Tips for Job Seekers – The “What Not to do” Edition


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Tips for Job Seekers - The "What Not to Do" EditionHello folks.  I am here, once again, to share my infinite wisdom with you in order to help you with your job search.

You’re welcome.

I want to start this off by saying that I think it is great you are looking for a job.  Afterall, sitting home and pouting won’t help you become employed, right?  However, some of your tactics are not working and I want to share with you a quick list of “what not to do” while looking for your next 9-5.


1.  Don’t Show Up In Pajamas

This should be a given, right?  If you are seeking employment in a professional office, like the one I work in, you might consider wearing regular pants when dropping off that resume.  I cannot tell you how many people come to my work to drop off a resume or ask for an application wearing pajamas or workout gear.  Putting on some professional clothes before you stop in will alert us that you actually own professional looking clothes.  ***HOT TIP – Dressing nice will keep me from putting a post-it note on your resume stating that you were wearing your cozies when you stopped by.


2.  Don’t Smoke

If you reek like smoke when you drop off your resume, people get suspicious.  If your resume itself reeks like smoke, it will go straight in the recycler.  I know that this is probably unfair and maybe illegal…but it’s the truth.  Many workplaces do not knowingly hire people who smoke.  Don’t smell like smoke when you stop by and don’t leave a resume that smells like an ashtray.


3.  Don’t Be an Asshole to the Receptionist

At many places of employment, the designated person sitting in the reception area actually has a function and isn’t just sitting there like a dumbass.  At my office, I sit at the front desk.  I greet people as they come in and help most of the “walk-ins.”  I also have regular work to do, and I have input in everything that goes on there.  Be nice to the person that greets you at the place where you wish to work… never know how much pull that person has.  They can help you get a foot in the door or throw away your resume.


4.    Don’t Be a Stalker

Dropping off a resume in person is a great idea.  This lets people know what you look like, that you are a real person, and can really give someone a great first impression.  Following up is important as well.  You want to keep yourself fresh in the boss’s mind just in case he or she is looking to hire someone.  However,  calling and stopping by repeatedly crosses the line.  If you are leaving messages for the boss to call you back and aren’t getting your calls returned, STOP CALLING.  If every time you walk in the door the receptionist looks annoyed, STOP DROPPING BY.  If it is starting to seem like people are trying to avoid you…they probably are.  Don’t be an office stalker.  You will not get the job!  ***HOT TIP  There is a fine line between being persistent and a straight-up stalker crazy pants.  Don’t cross that line!


Obviously, this post was born out of my frustration with some of the people who apply to work at my office….but there is some useful information hidden among my sarcastic commentary.  Please feel free to add to this list by sharing a comment below.






  1. says

    I won’t say which employer it was or whatnot, but someone showed up half an hour early (literally like 6:30am) and waited in the lobby until 7am when the interviewer got to work. The interviewer and hiring manager found it strange that they would wait in the lobby that long (they were not traveling for this interview, they lived in the vicinity). It’s important to not do things that will distract the interviewer and hiring manager, and I think you pointed out some good ones here.

    • says

      Yeah, that sounds a little creepy. They obviously started off by annoying the interviewer which wasn’t a good thing. I assume they didn’t get the job?!?!?

      • says

        I’ve done this before…just in case there’s really bad traffic or something. It’s never effected my job prospects. But if it was before the place opened, like at 6:30 am, I’d probably wait in my car and not in the lobby.

  2. says

    Wow, people actually show up in their PJ’s? That’s beyond nuts. I could not agree more with #3, I learned that early on in my job search. Of course, I am wanting to be genuine, but make sure you have a smile and be nice to them. My wife was an admin asst for several years and her boss depended on her to give constructive feedback on how all applicants treated her.

  3. says

    5. Be eager to work. When I was in school I was a front end manager of a grocery store. When someone came in to hand in a resume or ask for an application with as much excitement one might have in getting a root canal I generally marked their resume with “don’t bother” before handing it to the store manager.

  4. says

    Word to #3! Truly, when I worked admin jobs, I could tell who was going to be a good person for the organization based on how they treated me and other admins. If you kiss up and kick down, you’re a terrible person. And chances are, the person interviewing you will get an earful from the receptionist you were rude to.

    • says

      Yes, exactly. And actually…every once in a while a salesman will come in and be rude to one of our owners without realizing who they are talking to. It is hilarious! It just goes to show that you should be respectful to everyone.

  5. Brian Porter says

    HA – funny… I have never been a fan of someone either that sits there and fills out the application – seems a little desparate – take it home, make it pretty, attach your resume, bring it back, write up a nice cover letter, come back in nice clothes and present it to the person and see if they have time to talk with you… its like a mini-interview…

    If you can win over the support staff, you can work on winning over your future employer… having a little conversation never hurts either…

    And stay off your damn cell phone when you’re there – geez… your Twitter account can wait… :)

  6. says

    Not showing up late and having reasonable answers to questions would also be a good idea. It’s CRAZY to hear some of the things that come out of people’s mouths. Some interviews get to the point where I feel bad for the person because they don’t realize how bad they’re hurting their chances to get the job.

  7. says

    haha, great tips !I do find it very off putting when someone stinks like cigarette smoke. And wearing nice clothes is so important ! I threw out many resumes immediately when I saw someone walk in wearing sweatpants, no makeup, a sweatshirt, and just looking like they were lounging at home. It was for a women’s clothing store; you’d think they would put a bit more effort in !

  8. says

    These tips are so right on! I remember people coming in asking for applications and they looked like they just rolled out of bed. Seriously, brush your hair and clothes that aren’t rumpled go a long way.

  9. Elizabeth says

    Love the rant — I’ve seen a lot and I don’t even work in HR. Probably the worst was a guy who wrote his resume on a notepad and tore off the sheet. (Yes, you could see the holes.) I guess we take for granted that people know how to act in professional situations.

    • says

      Yes….smile. If you can’t pretend to be interested in the job for a few moments to drop off a resume, then that is probably not a good thing!

  10. says

    I agree the frustrations with the phone calls, over and over. Emailing over and over can be just as frustrating. One thing I always like to see is someone who is on time, dressed well, did their research, knows themselves and has a keen desire to succeed. As an ex-smoker I realize that smoking is an addiction and that we shouldn’t discriminate against people who smoke. I was able to bring just as much desire to succeed and expertise as the next guy if not more. There are doctors and nurses who smoke and help to save people’s lives but they still get hired. I couldn’t imagine if we turned them all down but I’m sure if it were life or death no one would really care or not if the doc treating them smoked. I agree that when you do show up that you should be well groomed. I also recognize that people do treat resumes like you mention and toss them in the bin. One organizations potential loss is another’s gain. Never judge a book by it’s cover they say but I agree showing up dressed for the occasion is very important and treating everyone with respect. Great Post Cheers Mr.CBB

    • says

      Oh, I don’t think that smokers work less or not as hard at all. I just don’t want to deal with the smell of smoke on people’s clothing. It literally makes me ill as I am very sensitive to it ever since I had kids. I remember when I was pregnant that I would get sick just seeing someone smoke in their car, even if I couldn’t even smell it. Smoking is a deal breaker for me.

    • says

      Stalking is not funny, Grayson! Lol, but seriously…..act normal and you might get a job. Act like a weirdo and the odds aren’t as great. It’s not that complicated.

    • says

      That is a really good idea to sit in your car. That way you can get there super early for peace of mind but not hassle people and make them feel inconvenienced.

  11. says

    Very good tips. I’ve conducted a number of interviews in the past, and its amazing at how there are still people out there who don’t get it….

    Anyhow, my biggest tip during an interview is to be pleasant, smile a lot, act like you enjoy being there, and be confident. These attributes will make it hard for them to not offer you the job. :)

    • says

      Those are good tips, Jason. Having confidence sets you apart in almost all aspects of life, I think. The more confidence I have gotten, the better I have done at everything in my life.

  12. Justin@TheFrugalPath says

    If I was hiring someone I definately would think twice about hiring a known smoker v.s. someone who was not (or that I didn’t know smoked).
    Smoker health insurance costs more so if an employer foots their employees health care bill it would cost them more.
    Then there is the production time lost to smoke breaks.
    I’d rather be cautious than lose out.

  13. says

    Spell check your resume and don’t give your life story. I actually got a resume with a cover letter explaining that the reason the applicant didn’t have much work history was because she got pregnant in high school then got pregant again. Little TMI.

  14. says

    I walk by Select Staffing company every morning and every now and then see some people there looking like they just got out of bed. Wearing pajamas or some worn out shirt and sweat pants, how can they expect to get a job?! Lol. Some people just haven’t gotten the ‘memo’.

  15. says

    I read the title of this article and thought to myself ‘ I hope Holly mentions that you should be polite to admins / receptionists and janitors’ – Well done!! Nice article – have a good weekend :)

  16. says

    As a lawyer, one thing I can say here, is that I am seeking people who did their homework. I want them to show me that they know some code sections, or case law, for example, if I am hiring a paralegal, that relate to my particular field of law.

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