A reader writes:
As a general rule, how much grace do hiring managers have with typos in applications/resumes/cover letters/etc? I realize an important factor many employers are looking for is “attention to detail.” However, as applications get longer and longer, it seems almost inevitable that a couple typos will happen, especially if you’re filling out several applications in a row.
I’m applying for administrative positions in Higher Ed, and each application usually takes me about 1-2 hours. I always read through my applications before I click submit, but today I was re-reading through one of my cover letters, and I noticed I wrote “my experience will help me to better to better assess” (accidentally wrote “to better” twice!). Noticing this mistake makes me wonder how many other times I’ve missed some detail like this in the numerous applications I’ve filled out. Is this something that hiring managers are going to take seriously, or even notice? If so, is there anyway to redeem myself from a typo mistake?
People make typos. It’s not the end of the world, if you’re an otherwise strong candidate. I mean, it’s not an awesome thing, but unless you’re applying for a writing or editing position or another where you need flawless and polished writing, a single typo isn’t the end of the world. Multiple typos, yes, and typos in words where you really should have been especially careful (like the spelling of the company name), sure. But a single typo isn’t likely to torpedo your candidacy for most jobs.
That said, you’ll definitely find hiring managers who are super rigid about typos, on the assumption that you put a huge amount of time and care into your resume and cover letter, and if you’re sloppy here, you’re likely to be sloppy elsewhere. They’re the minority though; most people understand that you are human, and that even perfect writers make occasional typos, and most don’t find it a deal-breaker.