7 Major Turn-Offs to Avoid When Looking for a Job


Are you a web designer or developer who is looking for a job? Whether it’s a freelance gig or a full-time job you are after, you really need to be aware of these glaring mistakes that are instant turn-offs for employers.

Oftentimes beginners make these mistakes and wonder why no one replied to their application. Even experienced web designers and developers commit these too, although rarely. Still, you should learn what these are and avoid them at all costs!

Costly Mistakes that Freelancers Should Avoid

In this article we are discussing the mistakes that are easily made that will turn off a prospective employer and make him/her say no!

7 Major Turn-Offs to Avoid When Looking for a Job
Image credit: Bigstockphoto


This, my friends, is a big no-no. Never include your portfolio site on your resume if it will only lead to a coming soon page. It shouts three things:

  1. You are lazy.
  2. You are not prepared.
  3. You are not qualified for the job.

Why would anyone want to visit a coming soon page? More so, what would an employer see there that would make them want to hire you?

Coming Soon Page

So either you furnish that portfolio majestically or leave it off your resume.

Or even worse…


Having an online portfolio is a must, but please try your hardest to make it professional. Never ever use a free blog service like Wix, Blogspot, WordPress.com, and others. The turn off here is the free domain and generic design. You don’t want to present your website as yourname.wordpress.com, it shows that you aren’t experienced enough to have your own domain.

Free Website

Another thing is you shouldn’t use free templates. If anything, design your own and use it. Bring a unique feel to your portfolio.

What Should Be Included in Your Portfolio?
Remember to place your name and contact details at the very top of your resume. If you’re going to put an email address, be sure to use your domain name to make it more presentable. A yourname@gmail.com will fade in comparison to a yourname@onextrapixel.com.

Follow that tip if you’re aiming for a standard tone. But if you want to actually get noticed, design your resume in a way that would make them want to hire you on the spot.


Having an online portfolio to show off sure is nice, but if all of the websites in your gallery look pretty much the same except for their colors, text, and images used, then that’s basically suicide. It shows how non-creative you are, how inflexible your style is when it comes to designing.

Display your creativity and flexibility by having at least three variations to show. If you’re a web designer, show off a flat website you designed, a parallax website, and maybe even print design. If you’re a web developer, then show off every system or app you helped build!


Not having a business card gives the impression that you are not serious about your work. If you are thinking, “well, I only work with online clients anyway” then you are missing a lot of fun and money by casting away “offline” people. At one point or another you’ll most likely hear from a friend that an acquaintance of his is looking for a web designer. Or perhaps while you’re sitting in your favorite coffee shop someone will approach you and ask if you are web designer, because he’s looking for one. Will you just scribble your contact details on a napkin or your receipt? Very unprofessional!

Business Cards

I highly recommend designing and keeping at least one business card in your wallet. You’ll never know when you will need it, but you will, at one point, need it.


While applying for a job as a web designer or developer doesn’t entail heavy writing, having grammatical and spelling errors on your resume or email is a huge turn off to many. One or two mistakes won’t instantly mean that your application is as good as trashed, but too many mistakes and rambling will.

Learning how to write well means you’re a good communicator. That is what employers are looking for, someone who can understand their needs.

Punctuation Marks

This is particularly important if you are mostly looking for clients online. Since Skype chats and emails will be inevitable. Learn how to use proper punctuation, too.


This is closely related to the first two points. Having zero or close to no presence online is kind of shady, especially when you thrive on the internet.


Why is an online presence important? Job recruiters and employers will Google your name. Reading a resume is not enough for them, they will definitely search for you. And in this age where almost everyone who has an email address has at least one social media account, it’s a red flag for web designers and developers to have close to zero activities online.


Never say this if the employer is looking for an experienced designer or developer. This is a major turn-off which suggests that you are practically looking for someone to teach you, instead of working for them. It gives the impression that you are a beginner, and that’s not what they’re looking for.


While this looks like a good thing to say on an email or voice call (or even in person), it comes across as if you are begging.

If an employer is looking for someone to train, or is very specific on finding “fresh” talents, then this sentence is a must say.


By simply avoiding these mistakes you’ll increase your chance of landing a job. The most important part here is having a robust portfolio displaying everything you can do. Remember, it’s better to not have a portfolio to show than to have one which displays your lack of skill. And be sure to write properly.