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My Top 10 List of Job-Seeker No-No’s

Patti Breckenridge

Patti Breckenridge

I review tens of thousands of resumes each year. I marvel at the multitude of talented, interesting individuals in this world! But it breaks my heart to see how many people throw away their chances of getting selected for a job they covet because of carelessness or downright lack of effort.

Here is my Top 10 List of Job-Seeker No-No’s:

  1. The wrong cover letter is attached. If you apply to Company A, don’t say you are seeking to work for Company B. If you want to be a Public Relations Specialist, don’t say you are interested in the Marketing Assistant position. This is an instant turn-off for any recruiter or hiring manager.
  2.  The required qualifications are ignored. If the position you want requires 5 years of experience in Human Resources, but you don’t have that experience, don’t apply. You not only waste your own time, but you tell the recruiter and the hiring manager that you either can’t read or you ignore important details.
  3. Your resume lacks specifics. I can’t tell you how many resumes I see that fail to list vital information such as the titles of the jobs the candidates held, the years they served in those jobs, the duties they performed or the goals they achieved. I’m not sure how they expect to be considered as serious candidates.
  4. Your grasp of the English language is tenuous. I think it’s common knowledge that resumes and cover letters need to be mistake-free. And yet I find misspellings, grammar errors or misuse of words in at least one-fourth of the resumes I read. For jobs that require writing of any kind, this can be a death knell on your chances of even getting an interview.
  5. You’re a job hopper. You change jobs every year or two. If you want a hiring manager to believe you will stay at the next job longer, you’d better write a pretty convincing cover letter.
  6. You use the scatter-gun approach. You apply to every position you see rather than closely analyzing whether your experience, education and skill set matches the qualifications of each position. When managers realize you aren’t being selective, they figure you will be just as careless on the job. Bottom line: They ignore you for future positions as well.
  7. Your cover letter is nothing but fluff. You explain that you are dedicated, punctual, organized and personable. That doesn’t really distinguish you from other candidates since everyone lists generalities about how wonderful they are.  Reviewing the suggestions made in this previous blog may help.  Use the cover letter to directly address the qualifications for the position. That’s what a hiring manager wants to know – do you have the education, experience and skills that the position requires?
  8. You don’t watch your email (or your spam folder). Many candidates never see inquiries from recruiters or hiring managers, even when a job posting alerts them to watch their email account closely after applying. Granted, some emails from employers go into the spam folder. But if you’re serious about wanting a new job, wouldn’t you think to monitor that folder?
  9. Your references aren’t convincing. Either you only list personal friends who have no idea what you do on the job or you give professional references that aren’t willing to talk with a recruiter or are quite willing to share your weaknesses.
  10. You repeat these mistakes over and over. You are dead in the water once recruiters and hiring managers see your carelessness is rampant, not just a one-time lapse in thinking. That is, dead in the water for any job at the company, not just the one for which you applied.

So remember, before you hit the “SEND” button, be sure to review your materials carefully with these 10 no-no’s in mind.  It will take more time and effort, but it’ll be worth it.  You’ll see.

5 Responses

  1. fmiami2011 October 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Fanny TrocheZ
    Objective To obtain a service related an entry-level position where I can use my professional customer relation and communication skills and to contribute to the community and to do my best in my position. Also to the success of the organization that I am applying.
    Skills Data Entry, Excel, Window 2000, Typing more than 60 wpm, Filling Offices Papers, Telephone Skills, Bilingual in English and Spanish. Able to learn quickly and willing to learn new skills.
    Education Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center
    Miami, FL. USA
    April, 1998-March, 1999
    Data Entry training Course-Certificate earned.
    Miami Jackson Senior High School
    Miami, FL. USA
    September, 1995-June, 1997
    High School Diploma received.
    Brownsville Middle School
    Miami, FL. USA
    September, 1993-June, 1995
    Recognition received.

    Work experience Miami Marlins Park/ Levy Restaurants
    Cashier/Customer Services
    December, 2011-August, 2012
    Miami, Fl. USA
    Cash register handling. Assist customers with their final purchase items at the stadium park. Responsible for collecting funds, balancing daily cash drawer, data entry, and inventory control, keeping the places organize, counters tops and floors.
    Coral Way Bilingual K-8 Center
    Security Guard/Customer Services
    February, 2011-October, 2011
    Miami, Fl. USA
    Patrol and circulate among students premises to prevent, ensure security of doors, windows, and gates. Answer alarms and investigate disturbances. Monitor and authorize entrance and departure of employees, visitors, and students to guard against theft and maintain security of premises. Write reports of daily activities and irregularities, such as equipment or property damage, theft, presence of unauthorized persons, or unusual occurrences at school. Call police or fire departments in cases of emergency, such as fire or presence of unauthorized persons. At the end of day making sure of closing doors, windows, and gates of the school.
    Variety Miami Children’s Hospital Patient Access/Registrar
    June, 2006-June, 2009 Miami, FL. USA
    Greet patients and families in person or on the telephone and obtained demographic information displaying excellent customer skills, third party payer and other financial information, medical information and identification to schedule, scan all documents in the appropriate folder in the ILE system. Admit or register patient for hospital services. Collect point of service funds when required. Verify insurance, obtain authorization. Performed all other duties assigned to promote efficient and effective operations.

    Variety Miami Children’s Hospital Customer Services Agent/Cashier
    May, 2004-June, 2006 Miami, FL. USA
    Cash register handling. Assist customers, patients and employers with their final purchase items at the cafeteria. And responsible for collecting funds, balancing daily cash drawer, data entry, and inventory control and others duties such as answering phone calls, keeping the tables, counters tops and floors, assist cafeteria co-workers in keeping cafeteria restocked. Keep orderly workplace.
    Brandsmart USA
    Customer Service Agent
    March, 2004-May, 2004
    Ft-Lauderdale, Fl. USA
    Open the door and welcoming the clients and assist in collecting the shopping carts and put them in place.
    Marriott International Services Hotel
    September, 2003-February, 2004
    Miami, Fl. USA
    Responsible in cleaning rooms at the hotel and made sure everything was on schedule.
    Best Western Inn of Chicago Hotel Lobby Maid/Housekeeping
    January, 2003-August, 2003 Chicago, Il. USA
    Responsible in cleaning the entire lobby and rooms in the hotel, respond to guest requests from radio calls and deliver promptly items requested and making others duties of housekeeping. Responsible in cleaning rooms at the hotel on time.
    Fico Key West Seafood Restaurant Customers Services Agent/Cashier
    March, 2001-April, 2002 Miami, Fl. USA
    Promote sales and positive company image, by assuring customer sales satisfaction. Responsible for answering phone calls and exchange money. Handling mail and courier items, prepared invoices and inventory control.
    Miami Airport Duty Free Joint Ventures Shops Customer Services Agent/Cashier
    December, 1999-October, 2000 Miami, Fl. USA
    Assisted customers at cash register. Responsible for refunds-exchange, opening/closing procedures of register, money transactions, stock products, prepared invoices and inventory control, and answered phone calls.
    Union Planters Bank Supervisor/Proffer
    April, 1999-November, 1999 North Bay Villager, Fl. USA
    Responsible for supervising 15-18 employees’ daily transactions. Performed quality audit of checking accounts to ensure accuracy. Inserted checks into a safe deposit box, and doing my job always.
    Globe Airport Security Services Inc. Screener/Customer Relation
    June, 1998-March, 1999 Miami, Fl. USA
    Responsible for the safety of the passengers, checking boarding passes. Ensured no weapons were allowed. In addition check baggage’s with a sensor gum to detect any weapons, and I always had to be sure of what I saw.
    Swissport USA Inc. Clerical/Cleaner
    July, 1996-April, 1998 Miami, Fl. USA
    Answered phone calls, filed papers, and providing general offices assistance, also responsible for cleaning of aircraft- cabins and assisting supervisors in training of new employees.
    References Mrs. Haydee Pelegrin Manager Miami Children’s Hospital Patient Access Department 3100 SW 62nd Ave Miami, Fl. 33155 USA (305) 666-6511 or (305)663-8413 Ext: 8410
    Mr. Roberto J.Aguero RN Manager Miami Children’s Hospital 3100 SW 62nd Ave Miami, Fl. 33155 USA (305) 669-5831
    Mrs. Freyda Labrada Supervisor Miami Children’s Hospital Food & Nutrition Department 3100 SW 62nd Ave Miami, Fl. 33155 USA (305) 666-6511 Ext: 2951
    Mrs. Nikki Papadopoulos Director of Human Resources Best Western Inn of Chicago Hotel 162 East Ohio Street at North Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL. 60611 USA (312) 572-3155 (312) 915-4108
    Mrs. Stefanie Barnes Executive Housekeeping Manager Best Western Inn of Chicago Hotel 162 East Ohio Streets at North Michigan Ave. USA (312) 787-3100 (312) 573-3140
    Rev. Jorge A Hoyos Minister Iglesia de Dios Ríos de Agua Viva in Miami, Inc. 1500 NW 29th ST Miami, FL. 33142 USA (305) 635-7979
    Mr. Rene Valiente Doctor Miami Children’s Hospital 3100 SW 62nd Ave. Miami, Fl. 33155 USA (305) 740-9083 (786) 382-7054
    Mr. Joseph C. Riedel Personal Banker SunTrust Bank Lake Square Branch 10415 U.S. Highway 441 Leesburg, FL. 34788 (352)326-3151
    Pastors Roy & Myriam Curet Ministers Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal El Rey Viene 218 S. 14th Street Leesburg, Fl. 34748 USA (352)205-1620 or (352)360-5964

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge October 9, 2013 at 9:15 am #


      We would welcome your application for either a store position or a support role.
      To apply for a store position, go to a Job Application Center kiosk in any Publix store. Managers at surrounding stores will also see your application. When you have done that, speak with a manager briefly to let them know why you would make a great Publix associate. You can speak with managers at other stores as well.
      If you would like to be considered for a support role at Publix, check out the openings on If you don’t see anything of interest, you can create an account there and sign up for a Job Search Agent to receive email alerts when openings occur in the location or professional area of your interest.
      Thank you for reaching out!


  2. renee59 October 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    no comments yet i live n charlotte nc i know of your company from freinds that your work force is outstanding i am look for a outstanding place to work i also heard that your company will be comming to charlotte i would love to give your company a try

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge October 9, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Yes, we will be coming to Charlotte and to other areas of North Carolina. The first store is slated to open in Ballantyne by March. Two other Charlotte locations will open by the end of next year. You can go to this web page in 2014 to see updates:

  3. renee59 October 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    sorry i ment to say looking for a outstanding place to work

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