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Write your resume like a pro.

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6 Avoidable Job Search Mistakes That Scream, “I’m Unprofessional!”

If your goal is to come across as polished and professional, you’ll want to avoid these job search mistakes. [TWEET]

You’ve waded through the internet job boards. A few listings look like they could be just right. Now, it’s up to you to impress the hiring manager and get that interview. Your resume can do the initial heavy lifting, but every contact you have with a prospective employer affects the way you’re seen as a candidate.

Avoid these 6 simple mistakes when looking for a job that scream “I’m unprofessional!” as you continue your search.

1. Your vanity email

There’s nothing wrong with expressing yourself through a fun, whimsical email address. Yankeefan#1@aol.com or Sweet&Sassy@hotmail.com may be how your friends know you, but that doesn’t make them appropriate for professional correspondence.

A good rule of thumb is to use your name, first and last. If you have a very common name, you can adjust it by adding a number or a professional tag such as AdamJonesCPA@gmail.com.

You also want to show that you’re keeping up with the times by ditching old email providers like Hotmail or Lycos. There are plenty of great email providers to choose from and Gmail is the gold standard today. If you still like your Hotmail account, just switch it to Outlook to show that you, too, can change with the times when looking for jobs.

2. Your use of fun fonts

Most resumes look so boring, right? Yep. And that’s okay. You heard the same thing from your Freshman Composition teacher, “Use a basic font, 12pt. Always.” Why so boring? How will your resume stand out? Comic Sans or other goofy fonts don’t show your creativity to employers, they show that you don’t know the rules of the game. Your accomplishments on your resume should do the talking, not the font.

If you’re not confident that you know the best way to format your resume and avoid job search mistakes, hire a reputable resume service to do it for you.

3. Your voicemail message

Your cover letter and resume got an employer’s attention. Congratulations! But, if they give you a call and end up getting your voicemail and it sounds like this, “Hey there, it’s Dougie, I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m out killin’ this town’s tequila supply!” They are not likely to leave a message or call back. Ever.

Again, it may sound boring, but you want your message to be simple and to the point, especialy when looking for jobs. “Hi, you’ve reached Doug. I can’t answer your call right now, but leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can.”

4. Your interview attire

I’d like to take this one a step further. It’s not just about dressing professionally for your interview.  Carefully consider what you wear any time you’ll have contact with an employer. Even if you are just picking up an application or dropping one off, you’ll leave an impression. If that impression involves jeans with holes in them, a backwards ball cap, or a skirt that leaves nothing to the imagination, they won’t need to look at your application to make a decision.

When it comes to the interview itself, consider what attire is appropriate for the position you’re gunning for and then step it up one level. It’s always better to err on the side of classy to avoid job search mistakes.

5. You get too personal at the interview

You want your potential employer to get a feel for you as a person, not just a resume, right? Yes, to a point. It’s okay, even beneficial, to list charitable passions or hobbies that are relevant to the job, but it can also be easy to say the wrong thing at an interview. They don’t need to hear about your love life, medical details, or affinity for cat videos. Aim for keeping the conversation personable, not personal.

6. You don’t do your homework

Interviewers expect you to come into an interview with knowledge of their company. Why would you apply if you don’t know anything about them? Go to their website and find some interesting tidbits that are most relevant to your area of expertise and work them into conversation. Have a couple of questions ready, too, because they will ask if you have questions.

Remember this piece of advice when looking for jobs: if you come to the interview acting like they’re “just another company” they’ll treat you like “just another applicant.”

At the end of the day, these aren’t meant to take your personality out of your job hunt, you’ll have plenty of ways to let your personality shine while also showing that you understand the basic rules of the process. When you show that you are not only a qualified candidate, but a professional individual, you’ll separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

Hire a TopResume writer to help you land more interviews, faster.

Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!