play a supporting role and not be the main event.

In general, rather than attempting to be the candidate with the most colorful and graphical CV,  a better approach will be to focus on demonstrating to the recruiter what makes you the best fit candidate first and foremost, then incorporating a little color and graphical representation of your achievements where and when possible.

Remember, your aim in not to get the admiration of the recruiter, what you want is an interview invite and subsequently a job offer!  So aim to grab their attention with your skills, experience and achievements.



Olutoyin Williams


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