Boomer Advice: 20 Ways To Fail at Job Hunting

Ah, the timeless tradition of receiving advice from our elders – nuggets of wisdom handed down through generations In the realm of job hunting, however, it seems that not all advice is created equal!

One Redditor asked, “What’s the worst job-hunting advice you’ve received from an elder?”

This received thousands of comments, and we have listed the top 20 pieces of advice for you!

1. Calling

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A Redditor said, “Call every single day.”

Another added, “I was recommended to follow up with the company every two weeks about the application by phone.”

Newsflash – persistence is good, but this? This is pure annoyance!

2. Online Application

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Apparently, the elders think that the internet is just a passing fad and that hiring managers still send carrier pigeons to collect resumes.

Someone wrote, “Don’t apply online.”

Another replied, “Exactly. There is some truth to the online applications; almost everything is online these days, so it’s hard to avoid.”

3. Showing Up

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The elders suggest you waltz into the office every day, uninvited, and you will just land a job.

A person commented, “”Just show up and ask to speak to a hiring manager every day until you get one.””

Another responded, “My grandmother, bless her heart, told me to just “Put on a nice suit and walk right into Google and ask them for a job.””

4. AI Filters

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A Redditor said, “Saw on Reddit not long ago to Copy the job posting in 1pt white font onto your resume to get through their filters.”

Another replied, “This is purely from memory, but apparently HR uses AI filters, which are fairly easy to fool. So if you paste the job description on your resume somewhere in small font that is the same color as the background, the AI filters will detect the text and allow it through, but people won’t actually see it.”

Spoiler alert: they’re more likely to see through your attempt at stealthy manipulation and file your resume in the rejected folder.

5. A Firm Handshake

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Someone wrote, “Don’t forget the “firm handshake” stuff.”

Another added, “I’m autistic, and did the firm handshake thing once… The lady was old, and it never occurred to me to be gentle… didn’t get that job. Felt awful after I realized what I did.”

Elders, we appreciate the enthusiasm for a good handshake, but we’re not auditioning for a wrestling match. Tone it down a notch, please.

6. Being Attractive

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A person commented, “Wear red lipstick when you go to pick up applications. I was 15 at the time; my mom told me this.”

Another responded, “Sad and shallow reality, but the underlying point of ‘appear attractive’ is probably some of the worst advice possible.”

Spoiler alert: good looks won’t balance your spreadsheets or write that killer code.

7. A Diploma

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A Redditor said, “Get a master’s degree, then you can find a job.”

Another replied, “No, no, get the PhD, just don’t expect any compensation for it. In fact, expect reduced compensation.”

So, by all means, get that diploma, but remember, it’s not the only item on the menu.

8. Mailrooms

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Someone wrote, “Just start in the mail room and work your way up.”

Another added, “Hahahaha. I’m VVVVVVLC with my dad, but when he once came to visit the new HQ of the company I founded, he almost immediately asked where the “mail room” was. I explained we have no need for that since we get virtually no mail, and what does come in is dealt with by reception. He was totally lost, as if I had claimed the building had no need for a roof.”

Climbing the ladder? It’s more like running on a hamster wheel.

9. Salary Expectation

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Elders seem to think that playing hard to get with your salary is the ultimate power move.

A person commented, “to not give out a number when asking what you’re expecting out of a salary and say you’d defer discussion of this til later or literally try to haggle if they offered a salary expectation. No better way to say, “I’m fishing for as much money as I can get” to a potential employer.”

Another responded, “My wife got this advice once and used it, and of course, it didn’t go well. She told me after that a family member who’s a career coach said to do this, and I was shocked; of course, it made the interview awkward.”

10. Your Weaknesses

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A Redditor said, “The “I don’t have weaknesses” when asked what your weaknesses are.”

Another replied, “I use the turning weakness into strength pretty effectively. I often will admit that I’m quite slow at most new tasks in the beginning because I’m taking my time to learn and create quality products.”

Embrace the weaknesses, people – it’s called being self-aware, not shooting yourself in the foot.

11. Asking if You Got the Job

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Elders seem to believe that closing the deal right then and there is the ultimate power move.

Someone wrote, “To add to the list: “Always ask for the job at the end of the interview.””

Another added, “I don’t know if this is appropriate in some places, but in my experience, there’s a process to be followed, and it would seem rude and out of touch to ask for an immediate answer.”

12. Family

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A person commented, ““Your workplace is like your family””

Another responded, “Dysfunctional and chaotic, with zero communication skills??! …yeah, that checks out, actually lol.”

Elders love to dish out this nugget as if your cubicle mates are the long-lost cousins at a family reunion. Spoiler alert: they’re not.

13. Filling Out Applications

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A Redditor said, “Go in, get an application, and fill it out right there.”

Another replied, “My mom made me do this in high school, with her peering over my shoulder and barking corrections at me the entire time. The manager and other staff would get so irritated by us standing outside their office, and I only got one of those jobs because my mom had already been best friends with the manager there.”

Elders swear by the power of showing up unannounced and demanding a job application on the spot.

14. Driving Around

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Someone wrote, “”Just drive around and ask for job applications.” In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, that would have been decent advice. Now, not even. Every place is online now.”

Another added, “I tried explaining that to my MIL. She decided to go out and prove she could get job applications. When she came back empty-handed, I asked her how it went, and she ignored me and went straight to her room.”

Embrace the online job hunt; it’s less creepy.

15. A Thank You Note

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A person commented, “Write a thank you note after the interview.”

Another responded, “I always did that, but I never landed a job, lol.”

Elders insist that pouring your gratitude into a handwritten note is the epitome of professionalism. Spoiler alert: it’s not a bad idea, but in the age of emails and digital communication, it’s not exactly groundbreaking.

16. Sports

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Image Credit: Mr.Somchai Sukkasem/Shutterstock.

Someone wrote, “Make sure you bring up that you can ski and golf.”

Another replied, “Yeah, and all I heard was: You’ll never get hired without those skills. I’m so glad I spent thousands of dollars to be able to do sports I don’t really enjoy mediocrely.”

Keep the ski talk for the après-ski party, not the interview.

17. Doing What You Love

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A Redditor said, “The classic “find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” nonsensical fantasy.”

Another added, “Find out what you love to do in life, then find a way to make money doing it. That’s what I did. Worked for me. And that’s my advice. Signed, The Elder.”

Work is work, even if it involves chocolate fudge ripple.

18. Applying More Than Once

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Elders swear by the power of persistence – keep hitting that apply button until you wear down the hiring manager’s resistance.

A person commented, “It happens often enough that you start looking at the number of requisites applied to by a particular applicant, and you start to develop an automatic bias against candidates who apply to more than 2 or 3 postings. Don’t do this.”

Another responded, “I worked as a recruiter in big tech for a year and change, and when I saw somebody who did this, it annoyed me so much (so many spent cycles just reviewing a totally mismatched resume). It’s very clear internally when this is happening, and I think it truly decreases your chances of getting an interview.”

19. Hospital Cafeteria

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Someone wrote, “In a boomer book for new doctors, it basically said to enter the hospital through the ED to meet the doctors there and to hang out in the hospital cafeteria.”

Another added, “One, I’m salaried, why would I want to “drum up business” and two, that is absolutely a waste of time. I could be networking in places that would actually benefit me compared to hanging out in a cafeteria, bothering doctors who are just trying to eat and gtfo.”

Keep it professional, not cafeteria!

20. Lying

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A Redditor said, “My mum’s advice was to lie, lie about everything. You can do it all and better than anyone else.”

Another responded, “My dad was like that. Never listened to that advice, always told the truth; I’ve gotten every job I’ve interviewed for.”

Employers fact-check more times than you may think, and it doesn’t bode well for those who bend the truth.

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