Humor in the Job Search: Why Using Comedy Can Hurt in a Job Search

While there are a lot of benefits for using humor in the job search, there are some negatives as well.  Knowing how using comedy can hurt you, though, will help you avoid the potential pitfalls.

Comedy Can Cause You to Not Be Taken Seriously

Don’t use humor too much because comedy is typically seen as a form of entertainment.  This means that while you may get hiring managers to laugh, they will see you more as a funny man than a viable candidate for the job.  Think of the Weekend Update on SNL.  While it is ridiculously hilarious, it isn’t a legitimate source of news.

Humor May Cause You to Not Be Remembered

I know I said comedy helps people remember in my last post so let me explain.  If you use “strong” comedy (the really, really funny stuff) as opposed to “mild” humor, then you can negate the effect comedy can have on improving memory.  In the study that found the correlation between strong and mild humor and memory, it was also found that strong humor could also work for improving memory if it was relevant.

You May Leave Out Important Information

Don’t replace important information with a joke.  A couple of years ago I applied for a job at AmeriCorps.  During the interview I showed I had an excellent sense of humor on a number of occasions, but when I was asked what my greatest weakness was I responded with “probably not being able to answer this question.”  I got everyone to laugh but I did not get the job.


If you want to use comedy in your job search to show you have a sense of humor, just remember to keep it relevant.  Also, don’t use comedy too much and make sure not to leave out important information.


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