Resume header: Your professional email address

Email Address: Part of your Professional Image

One of the most common resume mistakes we see is with email addresses. Your email address is just one of the many elements that can contribute to your professional image.

Certain e-mail addresses do not convey professionalism: or, for example.

Aside from a professional-sounding address, for consistency of personal branding, I recommend an email address that closely matches the name on your resume. This kind of address has the added bonus of always being recognizable; it takes the guesswork out of a contact list.

Common Email Mistakes

Certain details that should not be in your email address. At Peak Performers employment agency, we are widely recognized for our nondiscrimination advocacy. Unfortunately, not every other employer shares this value. To play it safe, we recommend an e-mail address that doesn’t include:

  • a reference to age or year of birth
  • race or national origin
  • religion
  • familial status (marriage, children, being a grandma/grandpa, etc.)
  • or a reference to any other characteristic that is a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

One of my favorite “inappropriate email address” real-life examples is the curse of a name that inherently sounds unprofessional.

Above all, the most important thing is that you give out an e-mail address that you actually check. The hazard of setting up a new, professional e-mail address is that you’ll forget to check it. The solution is simple: set up account forwarding. This way, you’ll be able to send and receive e-mails as a professional, with the convenience of being able to check both accounts.

Invisible Disabilities

Invisible Disabilities

Recently, I was reading through a comment section below an article about what it’s like living with a disability. One contributor offered this example scenario:

Scenario 1: A blind person is in a store. Through an mistake in their cane technique, they accidentally break a piece of merchandise

Scenario 2:A person suffering from PTSD is in a store. They smell a cologne that was the same their attacker wore. They become very upset and accidentally break a piece of merchandise

Who do you think the store owner will be more sympathetic toward?

It might sound pessimistic, but my bet is that 9 out of 10 times, the person with PTSD will end up paying for the broken merchandise, while the blind person probably will not. Why is this?

Inclusion of People with Invisible Disabilities

Many would argue that it’s the difference between a visible disability and an “invisible” one. Invisible disabilities are the ones you might not even know someone has. A longer list can be found on our Disability Defined page, but I’ll name a few here:

  • anxiety/depression
  • heart disease
  • sleep disorders
  • digestive disorders (such as Crohn’s Disease or IBS)
  • bipolar disorder
  • cancer

Often, the applicants we see here at Peak Performers who have “invisible” disabilities also have this in common: they’re more likely to protest, “Oh, but I’m not really disabled.”

Disability Defined

The legal definition of “disability” was originally set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Passed in 1990, this Act offered a fairly limited definition, covering mostly the physical conditions we traditionally think of as “disabling.”

In 2008, however, this definition was broadened considerably, under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). Most notably, the ADAAA now includes individuals who have been diagnosed with the “invisible” disabilities.

Traditionally, these are the conditions that, because they were not protected (either under the ADA, or pre-dating regulations), were not only invisible, but were also hidden. These are also the “newest” disabling conditions, in the sense that it hasn’t been until recently that scientists and therapists have begun to understand them. Today, in spite of laws meant to protect disabled individuals from discrimination, I’ve seen plenty of career advice articles extolling the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In other words: unless your disability is hard not to see, it’s best not to say anything.

To me, this is a sign that there is still something wrong with the system. Individuals still expect to encounter disability discrimination in the workplace.

Recently, to the tune of $7 million, a Missouri judge successfully sued the state for firing him due to his disability, a very difficult form of muscular dystrophy. His lawyer called the success “vindictive” for her client, adding that: “He felt like he was heard and somebody listened to him and believed him and saw him for the first time on these issues.”

The Need for Change

Visible disabilities, such as the Missouri judge’s muscular dystrophy or blindness, have often been documented for many years. And yet, they are still discriminated against. Invisible disabilities, such as PTSD or Crohn’s disease, are easier to hide, less understood by your average person, and tend to have a shorter history of documentation. They’re also harder to “prove,” and someone could be accused of simply “faking it.”

I’ll leave you by returning to my first example, and ask: Who would you ask to pay for the broken merchandise in your store?

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Learn more here, and follow Peak Performers as we work to grow awareness.

Resume header: What’s in a name?

Resume Headers

As my favorite leading lady Julie Andrews once sung on screen, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”

In this series, however, we’re not going to learn how to sing (at least that’s not the plan). Instead, we’re going to learn how to write a resume, starting at the top and working our way down. The Alps and singing nuns might not be involved (again, not in the plans), but we do guarantee you this: if you follow these guidelines, step by step, your resume will convey professionalism and help you look like you know how to get a job.

Why is it important that your resume conforms to certain standards? Recently, an eye-tracking study was conducted to discover how long, on average, a recruiter spends looking at each resume. The results will blow you away…

Six seconds.

That’s only six seconds of glory for you. How can you make the strongest possible impression, within that minuscule amount of time? Your resume needs to be clean, easy to visually search and scan, and yet tell a recruiter everything they need to know. Very, very quickly.

Your name

It seems overly basic, yes? But let’s start by thinking about how you write your name.

In today’s recruiting world, it’s important that your name be consistent across all of these many platforms we now use. We call this “personal branding.” And as any catchy advertising jingle shows us, consistency is the key to making your brand stick.

Do you go by your middle name? A shortened version of your first name? It’s not vital that your resume match your legal name, but it is important that you be consistent.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your full, legal name is Ronald Eric Smith. This is the name on your official forms of ID such as your driver’s license. However, everyone actually calls you Eric. Your professional-use email address is On Facebook and LinkedIn, you’re Eric Smith. Your resume might therefore read: R. Eric Smith.

Here’s another example: Let’s say your legal name is Ronald Eric Smith, but everyone calls you Ronny. Your email address and online profiles are all under the name Ronny Smith. Your resume might therefore read: Ronald “Ronny” Smith. Or, since this is a pretty well-recognized nickname, it’s not necessary that you specify it. But if you can’t stand being called Ronald? Then your resume should definitely read: Ronny Smith.

One more example: Let’s say your legal name is Ronald Eric Smith, but everyone calls you Rattlesnake. We’re sure there’s a great story behind that nickname, but this is neither the time nor the place. Your resume should read: Ronald Eric Smith, Ronny Eric Smith, Ron Eric Smith. Anything, really. Just please, not Rattlesnake!

Unprofessional nicknames aside, there are many name scenarios that quite possibly apply to you. For instance, you might have a name that’s difficult to pronounce. In that case, consider writing the pronunciation in parentheses, briefly, next to your name.

Lastly, if you have a pretty common name—Ronald Smith is a good example again—we ask you to seriously consider including your middle name on your resume. This will spare recruiters a name mix-up, and it will help distinguish you from other applicants.

For more insights into the nuances of what name you should put on your resume, check out these helpful articles: