Can My Resume Be The Colour Red?


Red is an acceptable colour choice for your resume. However, it is not necessarily a safe choice. Here is how a red resume may impact impression formation.

Red on Your Resume

Impact of Red in the Context of a Job Application

To understand the effect red has on your resume, we need to look at the impact of red in the context of a job application.

To do so, we need to understand the influence of red in an achievement context.  In other words, in a situation where your skills and ability are being evaluated.

Helpfully, research has been conducted examining the influence of red on impression formation in a job application context.  Across three different experiments, it was found that when job applicants were viewed wearing red, they were perceived as less intelligent and capable.

It is thought that the association of red with low competency may have developed through our conditioning over time.  For example, our observations of the use of red to indicate an incorrect answer on game shows or grammar and spelling corrections made by the teacher in red pen.

Red pen correcting spelling

For this reason, it was suggested it might be safest to avoid red in the job application context.

Read more: The influence of red on impression formation in a job application context

Alignment of Red with Your Industry

Another aspect to consider before using red on your resume is the congruence of red with the position or organisation you are applying. Using red on your resume will be more appropriate if it is consistent with the brand, industry or role.

Red is avoided in some industries. For example, medical, public transport, or financial services. This is because of red’s association with warning and danger.  Other industries embrace red. For instance, fast food.  It is thought that the colour red makes you hungry.

For your resume, this means that red may be a more appropriate colour choice in certain industries or to apply for an organisation that uses red in its own branding. In this situation, there will be greater congruence with your colour choice. That is to say, red would be a better choice for applying for a role at Netflix than as a nurse.

red corporate logos

Another option, and perhaps a safer choice, is to use red with other colours. It is thought that you can soften the impact of red with complementary colours.

Read More: Using Shades of Red in Design

In short, red on your resume isn’t off-limits, however, you should use red cautiously.  Weigh up the risk of red impacting your perceived competency and give consideration to the congruence of red with your industry or position. A good compromise might be to use read alongside complementary colours.

For more information, see: Best Colour For Your Resume

What are your thoughts?

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?