What if you walked into a job interview wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt, ripped jeans, and bright orange sneakers? In most cases, the interviewer would rightly conclude that you’re not very professional. You may actually be a supremely talented and hard-working employee, and a great fit for the company—but your lack of professionalism could rob you of the opportunity.
In much the same way, a resume can sometimes scream “unprofessional” to whoever sees it. That may not be a fair appraisal of your character, but it’s what the resume conveys—and just like the tie-dyed T-shirt, this lack of professionalism can cost you a career opportunity.
But how do you know your resume is giving off an unprofessional vibe? Here are a few dead giveaways.
Goofy Email Handles
Going by the RunnerGal77, WeezerFan_01, or a similarly flippant email handle can actually be a turn-off to employers, for the simple reason that it comes across as juvenile and, well, unprofessional. Make sure your resume has a clean, reputable email address on it—some variation on your name, with a recognized email platform like Gmail. Recent grads might also use their school email handle.
Typos of Any Kind
A true professional would take a few minutes to proofread their resume rather than send sloppy writing to a potential boss. Make sure your own resume is free of these unfortunate errors.
A Wall of Text
A resume needs to be readable, and as a courtesy to hiring managers, yours should include plenty of white space, section headings, and bullet points. If it’s just a big lump of unbroken text, that’s a headache for the reader—and not very professional at all.
A true professional is able to articulate his or her value and achievements—so a resume that just lists dates and job titles, without going into any kind of depth, is a missed opportunity.
Attempts at Being “Unique”
You should stand out for your achievements, your skills, and your experience—not because you were the one goofball who used Comic Sans, or laid out your resume with a bunch of strange colors.