Cover LettersCover Letters
Job Seeker TipsJob Seeker Tips
Beginner BasicsBeginner Basics
In the WorkplaceIn the Workplace
Build Your
Resume With
Our Easy Wizard
Get A
Try Our
Cover Letter
Home > Blog: Interviews > Unforgivable Job Search Mistakes

Unforgivable Job Search Mistakes

Tell the Truth, Pay Attention, Be NiceAsk a group of HR people and hiring managers what drives them nuts about job candidates' behavior, and their answers will be amazingly similar. Candidates regularly show up late, dress inappropriately, and use unprofessional email addresses. But most hiring professionals, while admitting to personal preferences and pet peeves, are far more interested in finding the right person for the job than rejecting a candidate for a single mistake.

Kerry over at Clue Wagon posted a great article about candidate deal breakers last week. Bottom line: Don't agonize if you made one little boo-boo—we're all human. Just know that certain big, bad behaviors are show stoppers that hiring managers have trouble overlooking. Here are three of them:

  • Putting the wrong company name in your cover letter
    Writing hear instead of here in your cover letter may elicit an eye roll, but it probably won't destroy your chance of getting hired. However, if you're applying to Smith Co. and your cover letter talks about how eager you are to work for Jones Co., you've just told your prospective employer, "I will probably embarrass you on the job because I don't pay attention to detail and I make stupid mistakes."
  • Lying
    This one's pretty obvious. If you lie on your resume or in your interview about your education, your experience, your skills, or your credentials, you'll be rejected as soon as they find out. If you've got negative information to explain, be brief and truthful.
  • Being rude or disrespectful to others
    This doesn't refer to just your interviewers. You'll be judged on how you treat the parking attendant, security personnel, receptionist, administrative staff, and anyone else you encounter. Good hiring managers always seek feedback from their support staff about a prospective new hire. And even if they don't, the office grapevine will ensure the news of your bad behavior gets relayed.

I could go on and on about other ways job candidates sabotage their own efforts, but the whole concept is really as simple as mother always said: Pay attention, tell the truth, and be nice.

Thoughts on Truth, Truthiness, and Lying On a Resume
How to Explain Work History Gaps in the Interview
How to Handle 6 Dumb Things Interviewers Do
When Bad HR Happens to Good Job Seekers

Ready To Jump Start Your Job Search?
Looking for Help with Your Job Search?
Pongo has been helping Job Seekers for over 10 years. If you think our articles are great, try our Resume Builder, Letter Builder and Exclusive Interview Strategy Videos! Our easy-to-use tools and expert advice have helped over 70% of our Members get the job they want! Learn More »
Like what you see?
Join over 4.6 million Pongo Members — and let us help you land your dream job.
Pongo Raves
How Mark Improved His Life With Pongo
See how Mark's job search went from frustrating and uneventful to productive and fulfilling with Pongo's help.
Learn More About Pongo
More Success Stories