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5 Job Hunting Mistakes that Scream "I'm Unprofessional"

5 Job Hunting Mistakes that Scream "I'm Unprofessional"

Peter Vogt | MonsterTRAK Career Coach

In most job-filling situations, the employer has the luxury of choosing from several well-qualified applicants, all of whom could probably do the job. That’s when the little things, like the common but often unrecognized mistakes described here, almost always come into play. Make sure you avoid them, so they don’t cost you a shot at the job.

1. Using a Cutesy Email Address for Correspondence

Example:, or — far worse — something like

You Might Think: It’s a clever, memorable email address everyone will get a kick out of.

The Employer Will Probably Think: I can’t believe someone would actually list this email address on her resume, let alone use it to correspond with me. Will she do the same thing on the job if I hire her? Yikes!

2. Putting a Silly Message on Your Answering Machine

Example: A is for academics, B is for beer — and one of those reasons is why we’re not here. So leave a message, OK?

You Might Think: Mine is the funniest answering machine message this side of the Mississippi. My friends will love it.

The Employer Will Probably Think: Good lord, this person probably lives in Animal House. And I just can’t risk interviewing, let alone hiring, someone like Bluto or Flounder. Sorry, Charlie. Click.

3. Sending Your Resume and Cover Letter Without Proofreading

You Might Think: Everybody makes mistakes, even employers. So if there’s a mistake or two on my resume, no big deal. The employer probably won’t even notice, much less care.

The Employer Will Probably Think: Everybody makes mistakes, even employers. But making more than one minor mistake on a resume or in a cover letter is unacceptable, and often, even one is too many. How do I know this person will proofread the letters he writes to shareholders? What if he someday leaves a zero or two off one of our financial statements? I better put this resume aside and look for someone who’s more accurate and thorough.

4. Winging Your Interviews Instead of Preparing Thoroughly

You Might Think: I’m good at thinking on my feet, and if I get stuck, I’ll just BS my way through. Besides, they can’t expect me to know everything about the company.

The Employer Will Probably Think: This person clearly knows nothing about the company, nor has she made any effort to learn more about us and what we do. She must not really care whether or not she gets the job. I want someone who cares. Oh well, maybe the next person will be better.

5. Failing to Send Thank-You Notes After Interviews

You Might Think: A thank-you note? You’re kidding, right? Do people even do that sort of thing anymore?

The Employer Will Probably Think: This person has no follow-up skills, not to mention common courtesy. He could have at least dropped me a quick email note, like this other person did. I think I’ll invite this candidate for the second round of interviews instead. The other guy must not really want the position.

This article originally appeared on

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  • Nancy_wright_max50


    about 6 years ago


    A lot of employers now-a-days treat people who come to interviews and the people who work for them like dirt, because they know they can. We are in a tough economy and jobs are hard to come by. That doesn't mean all bosses are "God" and that they are perfect. I have excellent skills and I know I could do a lot of the jobs better than some of the people I have interviewed with. The person "blindintellectual" who made the comment about hiring people, might want to learn how to use spell check!

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    almost 7 years ago


    I have hired lost of people and in all honesty the ones that DO send a Thank you note rarely get hired. When they do get the job they usually border on insane and run all of the long time employees off screaming into the hills. If they aren't actually insane, they drive everyone else that way. However, I have almost always worked in small business, it may not be kosher in my world but larger businesses that make big bucks may want an anal retentive neurotic secretary who throws staplers when something isn't perfect.

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