The paper resume is all but dead. It's an online world for most job hunters now.
Most resumes aren't snail-mailed. They're attached to emails or posted on company websites, Facebook or electronic portfolios. Surveys indicate that hirers click through these applications at alarming six-second-per-view speed.
So how does a job hunter stand out?
Cindy Kenkel, an assistant business professor at Northwest Missouri State University, has a fine solution: Add a pop of color to get noticed in a sea of black and white.
Kenkel five years ago wrote Extreme Resume Makeover, a guidebook that advocated the use of cutting-edge design features to spice up basic, formatted resumes. That advice still holds. But her 2013 version focuses on the digital realm.
She has posted many colorful resume samples online on the university's website. Names and other personal details have been changed to protect privacy, but the samples are based on real resumes provided by students.
Kenkel said she had spent part of this summer reaching out to human resource professionals, recruiters and resume preparation professionals to get their feedback. Most of the response was positive, partly because her samples aren't wild and crazy.
In fact, they're subtle enough that many viewers hardly register that they're looking at something different from the same old, same old. People are accustomed to the Web being an explosion of color. It's frankly no big deal to put a color bar down the margin or highlight subheads on the page.
Even something as simple as making the boldface dots on bulleted items a different color from the typeface gives a vibrancy to the page.
Look at Kenkel's samples for ideas. You need to tailor your resume for every job anyway. So tinker a bit. Add a hue. It can't hurt, and it might help.
On the Web
Colorful resumes: nwmissouri.edu/business/ColorfulResumes/