The 12 worst pieces of career advice you’ll read

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There's an assumption that most generic career advice books are mostly full of obvious fluff that panders to and possibly takes advantage of the unemployed. One book confirms this.

Last week, one showed up at the office in the mail. “Knock ‘Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2015.” Over five million copies have been sold, with the Financial Times calling it the “best book on job hunting.” The advice is, quite frankly, amazing. Its granularity is almost insulting.

Here are the types of things you’ll learn on your way to becoming a job hunting robot with little independent thought of your own.

Customized email addresses

“I recommend you set up a separate e-mail account devoted exclusively to job search and career management affairs. You’ll need an e-mail address that reflects the professional you.” Examples include: top10accountant@, greataccountant@, smartfinanceguy@ and moneycounts@. Good luck with those.

Quadrupling submissions

The book suggests you attack a job posting with a four-pronged, blitzkrieg-style approach: apply online, email your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager, physically mail your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager with a note saying you “wanted to increase [your] chances of getting [their] attention,” and then make a follow-up phone call to the manager first thing in the morning.

(Then wait for the restraining order to kick in.)

Never shake horizontally with two hands

“Match the pressure extended by the interviewer – never exceed it. A typical professional handshake lasts for between two and five seconds, just two of three reasonably firm up-and-down pumps accompanied by a smile…Use only one hand and shake vertically.” Got that - no horizontal double-fist shake?

Hand deodorant

The book recommends you put deodorant on your hands before an interview to mitigate against any potential perspiration.

No Daffy Duck ties

“Do not wear ties with large polka dots, pictures of animals such as leaping trout or soaring mallards.”

Bob and weave

“Nodding your head slowly shows interest, validates your interviewer’s comments, and subtly encourages her to continue. Tilting the head slightly, when combined with eye contact and a natural smile, demonstrates friendliness and approachability.”


“One guiding principle of good body language is to turn your mouth upward rather than downward.” What is that called again?

Pockets terrify people

“Hands-in-pockets, hands-on-hips, or thumbs-in-belt postures are all to be avoided. These send messages that you are aggressive and dominating.”

Laugh, strategically

“Perhaps the interviewer leans back and laughs; you ‘laugh beneath’ the interviewer’s laughter, taking care not to overwhelm you partner by using an appropriate volume level.”

Don’t let the food fall out

“Never speak with your mouth full.”

Don’t get drunk

“If there is a bottle of wine on the table, and the waiter offers you another glass, place your hand over the top of the glass. It is a polite way of signifying no.”

Don’t mail them porn

“Don’t send anything of a sexual, political, or religious nature, as it constitutes a breach of professional values.”

There you have it. Concentrate on these 12 tips, along with around 1,200 others, and you’re sure to ace your job search.

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