No one is perfect all the time, and mistakes aren’t always deal-breakers in your job or internship quest. I’ve read countless resumes, cover letters, and one mock newspaper clipping in my career. Although each applicant is a special snowflake, I can’t help but notice some common problems that prevent otherwise qualified candidates from reaching my “heck yea potential interns” folder.

So buckle up, newbie job seeker, because I’m about to drop some career knowledge all up in this blog post.

1. Save the exclamation points, save the world

Here at Berman, we are each allocated three exclamation points to use each year, not because they are a precious commodity, but because they too often turn people off instead of on.

I’m reminded of a quote from comedian Louie C.K.:

We use words like “awesome” and “wonderful” like they’re candy. It was awesome? Really? It inspired awe? It was wonderful? Are you serious? It was full of wonder? You use the word “amazing” to describe a (bleep) sandwich at Wendy’s. What’s going to happen on your wedding day, or when your first child is born? How will you describe it? You already wasted “amazing” on a (bleep bleep) sandwich.

There are unhappy people all of the world, probably because you’re using up the world’s limited amount of punctuated excitement in your cover letter. Stop depriving the world of its happiness.

2. I like small words and I cannot lie

Little words can make a big impact. Don’t use a ten-dollar word where a five-dollar word will suffice, especially if you’re going to use that ten-dollar word incorrectly. I prefer to read that you excel at communicating your ideas, rather than you excel at being loquacious. You don’t get extra points for making the HR manager break out the dictionary.

3. The devil is in the details

I love that being detail-oriented is a skill that you not only possess, but are very passionate about. I’m less in love with the fact that you forgot to switch out the name of the last place you applied to for our name in your cover letter. I hear nice things about our competitor, and we certainly know that you’re applying to different places. However, this little error leads me down the rabbit hole of wondering what other details you will miss. It also gets the song “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette stuck in my head. Please don’t get sub-par 90’s music stuck in my head.

4. Read this paragraph or I will drown my cat

Now that I have your attention, perhaps it is time that you grab mine. An engaging subject line could make all the difference between the hiring manager reading your email, or sending your application to the dreaded B-list folder.

If it’s a social media position you seek, why not try creating a Twitter profile that functions as your resume? If you’re wondering if you should do this, just know I’ll think two things if you do. One, you’re clearly a suck-up because you’re doing my idea, and two, you’re clearly a genius because you’re doing my idea. Thank you for reading my blog post, you genius, feel free to also tell me how funny I am.

5. Reduce, reuse, and research

My final tip should be the most obvious of them all, yet it is something I find lacking again and again. Really research the place where you want to gain employment. This doesn’t mean you should pick one thing on their site and tell them how great or cool you thought it was. Dive into the work, the environment, anything you can get your little digital hands onto. Tell us specifically why you want to work here over all other places.

That’s really all there is to it. Now fire up those computers and start applying because we are growing and hiring for many different positions. And if you’re looking for your summer internship, Berman is the place to be. I will even let you sit on the office Yogibo on rare occasions, like if it’s your birthday, you look tired, all the good chairs are taken, or if it’s a Tuesday.

Next up: What is good work?