Careers bloopers

Caroline, one of our Careers Consultants, shares the most common  and funny mistakes that hold you back when applying for a job, make sure you don’t make the same ones

Finding a job, especially a graduate level job is tough, and letting yourself down with mistakes you shouldn’t make is even worse.  The following are some of the outstanding bloopers made by graduates in applications and interviews:

CV/Application Forms

  • I am someone who knows my own destiny, but I have no definite long term plans
  • On an application for an accountancy position – I was closely involved in every aspect of my former company, right up to its bankruptcy
  • Excellent memory skills, good analytical skills, memory skills
  • On an application for a position requiring considerable people skills – My hobbies include watching television, computer chess, philately (especially first day covers) and walking my 2 spaniels
  • I have a desire to work with commuters
  • I do not have any major achievements that I would consider to be of interest to this application
  • When applying for a role at United Biscuits – my life-long love of chocolate biscuits, is the main reason for my interest in the company
  • I have a criminal record but I am not in jail at the moment

Spelling & Grammar

Employers claim that elementary spelling and grammar mistakes account for many initial rejections, as to them it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail, and no real interest in making a good first impression, so get your application checked by somebody else before you send it

  • ‘I have good writen comunication skills’
  • ‘Proven ability to track down and correct erors’
  • ‘I want experience in a big sex practice’
  • ‘Received a plague for salesman of the year’
  • ‘I am a conscious individual….’
  • ‘I hope hear from you shorty’
  • ‘I have extensive experience of working with leading randy importers’
  • ‘Work: Chinese Restaurant     Skills: Severing customers’
  • ‘My hobbits include… – instead of ‘hobbies’
Don't let your CV end up in the rubbish bin

Don’t let your CV end up in the rubbish bin

Text speak

There is no reason at all to use text speak in a job application – keep text speak for messages to your friends, even if you do have text contact with the employer


  • Failing to take into account Monday morning rush hour traffic, when checking out route from hotel to employer on a quiet Sunday afternoon in Swindon…a 20 minute journey took nearly 2 hours
  • Asking for a minute to think after every question, then taking well over a minute with eyes tightly shut every time…and finally answering with a single sentence
  • Missing the train because you overslept after a night out with your mates
  • Not telling the employer that you are running late – they may be able to reschedule other interviews, and see you when you arrive
  • Doing the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ act when asked why you want to work for the employer
  • Using the same 2 examples to answer every question
  • Not telling them that you suffer from Tourettes before you arrive for interview
  • Confusing the firm with their rival (JCB v Caterpillar)
  • Forgetting your presentation
  • Incompatibility with their IT system, with no back up alternative
  • Dressing inappropriately
  • Chewing gum
  • Smoking in a clearly signposted No Smoking area
  • Walking out in the middle of the interview without saying a word

This last one was so off the radar, we didn’t even think to include this in our ‘what not to do in an interview’ coaching session…

  • At the end of the interview, the student whipped out his mobile phone, announced that he liked to keep a record of his interviews, then put his arm around the senior partner, pulled her close, said ‘Smile for the camera’ and took a photo…

About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

2 thoughts on “Careers bloopers

  1. Spelling the hiring manager’s name wrong is a big no-no. I once has an application for an editorial position where they not only got the hiring manager’s name wrong but also managed to spell their own name incorrectly. Quite an achievement.

  2. Pingback: The Perfect CV | UoB Careers Network

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