A few days ago, one of my connections  announced on a LinkedIn  wrote that she  liked to add, ‘… A splash of colour…” on the résumés she writes.  She reasoned that it makes her documents stand out. I would argue that it may work against her clients. It may limit accessibility for the employers.

Years ago, I worked as a community school coordinator in an Inner-city school in Vancouver. There, I was a participant in the School Based Team where teachers would present problems students were experiencing in class. One of the students was having trouble recognizing  the concept of using a coloured highlighter to mark words that he didn’t understand and needed to look up.

Try as she might, every time the teacher asked that the student used the highlighter, she was greeted with an angry look from the kid. She tried to solve the problem by issuing detentions and times out, but he steadfastly refused to use the highlighter.

“Have you had him tested for colour blindness?” I asked.

“No.” she said. “Why would I do that?”

“Imagine white a highlighted mark would look like if the kid was colour blind.” I said. “It would look exactly like someone smearing mud all over the words. In fact, he might not even be able to see the font used to write the troublesome word. “ Instead of using a highlighter, why not try to have the student underline  the word in ink.

She did, and it worked. She also tested him for colorblindness and he was.

The funny thing about colour blind people is that they grow up. Some finish school and go on to higher education. They get trades certificates, diplomas, and degrees. Some may even become employers. Imagine giving a colour blind employer a résumé festooned with all the colours of the rainbow – a trick that is easily done with a computer.

For this employer, rather than Red, Orange  Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet whicha re all the colours of the visible rainbow,  this employer would see shades of grey – which was good enough for Alfred Hitchcock.

If I get the urge to add colour on my résumés,  I do it with words.

Besides, colours look crummy on a black and white printer or photocopier. Just use a highlighter and send it in the mail.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



  1. Sharon Says:

    Interesting comments. Had not thought of that color concept. Well stated to give people pause. Years ago I was told to print my resume on a professional grade paper with muted color, such as gray, blue, yellow or rose; nothing to scare the HR person as he/she opened the envelope, but enough to make it stand out in a pile of white resumes. It seemed to work for me.

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