Your resume is one of the first impressions a hiring manager gets of you. It is your first chance to grab their attention, and you want it to be for your skills, accomplishments, and potential, not the fact that you misspelled ‘manager’ or used 12 different fonts. While creativity works for some industries or very specific job openings, the majority of job seekers benefit from having a more traditional professional resume.

There are several ways that you can enhance your resume’s professionalism, ranging from how it looks to what it says.

Style and Format

You want your resume to be pleasing to the eye and easy to skim through. This means sticking with a simple, clean font in a readable font size (typically between 10 and 12 point). You can make headings a little larger or put them in bold, but don’t go overboard. Stay consistent throughout by formatting each entry the same way and breaking down blocks of text into bullet points. And if you’re going to add a pop of color, do so sparingly.

Email Address

Nothing screams ‘unprofessional’ like an email address of “luvs2party” or “beerpongking99”. Those are fine for personal use, but when applying for jobs, choose an email address that includes your name such as “JohnDoe” or “JDoeArchitect”. Also, consider signing up for a free Gmail account and ditching AOL or Hotmail, which can appear outdated.

Word Choice

Does every bullet point start with developed or managed? This can lose a reader’s attention very quickly. Bring your career experience to life with more powerful and engaging verbs. A quick Internet search or thesaurus can help you come up with much stronger word choices that more effectively showcase what you have to offer. Consider verbs such as orchestrated, spearheaded, engineered, implemented, generated, expedited, converted, or overhauled. Make yourself sound like the experienced professional that you are.


Another way to boost professionalism in your resume is to demonstrate results. Don’t just give a laundry list of responsibilities that could apply to anyone. Show that you get the job done and do it well. Metrics give quantifiable results and support to your claims.


Mistakes on your resume can stick out like a sore thumb. When you’re claiming that you’re detail-oriented and have exceptional writing skills, yet your resume is littered with spelling and grammar errors, it can raise red flags. It can also make it appear that you couldn’t be bothered to carefully check your work. If your resume is full of mistakes, what does that say about the work you’ll do if you’re hired?

You can make yourself shine without adding a headshot or cramming your resume with unnecessary fluff. Focus on the points that really make an impact and are most relevant to the position you are seeking. Avoid trying to impress with fancy fonts and layouts – less is more sometimes.