Lessons on how not to apply for that coveted job

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It could well have been Threnody (she’s my secretary y’know – files everything under M for Misc) who wrote this job application for a typist’s position. The applicant proudly stated: “I am a rabid typist.”

That’s Threnody.

I think it’s a shame that schools don’t prepare school-leavers for the cruel world and the subtleties and pitfalls of job-seeking.

I can offer some advice. I have here some marvellous examples of extracts from job applications that have failed.

The first lesson is, don’t try to be clever:

“Qualifications: I am a man filled with passion and integrity, and I can act on short notice. I’m a class act and do not come cheap.”

Second lesson: Check what you have written carefully for spelling errors and inappropriate words. Better still, get somebody to check it for you:

“I was proud to win the Gregg Typting Award.”

“I was instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain operation.”

“Here are my qualifications for you to overlook.”

“Work Experience: dealing with customers’ conflicts that arouse.”

“(I had to) develop and recommend an annual operating expense fudget.”

“I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreadsheet progroms.”

Lesson three: Don’t try to impress with highfalutin’ English:

“While I am open to the initial nature of an assignment, I am decidedly disposed that it be so oriented as to at least partially incorporate the experience enjoyed heretofore and that it be configured so as to ultimately lead to the application of more rarefied facets of financial management as the major sphere of responsibility.”

Lesson four: Whatever you do, don’t try to philosophise: “I intentionally omitted my salary history. I’ve made money and lost money. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I prefer being rich.”

Lesson five: Don’t make excuses for quitting your last job:

“I was working for my mom until she decided to move.”

“Note: please don’t misconstrue my 14 jobs as ‘job-hopping’. I have never quit a job.”

“Responsibility makes me nervous.”

“They insisted that all employees get to work by 8.45 every morning. I could not work under those conditions.”

“Was met with a string of broken promises and lies, as well as cockroaches.”

“The company made me a scapegoat – just like my three previous employers.”

Lesson six: watch out for contradictions in your application:

“I am extremely loyal to my present firm, so please don’t let them know of my immediate availability.”

“Please call me after 5.30 because I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job.”

Lesson seven: Never make demands:

“I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience.”

Lesson eight: Never boast:

“Let’s meet, so you can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over my experience.”

“Am a perfectionist and rarely if ever forget details.”

“Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.”

“Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.”

Lesson nine: Never be too frank:

“It’s best for employers that I not work with people.”

“My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I possess no training in meteorology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage.”

“I procrastinate – especially when the task is unpleasant.”

And when you are invited to come for an interview don’t get too confident …

Some years ago Fortune magazine invited executives of major corporations to recount memorable interviews with job applicants. One told of an applicant who “stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application”.

Another “asked to see interviewer’s resumé to see if he was qualified to judge the candidate”.

One man “interrupted the interview to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions”.


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