how much do typos matter when applying for a job?

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?

Eh.

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.

{ 309 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. AdAgencyChick

    I hire writers. So if your resume has a typo, you’ve dug yourself a pretty big hole with me.

    Cover letters are not terribly common in my line of work, but I’d be a bit more forgiving of a typo on a cover letter, simply because they need to be generated faster than resumes and slips happen. The resume, though, is presumably a document you’re sending out often, and one that you have time to refine, so I’m much more rigid when it comes to resumes.

    Reply
    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

      I was coming here to say the same thing. I’m a lot more critical of writer application materials than designers materials.

      A typo on a cover letter won’t get you automatically rejected, but I’ll spend more time reviewing your submissions and will probably probe a lot about how many other people worked on your samples.

      Reply
    2. AG

      Agreed. No typos on the resume, but if you make a small, non-egregious one in a cover letter…well, I understand you are generating them much more quickly and likely aren’t able to have a trusted friend review each one before submitting.

      That said, I will not count common, incorrect usage of words as typos. E.g., “to better to better” – I understand what happened. “I passed all accept my final CPA exam” – I worry that you don’t know the difference between accept and except.

      Reply
        1. Sunshine

          This. Some folks seem to think that any error can be attributed to “oops, typo!” Nope. A typo is a slip of the fingers. Using the wrong word is not a slip – it’s an error, and harder to overlook.

          Reply
          1. Vicki

            One of my frequent typos is too instead of to. Literally a typo. My finger bounces on the o.

            But it looks like an error. Sigh.

            Reply
      1. Brooke

        I agree – incorrect word choices are worse than a more understandable typo. I’d be somewhat understanding of a typo in a cover letter, but absolutely, positively not on a resume… and not just for a writing position.

        Reply
    3. Leeza

      I work as a production editor for a book publisher. The man who hires the production editors said that any cover letter or cv with a typo goes right into the garbage.

      Reply
    4. JessaB

      My thought exactly. A resume is a document you have on hand. You may have a master document and a few that are targeted toward certain jobs, but you should always have an updated one and it’s very easy to print it and ask someone else to check it for you just in case.

      A cover letter, especially if it’s in an email, not as much, because they’re generated on the fly usually and you often don’t have time to have it read over. It still shouldn’t be egregious, I mean one typo and not in something important like someone’s name, I’d probably let go.

      The flip side of this is that almost every email site/app/program nowadays has a spell checker. I mean I use an email program that hasn’t been supported in probably ten years, and it has a spell check.

      For more than 45 years I had trouble with the it’s/its usage. I finally got someone who explained it to the point that I could mentally file maintain the difference even with my processing disorder. Before that, I literally looked it up every time I had to use it. Which is to say I have more problems with people who mess up they’re/there etc. than a typo or two.

      All that goes out the window however if it’s a high level writing job. You’re not perfect and are expected to sometimes miss things, but your self-marketing materials should be pristine even if you do have to wait til the next day to send them in order to have a second set of eyes on them.

      Reply
      1. Lindsay J

        I had the same problem with it’s/its. I couldn’t remember it until earlier this year when someone got me to associate its with his (or hers) because they’re all possessives constructed the same way – without apostrophes.

        But yeah, I would judge a typo on a resume more harshly than a typo on a cover letter. And I’d judge a type on a cover letter more harshly than a typo on an online application. Basically, the longer in advance the item was (or should have been) prepared, the lower my tolerance is.

        Reply
        1. PlainJane

          I mentally expand the contraction–“it’s” becomes, “it is.” If it makes sense that way, then I’ve chosen the correct form. Same for “that’s,” “what’s,” etc.

          Reply
    5. That Marketing Chick

      I agree. I am a hiring manager in marketing. If you have a typo on your application or resume, you go into the round file. Part of your job is editing and preventing these errors; so if you miss them on something as important as your resume… you don’t get a second chance (and yes, I understand that it’s much harder to edit your own work… and yes, I’ve made ridiculous typos myself).

      Reply
  2. Finman

    This type of typo is better caught by a third party. It’s always a good idea to have 1-2 people read through your resume/cover letter to catch these. Our brains are wired to sometimes read things the way they are meant to be written in your head and will skip over this type of typo.

    Reply
    1. hayling

      Resume, yes, but if you’re tailoring your cover letter to every job (which you should be!) it’s not practical to have someone review all your cover letters.

      Reply
      1. Green

        Yes. It’s easy to have someone review your base cover letters (when I’ve been actively job hunting, I often have 3-5 depending on what industries and positions I’m applying to to emphasize some of my experience and skills over others), but even then I tweak each one. I have the sense that in my field applications are a bit of a numbers game, so I try to apply to a lot of positions while doing a bit of customization for each job. When I’m in full-on job hunt mode, I can’t spend more than 10 minutes on customizing my resume or cover letter.

        Reply
    2. Kiki

      I was taught to read the text backwards to check for typos. I seem to catch grammatical errors and duplication errors that way as well.

      Reply
        1. Cass

          I write radio features and I second reading it out loud. I’m still surprised sometimes how I can make similar duplication and even tense errors.

          Reply
      1. Crazy Dog Lady

        Temporarily changing the font of the document is a good way to proofread/check for typos as well. I am a huge fan of reading out loud too.

        Reply
      2. BRR

        In addition to the others I love somehow altering the text. So change the font color, background color, size, width, or print it out and use one of the translucent, color binder ratepayers.

        Reply
      3. Green

        Yes! I read full sentences from the end moving back up. Your brain tends to fill in what you meant rather than what you wrote, so you can catch errors more easily this way. But it also helps me cut sentences or words that don’t really do much heavy lifting and catch logical gaps when I’m writing lawyerly stuff.

        Reply
    3. TootsNYC

      One problem is when you fill in an electronic form. It’s hard to get someone to read behind you then.

      Reply
        1. Nancie

          Please, don’t paste from Word, unless your browser or the form has an option to paste as plain text. Word includes a lot of extraneous junk that can mess with a web service.

          Reply
          1. Kiki

            This web dev says write the web service to handle that! ;) People do all sorts of nutty things, and if you have to write a user guide for your web site, you need to do better. I love my users…they always come up with something new to challenge me.

            Reply
            1. Nancie

              I wish that was always an option! Unfortunately for the particular web application I’m thinking of, time constraints prevented us from developing our own text-to-PDF converter, and budget constraints prevented us from buying one that was more than ‘adequate’.

              Fortunately, it is an application that’s only used internally. So we’re allowed to remind the users that they really need to follow the training guides we’ve given them…

              Reply
          2. TootsNYC

            Can you “save as text only” and then paste it in? That’s what I do when I’m worried about all the extraneous stuff.

            Or I edit in a post-it-notes application or some other simple text editor.

            Reply
            1. Nancie

              The post-it-notes app might work! Our user instructions say to copy/paste into notepad and save, then copy from notepad into the app, but that’s just because we know every PC will have notepad installed.

              Reply
          3. Anxa

            You really can’t just type information into the fields. You have to use some sort of text application if you don’t want to lose your information every 10 minutes when the application times out or crashes.

            Reply
        2. RVA Cat

          Use Word to edit and proof, then copy & paste into plain text (notepad, etc.) that you will actually put into the web form.

          Reply
    4. Liane

      This. I am a copy editor & proofreader, and I cannot catch my own errors most of the time for just this reason. So I always have someone else look over my resumes and cover letters.

      Ironically, I am pretty much on my own when actually writing for Game Site, because my boss isn’t good at proofreading.

      Reply
    5. Stranger than fiction

      I thought the Op was talking about online application systems, where you not only supply your resume and cover letter, but step through multiple sections that ask you for detailed work history, etc. similar to a paper application buy more in depth. And the type-o was being attributed to application fatigue. It’d be hard to have someone present every time you’re completing an app on that type of online system.

      Reply
      1. misplacedmidwesterner

        I thought that as well. We use a system like that. I don’t worry about one or two small typos. However I have had candidates who decided that filling in our online application means abandoning all formatting (even capital letters and punctuation). Those got tossed.

        Reply
    6. Ad Astra

      True, and that’s why I would be especially forgiving of errors like this. They’re the hardest sorts of errors to catch, so plenty of conscientious applicants who take the time to look over their work may still miss it. I’m far less forgiving when it comes to usage errors, because those are more likely to indicate that an applicant simply doesn’t know the difference between, say, affect and effect.

      A tip, though: When proofreading, try reading everything backwards (as in, start at the last word and move toward the first). That removes a lot of the syntax and other patterns that cause our brain to say “Oh, I know what this is supposed to say.”

      Reply
  3. jhhj

    I would care a medium deal about a typo in a resume/cv or cover letter, but be more or less indifferent to one in a form you filled out.

    But the “accidentally duplicating” thing feels different than a typo — harder to catch, really, there are lots of puzzles about that kind of mistake — and I’d be much more understanding about that.

    Reply
    1. Cat

      That’s what I was thinking on both your first and second paragraph. The duplicated word thing really is something your eyes skate over.

      Reply
      1. Persephone Mulberry

        I didn’t even catch it until the LW pointed it out, and I consider myself pretty anal about typos.

        Reply
    2. Tara

      And luckily for OP, its also quite possible that people reading those cover letters won’t even be able to pick up on word duplication, either. So even if you sent a cover letter to someone who cares, there’s still a chance that it would go completely unnoticed.

      Reply
  4. Florida

    A friend of mine worked at a nonprofit that was hiring a development director. The executive director said that they absolutely would not hire anyone with a typo regardless of how qualified the person was. My friend, the organization’s grant writer, pulled out the resume that the executive director had submitted to get her job. The ED had only been there a few months. The ED’s resume had a heading for AQUIRED SKILLS. When the grant writer pointed out that it should be acquired has a C in it, the ED changed her tune.

    Yes, it’s important to not have any typos. But unless you are perfect, I think it’s important to remember that applicants are human. I’m not suggesting that sloppy is OK. I’m suggesting that the hiring manager look at the larger picture.

    Reply
    1. hbc

      It’s even more delicious given that spell check would catch the mistake. Repeated words, homonyms, and certain kinds of misplaced punctuation are forgivable, but if you ignored the red squiggly line, I have to wonder.

      Reply
        1. 42

          Same field here. But with me, it’s “add to dictionary”; “add to dictionary”; “add to dictionary”; “add to dictionary”.

          :-\

          Reply
          1. TootsNYC

            This is such a powerful tool! I’ve recently done it at work, and it has revolutionized spellcheck.

            I first did it because it simply removes all the unnecessary stops for proper nouns, people’s names, and URLs, etc. Which means that people can pay more attention to the times the spellcheck does stop.

            But it saves shitloads of time, too! And, we catch misspellings of people’s names, errors in frequently used URLs. I’m pretty careful what I add to the dictionary, so I don’t have any worries that I’ve created the risk of the computer’s thinking that something is right when it’s wrong (Mayer never goes in, for example).

            Reply
            1. hermit crab

              My very well-trained custom dictionary in Word is worth its weight in gold (not that it has a weight, but whatever). I can barely do my job if I’m using someone else’s computer. I’ve actually exported my dictionary and shared it with other people.

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              1. JessaB

                This. I used to do the same thing, share my dictionary around, and if I really have to desk hop, I’ll put it on a thumb drive, or somewhere shared so I can get to it. I’d go berk if I had to go through dozens of foreign or technical words all the time.

                Reply
          2. Anxa

            This is why I hate not being able to have dedicated/shared computers at work. Every day it’s a new laptop or Word won’t save changes to the dictionary.

            And I work in biology. It’s just….ugh.

            Reply
      1. Meg Murry

        If the heading was in all-caps, it may not have been caught with the red squiggly. I had an all-caps typo on my resume that was luckily caught by a friend before I sent it out, but spell check didn’t catch it.

        Reply
        1. JessaB

          There is often a setting about that. Whether or not to ignore all caps or words with numbers included. I’m regrettably an ancient (since WP for DOS) Word Perfect user, so Word is not completely my forte (can use it but am not a power user,) but I’m pretty sure that even in Word you can tick a box (or in your case un-tick) to check words in all caps. Wouldn’t know where to find the settings though.

          Reply
    2. ScarletInTheLibrary

      Man, I wish I could catch a certain person that is on a lot of hiring committees at my institution with a horrible typo. She likes to whine about the poor grammar skills of applicants. I always feel for the applicants because my brain struggles with proper grammar. It seems like I have gotten a lot of conflicting advice regarding style, so I often have the attitude (for other’s writing) that people communicate in different ways.

      Reply
  5. cjb1

    I committed the cardinal sin of spelling the company name wrong. Multiple times…
    Somehow they still hired me. Thankfully it’s a commonly misspelled name so I think that helped.

    Yours isn’t too bad at all. To be honest, I didn’t even notice it on the first read. Like Alison said, unless you’re in a field where these things are highly scrutinized, not a big deal.

    Reply
    1. Lily in NYC

      Ha! I used to work at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – you would not believe how many resumes (or just regular mail) came in with the word “Exploded” instead of Exploited.

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      1. Cath in Canada

        In one job, I had the title “Product Manager – Cell Separation”. I got more than one piece of mail addressed to “Product Manager – Self Separation”, which sounds painful.

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        1. ashleyh

          I received a lot of faxed documents at my last job. I told a person to send the fax to “attention: Ashley” and it showed up “Tension: Ashley”. Still cracks me up.

          Reply
        2. Kiki

          Love these! Thanks for the laugh. Can I offer in return the Ed. PhD who insisted on using “colander” instead of “calendar”? (Yeah yeah, I know, I am just the developer, and I never actually took grammar or spelling in school. Because I tested at the 12+ every year so they let me go read instead. I may not have a clue what a verb is, but I can write, edit, and speak gooder than you. ;)

          Reply
          1. SusanIvanova

            customer/costumer shows up a lot on notalwaysright and its siblings. Even more fun when the person actually *is* a costumer and is irregular about which spelling is used where.

            Reply
            1. Kiki

              “And just one more thing. On your trip back, I’d like you to take the time to learn the Babylon 5 mantra: “Ivanova…is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova’s recommendations. Ivanova…is God.”

              Reply
        3. SophieChotek

          Reminds me of friend who spelled her name over the phone for something to mail. Their name was like “Wolfstein” so she was spelling it over the telephone for “F as in Frank, S as in Sam” and seriously her mail came as:
          Ms. Jane Wolfasinfranksasinsamein
          123 Main Street

          Reply
          1. Snazzy Hat

            I once NATO-spelled my name over the phone to someone who latched onto the word “Hotel” for H. To confirm my name, he spelled out “H-O-T-E-L” before I stopped and corrected him. I didn’t want to find out if he believed my last name was Hoteloscar followed by a slew of letters that also happened to spell out words and proper names, including “November”.

            Reply
          2. lfi

            i once spelled my name Laura… and for the rest of the time that I was with that company received mail (including a hand written holiday card) to Baura.

            My husband still hasn’t let me live that down.

            Reply
          3. Pennalynn Lott

            So I once ordered airplane tickets over the phone (back in the days before the internet) and told the re;p that my name was “Pennalynn, with one L”. So the tickets arrived in the mail a few days later made out to “L. Lott”. Because, uh, that’s how you spell Pennalynn* with one L?

            *(Not my real name, but it still works for the story, luckily enough. :-) )

            Reply
      2. TootsNYC

        that’s probably an autocorrect error (even if it’s simply an autocorrect error in the human brain–fingers start to type one thing, and the little speed-typing subroutines kick in).

        Reply
        1. Lily in NYC

          I worked there before auto-correct existed! The internet was barely a thing yet and email was still new and exciting.

          Reply
          1. TootsNYC

            well, auto-correct can be human, not just electronic. You start to type one thing, and another comes out.

            Reply
              1. auntie_cipation

                lol!

                One of my favorites was a title that got autocorrected to “Bureau of Recreation and Terrorism” (meant to be Tourism).

                Reply
  6. TootsNYC

    I hire copyeditors and proofreaders. So, typos are a big deal to me.

    But…finger-stroke errors on a somewhat casual email? I might overlook those if your copy test is really good.

    In hiring an intern once, I rejected a candidate because the error on their resume struck me as not understanding some of the basic rules of grammar. I could have overlooked a typo, or maybe a more complex error, or one that’s frequently misused.
    (Like: “I’m bothered by you making a typo” is wrong–it should be “your making a typo”–but so few people understand that. I might overlook it in a rookie. I couldn’t overlook it when hiring an experienced person.)

    But if an otherwise good candidate had a repeated word in an online form, I might actually suspend negative judgment there in order to look at other factors. Online stuff is really hard!

    And if I were hiring someone to manage the workflow, but never copyeditor or proofread, I might overlook it more easily.

    So, I guess I’m w/ Alison: In some situations, that sort of error is death; in others, it’s more forgiveable.

    Reply
    1. Florida

      This is a great point. There is a HUGE difference between a slip of the finger typo and a true grammatical error.

      Reply
    2. Laika

      Isn’t a typo a-thing-to-be-made like, say, a pie? I would never say “I’m bothered by your making a pie”. If you’re hiring copy editors and proofreaders you may know something I don’t, but I am struggling with the syntax of that sentence.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        The rule is that the gerund takes a possessive. It’s not that the typo is special; it’s that your pie sentence should have had “your” as well.

        It’s a rule more honored in the breach than the observance, I’d say, but I think people at a certain writing level should know the rule exists, even if they wish to break it.

        Reply
          1. fposte

            Noting the genitive case can be a useful differentiation, especially when somebody’s not sure whether what they’re seeing is a gerund or not. But I think even fewer people know the genitive in English than know a gerund :-).

            Reply
            1. TootsNYC

              I know, that’s why I like to use it when explaining to editors why they need this construction. It helps with the whole “blinding them with science” effect.

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              1. fposte

                I was just thinking about the fact that learning the names of the grammar rules can be even more important than learning the grammar rules. You can only get so far with an accurate ear and “Because it’s right my way and wrong your way.”

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          2. Turanga Leela

            Is there a reason you use “genitive” rather than “possessive”? I’m just curious. In Latin, I’d say “genitive,” but “possessive” is more common in English and (I think) means the same thing.

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              1. TootsNYC

                I used to think there was a subtle distinction; that genitive is a specialized form of possessive (like, finger/thumb; or frog/toad). But on further reading, I don’t think they’re really different.

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        1. Laika

          Ah! The more you know. Thank you! :)

          (I’ll, uh, just take my English degree down off the wall over here…)

          Reply
          1. TootsNYC

            Here’s how to think of it.

            It’s not you I’m bothered by.

            It’s the making of the pie that is bothering me. Or the making of the typo.
            And this “making” is now a noun. It’s an action. I’m bothered by the action.
            And it’s not just any making of a pie, but the making of a pie that you are doing–your action.

            Reply
            1. Laika

              When I was typing up my first comment, I actually thought about how changing it to “making of” absolved all the problems I was having with the phrase, but hadn’t got to the next step of making = noun. Your explanation makes a lot of sense – thank you!

              Reply
              1. TootsNYC

                Some people find it easy to figure out if they substitute a pronoun:

                I’m bothered by his making a pie. vs. I’m bothered by Joe’s making a pie.

                But that doesn’t always work (they might think “by him making a pie”).

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                1. Myrin

                  Ooooh, as someone who isn’t a native English speaker, thank you! I’ve never seen it spelled out like that! :D

          2. fposte

            I have three English degrees and never learned grammar rules in any of them. It was journal editing that made me learn them.

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          3. Anonymous Educator

            I’ll, uh, just take my English degree down off the wall over here

            That’s the odd thing, though. Because I had an English degree, lots of people (without English degrees) assume that I would know grammar. I studied literature, mainly, not grammar. I had a basic grasp of proper usage, but I didn’t know all the rules and details… until I became an English teacher. The major taught me nothing about grammar—teaching grammar taught me almost everything (I know) about grammar!

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            1. Anxa

              Grammar can also be difficult to refresh or learn formally as an adult, even if (perhaps especially if) you have pretty good writing skills.

              Reply
          4. StudentPilot

            I have a degree in Russian, and learning Russian grammar was *hard*…because I didn’t know English grammar. Past participle? Conditional? What what now?

            Then I got a university certificate to teach ESL (a full year, not a 6-week course) and we learned English grammar….and oh.my. Wow. (And also, suddenly my Russian grammar made a bit more sense). And now I use it everyday teaching ESL. (The English grammar, rarely the Russian.)

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            1. Snazzy Hat

              I failed Polish in college because I had no clue what a case was or why it would ever be used or what contexts they required or what the hell the difference between nominative and vocative is i mean four times out of six it’s the same damn ending! {sobs uncontrollably}

              That summer, before I started German classes, I studied German grammar books and suddenly everything made sense. Also, I was pleased to learn that German only has four cases.

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      2. Lily in NYC

        That’s the correct way to say it (the pie sentence). Not that I’d ever be bothered by someone making pie!

        Reply
      3. TootsNYC

        Well, the sentence “I’m bothered by your making a pie” is grammatically correct, but you would never catch me saying it–it’s inaccurate as all get-out.

        Well, I might be bothered by your making a pie in the middle of the night while I’m trying to sleep–no, not even then.

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        1. hermit crab

          Yeah, especially after all the pi day posts on my fb feed yesterday, I am completely 100% in agreement with you.

          Reply
    3. AnotherAlison

      Re: Finger stroke errors.

      I’m starting to notice how much muscle memory has to do with my typos. I was writing a trip report last week, and I had to include the name of an attendee whose first three letters were, let’s say, M-A-E. My company name starts with “M-E-A” and every time I typed this person’s name, I got about 5 letters into our company name before I saw it, backed up and fixed it. I type my company name all the time. . .my fingers just go there.

      Reply
      1. alter_ego

        I’m incapable of typing words that end in “in” correctly on the first try. Every single time, I type “ing”, regardless of word, and have to go back and delete the g. Muscle memory is a huuuuge part of it for me.

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        1. 42

          Yeah. I don’t know how many times I type “withing”. Always ALWAYS just that one word for me. My fingers don’t stop.

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          1. anon for this

            I had a patient whose name was Emaily. I thought it WAS a muscle memory error by whoever entered her chart into the computer, but no, her name was actually Emaily, pronounced Emily. (Don’t even get me started on spellings that aren’t phonetically correct.)

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          1. Phlox

            A friend was podcats for Halloween – her common spelling mistake at work w podcasts. Min is trials (trails).

            Reply
    4. Sue Wilson

      If you want to prefer the gerund/preposition to the appositional phrase/preposition that’s fine, but that’s doesn’t mean it’s prescriptive, because those two sentences mean two different things. “I’m bothered by you making a typo”, is far closer to the indirect sentence, “I’m bothered that you made a typo”, than “I’m bothered by your making a typo”, which is closer to the prepositional phrase “I’m bothered by the typo you made.”

      The emphasis on what bothers you is different, so no, the first one is not wrong.

      Reply
      1. JessaB

        Thank you, I was trying to figure out how to say this, mostly because I don’t have a lot of the language of grammar. I’m a firm believer that native speakers tend to get their language right the majority of the time, just by speaking it all their lives. There comes a point where some rules no longer fit the actual language spoken by people. I’m not sure at what point the line gets drawn, but to me, if it makes sense, is not entirely slangy… honestly I’d have let the original sentence stand. It made sense, it’s how most native speakers would say it, and the replacement sentence just sounds strange to my admittedly deaf ears.

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      2. fposte

        Right; I am also, as I’ve said elsewhere, philosophically opposed to the predicate nominative and prefer not to follow the rule there.

        But at a certain editorial level you need to know the rule before you get to break it.

        Reply
  7. A Non

    I didn’t notice that until you pointed it out. Personally I give a lot more leeway for repeated words and other things that generally happen during revision than I would for misspellings or improper word usage, but that’s just me.

    Reply
  8. Lily in NYC

    I’ll admit I’m pretty rigid about typos, especially for admin positions. Part of the reason is that we are sticklers here and our division head will respond to emails and highlight typos in red – I am so relieved that I’ve never gotten a “red” email from her. She actually fired her previous admin for making too many typos so now I am extra-careful when screening resumes (it was awful because we warned the boss not to hire her for that very reason and I felt so bad when she was let go). I’m really not sure what I would have done with OP’s application. If everything else was good then I’d probably let it go because duplicate words are pretty easy to miss when proofreading. But more than one typo and it goes in the “no” pile. I’m more strict about things like matching tenses in a resume than a minor typo. Maybe it’s just a pet peeve, but I can’t stand it when someone uses both past and present tense when explaining job duties for a position they held years ago. It happens a lot!

    Reply
    1. Devil's Avocado

      I agree 100% for admin positions. When we were hiring my replacement at my previous job I removed people from the competition for egregious formatting errors like bullet points not lined up, huge blocks of text with no paragraphs, erratic use of fonts and font sizes, and in one case, misspelling “executive assistant” (the title of the position), which was in bold at the top of the first page. I think if someone is going to be sending emails on behalf of the CEO and writing board briefs, errors like those are unacceptable.

      If I had cut out everyone who had a typo or a spelling error though, there would only have been 1 (of about 80!) applications left. So minor errors stayed in.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth the Ginger

        Those things in your first paragraph aren’t typos, and I would probably think poorly of a candidate with that type of error in any position that involved writing at all. (Teacher, realtor, systems analyst, IT help desk, etc.) I would, however, excuse it for positions that didn’t involve any significant writing – plumber, mechanic, chef, woodworker, salesperson at Gap – what would matter there would be their skills in clogged drains/oil changes/risotto/table-making/friendly manner/etc.

        Reply
        1. Devil's Avocado

          You’re correct, of course. I was lumping formatting/grammatical errors in with typos for the sake of brevity. I also agree about positions that don’t require writing – but I was talking specifically about admin positions that do require a lot of writing.

          Reply
    2. Jennifer

      I would also throw out your resume for a typo here. We need to be perfect in our jobs, period.

      (Seriously wonder how some of my coworkers got hired a long time ago, though, they typo constantly. Guess who’s here to fix them….)

      Reply
    3. Stranger than fiction

      My worst nightmare is leaving my current job and landing somewhere that rigid (not saying your business doesn’t have good reason to be). When I first started here I couldn’t believe how many typos people made, all the way up to the President/owner. Now I’m so used to I feel like I’ve become sloppy myself, because I don’t need to worry or panic if I send something out with a mistake. Here the attitude is ” we knew what you meant lol”.

      Reply
      1. Lindsay J

        I’m the same way with emails. I used to have great email etiquette. Now I’m so used to brusque, informal communication via email that it will take me awhile to adjust if I ever go back to a more formal environment.

        I use smily faces and “lol” in my emails here. It isn’t out of place.

        Reply
  9. MissLibby

    A great deal of my job consists of proofreading other people’s work, so typos really jump out at me and most of the people I am hiring for also need to be good proofreaders as well. However, I would not hold it against someone if it were just one or two typos, especially an online application. Sometimes the fields do not have a spell check and are not really user friendly. When I am filling out those types of applications, I will type my text in Word, do a spell check and then paste into the form.

    Reply
    1. MsChandandlerBong

      It’s especially difficult to proofread when the text box does not get bigger to accommodate more text. So you have to type three sentences’ worth of stuff on one tiny line and then scroll back word by word to see if you made any mistakes. I hate that!

      Reply
  10. alter_ego

    Not that I hire anyone, but for what it’s worth, I didn’t even see the typo in that sentence until you said what it was.

    Reply
      1. SusanIvanova

        There was a study done on whether people would spot the
        the error in this sentence, and most people wouldn’t.

        (There’s two “the”s, and because they’re on the end and beginning of lines, and “the” is one of those words you don’t pay any attention to, it slides right past even if you know there’s something you should be looking for.)

        Reply
  11. Laufey

    I’m involved in the hiring process, but I don’t make any decisions. For me, it depends on the severity of the typo. I’m more likely to judge mistakes in our name or mistakes that would have been caught in spell check, but am willing to forgive small typos or misused words (typing “I word on this” rather than “I work on this” and the like). We do have writing-intensive job though, so overall grammar and word usage are pretty important to us. I don’t think we’ve ever outright rejected someone for a typo though (and my own writing sample had a typo on the first page. Yes, I judge myself. No, I have no clue what I was thinking.).

    Reply
  12. Mandible

    I interview editors and writers. If you have a typo, even one, you’ve pretty much shot yourself in the foot with me. Though, to turn it around if you do want to give them a chance–edit their resume and give it back to them. This teaches you quickly how they feel about feedback, which is important as a writer and an editor. I assume most employers aren’t as rigid about typos, since I see many executive members of my company make mistakes all the time.

    Reply
  13. Michelenyc

    TBH it would depend on where the typo popped up. I would have a hard time ignoring one on a resume but on a cover letter I wouldn’t think too much of it unless it was something really awful. I had a freind that had me look at her resume when she wasn’t getting calls for interviews and I told her the first problem is you have at least 5 errors (grammatical and spelling). I told her if I was a hiring manager that I would have put it straight in the reject pile. In our particular job attention to deal is extremely important. Her solution was to copy a lot of the information on my resume but that’s a story for another day!

    Reply
    1. addiez

      Yeah ditto – I’m in a nonprofit and often involved in hiring. Resume typos are considered pretty bad – a cover letter I could overlook but even still it’d be unlikely. When we have multiple strong candidates and one has shown that they’re not paying attention to this the only thing that I have to see of them, it often goes poorly. I think if it’s typing into a system though, we’d be more flexible about those. Those kind of things are the worst.

      Reply
  14. MaryMary

    When I was a senior in college, I went on an alumni networking trip with several other college of business students. Our advisor sent a copy of our resumes to all the alumni beforehand. One alumna announced that she had found a typo in one of our resumes, and spent an entire bus trip from Chapel Hill to Charlotte (a 2.5 hour drive) making smart remarks and dropping dark hints as to who it was. “One of the students who has not yet found a permanent job, obviously.”

    It was my resume. I used the word discrete (separate or individual) instead of discreet (careful and circumspect). The moral of the story is that some people REALLY care about typos. Most people only care about excessive or stupid typos. And even if someone is a typo obsessive, there’s an element of luck. Our brains skip over typos and mistakes all the time. While desperately staring at each other’s resumes for 2.5 hours, we found another typo, a misspelling, and some iffy spacing that the alumna hadn’t noticed.

    Reply
    1. newlyhr

      and this is when I think some people are asses. It’s one thing to point something out in an effort to be constructive, but this alumna has a sadistic streak in her.

      Reply
      1. Michelenyc

        +1 What an ass. I normal person would have told you privately that you had a mistake. Clearly just an asshat!

        Reply
    2. KR

      How rude. Stuff happens. The respectful thing to do would be to take you aside and mention in private that she found the typo.

      Reply
    3. 42

      She’s an ass. I’m an editor, but I’m not that stuck up about crap like that. I could see pulling you aside with an “Oh BTW…”. But to publicly bleat about it for 2.5 hours was all to pump her sorry ego up. I’m cranky today.

      Reply
    4. SophieChotek

      At my academic defense, on of my committee members went by page by page to point out every small error and misplaced comma in front of the rest of the group. Of course I was embarassed but another friend said he was really doing it to show up my advisor who did not catch them.

      Reply
    5. Jubilance

      1 – that person is an ass

      2 – People who confuse “discrete” and “discreet” drive me batty. Another thing that drives me batty is when people use “first annual” instead of “inaugural”.

      Reply
      1. bkanon

        Ugh, discrete vs. discreet. I sent an email to a publisher complaining about that very mistake. They said they would fix it and blamed the author for being British. That’s … not a Br/AmEnglish confusion, sir.

        Reply
  15. Not Karen

    The other day I opened up a book at the library and found a typo in the synopsis. Unless the main character really did live in an aparment.

    Reply
      1. Turanga Leela

        I always wonder if it’s a sign that the book was rushed to publication. I’ve tended to see the most typos in (a) mass-market paperbacks and (b) books about politics. Does anyone know if some books get edited less thoroughly than others?

        I remember that one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books notoriously misspelled “eigenvalue” as “igon value,” which nobody caught before publication.

        Reply
        1. Lore

          The short answer is yes, some books get edited less thoroughly than others. One reason you find this kind of thing with politics books is because they’re much more likely to be timely/time-sensitive, and therefore much more likely to have delivered late and been rushed through copyediting and proofreading. Also, the later a book is, the harder it’s going to be to match appropriate copyeditors and proofreaders who might know something about the subject material, because you’re just going to be hiring whoever will agree to the insane deadline (which I think is where you get things like “igon value.”)

          Mass markets can be a different story. A lot of times, mass market originals are kind of like the “store brand” for a big trade house–they may sell a lot of copies (though fewer than in the past) but they’re not generally big profit centers in the current publishing economy, so less attention/resources may get expended. Also, anything that’s still in print but was originally published before digital typesetting was probably scanned at some point to get the files into digital form, which of course introduces a whole new world of errors. And weird shit can happen in converting trim size on files, which might not be as fully proofread as a new book would have been.

          For something like the synopsis–or anything in the front or back matter–it’s also likely that bit of content was added later in the process and therefore maybe only got reviewed once, whereas the main book might get copyedited, reviewed by the author, reviewed by someone else in-house, then proofread several times.

          But also, it’s just harder than it looks to get 100% perfection! My old boss used to say that 99.99% percent accuracy would result in 2-3 typos per page (figuring roughly 2500 characters per page for trade paperback trim or 3000 for the larger hardcover trim).

          Reply
        2. alter_ego

          That’s amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Euler’s Law spelled somewhere as Oiler’s law either.

          Reply
          1. MsChandandlerBong

            I wish I could get a publishing house to hire me on a freelance basis. I often proofread books after an editor has been through them, and it amazes me that some people have jobs. One editor insisted on adding hyphens in places they didn’t belong (e.g. “The box was twenty-feet by ten-feet”). Fortunately, I was able to show the author the CMoS rule saying otherwise.

            Reply
            1. Lore

              I hire new copy editors and proofreaders for a trade division of a big publisher. Look me up on the LinkedIn group and I’m happy to send you our tests. (Search for “editor, writer, proofreader” and my user name here is a shortened version of my name.)

              Reply
              1. Jo

                This is really interesting to me because my research non-profit contracts out our publications to freelance editors and my job is to do the final review once they come back, right before they are published. Some freelancers do a MUCH better job than others but I’ve never had a single one come back without a mistake.

                Despite all this, our research director still insists that the finished drafts come from the research staff “already perfect” and therefore shouldn’t need much time spent on editing…but that’s a different problem for a different day.

                Reply
        3. SusanIvanova

          Novelists who turn in their draft only days before the deadline, but still make the bestseller lists. We can read your blogs, we know what’s going on.

          Certain science fiction publishing houses that have been quoted as claiming their books sell the same regardless of how much copyediting they do, so don’t bother telling us about the typos in the e-ARC.

          Reply
        4. Anon for this

          It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had things proofed by 6 to 8 people and there is still a typo that everyone read over. It happens.

          Reply
      2. TootsNYC

        What really fascinates me is, didn’t anybody run a spellcheck? Eyes can sign off of that easily. But in this day and age, when everything is typeset electronically with a computer–did they just not use it?

        Reply
      3. LQ

        I did an audiobook recording recently for a published book (not self-published!) and the number of errors was painful. The author/agent/whoever I was dealing with wasn’t terribly responsive so I didn’t want to send an email and stop working every time something came up. More than once I just said what was clearly the correct word rather than what was written. Every single chapter had at least one. I don’t know if I would have noticed if I’d just been reading, but it hurt. The worst was the author had a very common “slang” term and spelled it like something that is a curse word. That one I checked on.

        Reply
          1. LQ

            I don’t really want to say, because I can’t imagine anyone else made this specific and weird mistake in their book.

            Reply
      4. Elizabeth the Ginger

        Ooo! The best I ever saw was a glossy hardcover cookbook I saw in an airport. One page had a glossy photo of kale, or something, and underneath the caption read:

        “Describe history of kale and list pages of kale recipes. Martin will supply the copy for this caption. Describe history of kale and list pages of kale recipes. Martin will supply the copy for this caption. Describe history of kale and list pages of kale recipes. Martin will supply the copy for this caption.”

        They had noticed it before sending it out – there was an insert tucked into the front cover of the book – but not until after they’d printed thousands of shiny cookbooks!

        Reply
      5. auntie_cipation

        I’m an occasional freelance proofreader. A few years ago I proofread a book and at the end of the process I was shown a copy of the book. I opened it up and randomly turned to a page, and immediately saw a typo! IIRC it was a number in a year in a photo caption, 16xx instead of 19xx (I remember thinking that I couldn’t tell if it was an actual typo or if the typesetter had inverted it). It jumped out at me so fast that I felt sure I would have found it in my proofing (also because I had not only proofed the captions but also compared the captions to the Table of Contents page that listed all the photos, for consistency, so in effect read those multiple times), but I didn’t have my marked sheets to go back to see whether I had missed it or whether it truly hadn’t been there when I read it but was changed afterwards. It haunts me to this day…

        Reply
    1. MsChandandlerBong

      I left a negative review on a book a few weeks ago because there were SO many errors. The VERY first page mentioned Cain and “Able,” and part of the book referenced someone’s abdulla oblongata (instead of the medulla oblongata). If an otherwise-good book has one or two typos, I don’t mind. It’s annoying when there are so many mistakes that you have to stop and try to figure out what the author meant to say.

      Reply
      1. Turanga Leela

        I’ve noticed the same thing in audiobooks. I’ll stop listening if the pronunciation errors are really egregious.

        Reply
          1. Turanga Leela

            I listened to an otherwise great audiobook whose narrator could not decide whether “blanche” was pronounced like the French color or the Golden Girl. It was distracting.

            Reply
      2. auntie_cipation

        I read some books because I enjoy the genre rather than because they contain quality writing. In this context I have read some *horribly*-written books in terms of spelling and grammar. Sometimes hard to fathom.

        At the same time, I generally find at least one typo in many best-sellers, including those that have undoubtedly gone through many other sets of proofreading eyes (Stephen King, for example).

        Reply
    2. Elizabeth the Ginger

      I was at the library and saw an intriguing-if-fluffy-looking book of thoughts for teachers in the 21st century. One of the first pages I flipped to mentioned the author “Jane Austin.”

      The book went back on the shelf immediately.

      Reply
  16. Lily in NYC

    I was given a proofreading test at my previous job’s interview. I was told to find 12 grammatical errors and I found 13. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t want the person to think I was being obnoxious by pointing it out. So I just circled all 13 and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, they were happy about it and hired me – I wish I never got that job because the boss was evil.

    Reply
  17. Anonymous Educator

    I think a lot of it has to do with what type of job you’re applying for and how much the hiring manager (or committee) cares about it. I saw a cover letter with three egregious typos in it for an executive director–level position. I thought for sure the hiring committee would nix that candidate. Instead, that candidate ended up a finalist… and then hired! What did I know?

    When I’m involved in hiring, though, I immediately junk cover letters and résumés that have typos in them (depending on the severity, of course), or at least move them to the back of the pile. In the end, if I can get a stellar candidate with one typo, I’d still rather get that candidate than get the candidate with a perfectly-proofread cover letter who is not up for the job.

    And it also depends on what the job primarily entails. If your job is primarily answering phones, and all your written communication is internal (not public-facing), I’ll be a lot more forgiving of typos than if you’re putting together eNewsletters!

    Reply
  18. justsomeone

    Even with spellcheck, it’s so easy to make mistakes. I’ve found that running all my writing through a word processor as well as using the Grammarly extension online I’ve managed to cut down on some of those repeated word typos that always seem to get me, as well as better using commas. (And Grammarly just caught a comma missing in this comment, even.)

    When I was editing for magazines as part of my journalism coursework in college, I always made my writers read their articles out loud to each other. It helps them catch awkward phrasing and double word typos. I’d have them pair up and have Writer A read Writer B’s article out loud to Writer B and vice versa. They were always amazed at how many mistakes and story holes they found doing it that way. If I can, I try to have my husband or a friend read my cover letters to me before I submit them.

    Reply
    1. Liane

      I just sent out an email to all the Game Blog writers reminding them that if your typo is a real word (cab instead of can) or the wrong homophone (to/too/two) Spellcheck won’t catch it.

      Reply
  19. Jen S. 2.0

    I notice typographical errors and I mind them. I absolutely put in my notes that the candidate had typos in his/her resume.

    One typo won’t keep me from hiring you if you otherwise are a good candidate, but A) I ding you hard when you have multiple errors that your software package would not have flagged (so you didn’t proofread, and you didn’t have anyone else look it over, either); and B) I ding you even harder when there are any typos that your software package WOULD have flagged (that’s when you’re just sloppy. Did you think Word and Chrome were just underlining “wolud” and “wuold” and “woudl” with wavy red lines for their health?).

    Reply
    1. Koko

      FWIW I turn off the underlining because my field uses a lot of jargon and I got tired of adding every marketing-specific term and all of its different-suffix variants to the dictionary all the time, and it’s obnoxious to see an entire document full of red underlining when all of the words are correct.

      I do still run spell check when I finish a document, though.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        “I got tired of adding every marketing-specific term and all of its different-suffix variants to the dictionary all the time, ”

        Can you not roll your dictionary over to the next document?
        If so: the effort to build out your spellcheck dictionary is absolutely worth it. It’s a pain in the beginning, but very rapidly you will see results.
        If only that you spellcheck results will be easier and more motivating to pay attention to.

        I’ve built out a spellcheck dictionary for my team, and it is AMAZING.

        Reply
  20. SJ

    I have no idea if this is true for many people, but it seems like people might be generally more forgiving of a seasoned professional who has a typo or two than a younger applicant. A seasoned professional with extensive qualifications and many references (and a longer resume, with more content to proofread) might get a pass more than a young applicant who only has 2 pages to proofread — a cover letter and a 1-page resume. Plus the younger applicant doesn’t have all the years of experience proving that (s)he is an excellent employee and the typos are an aberration. If you’ve got 200 applications for an entry-level job where all the young’uns look about the same, weeding out anyone with typos might be a way to narrow the stack down. Not saying it’s a GOOD way, but it’s a way.

    Just speaking for myself, I recently went through about 350 applications for a high-level admin job in higher ed, and I didn’t raise an eyebrow at a typo or two. This is largely due to what I said before — candidates with years and years of experience in a role that isn’t writing-focused got a pass on a couple of typos, given their proven track record of excellence and the simple fact that they had long resumes. And there were many long resumes, and several very long cover letters. And honestly? It’s probably fairly easy for typos in long resumes and cover letters to go unnoticed just because the hiring committee won’t read every resume and cover letter word-for-word until the stack has been narrowed down to final candidates. Even if typos are found at that point, the committee or hiring manager has probably decided they like the candidates anyway, and the typos won’t make a difference.

    I do think I would be slightly less understanding for a younger applicant with fewer pages to proofread, but I don’t know that it would mean automatically putting that person in the “no” stack. I’ve certainly been the person with a short resume/cover letter and a typo, and I always wonder if that automatically disqualified me. (Plus I beat myself up for about a week after I realized the error. TWO PAGES? I COULDN’T MAKE TWO PAGES PERFECT?)

    Reply
  21. anonanonanon

    This is timely, since I submitted a cover letter the other day with the company name write as Company XY, which I wasn’t sure was correct since the company’s website uses both Company XY and Company X Y. I’m hoping it’s not that big of a deal, but I did worry a bit when the “thank you, we received your application” email wrote it as Company X Y.

    Reply
    1. Lily in NYC

      I wouldn’t worry – I bet they won’t notice/care – especially if it’s just a variation of their name.

      Reply
    2. SusanIvanova

      You’ll get bonus points if you remember that our chocolate teapot company is CTpots, not CTPots, but I saw a job posting – presumably written by our HR dept – that had *both* variations.

      Reply
  22. OwnedByTheCat

    One typo isn’t a big deal for me. Spelling the company name wrong? Hell no.

    Recently I got a cover letter with a paragraph that started by describing the candidate’s exceptional attention to detail. There were FOUR major typos in the following paragraph. It was clearly a slap-dash job and the typos were so egregious I simply couldn’t ignore them.

    I thought about writing her back to let her know but I couldn’t think of a non-bitchy way to bring it up.

    Reply
    1. Turanga Leela

      I once told a candidate, “I wanted to let you know that there’s a typo in your resume. It looks like you left out the L in the phrase ‘public defender.’ “

      Reply
        1. valc2323

          I’m in public health, and in our office we routinely delete the word “pubic” from our spellcheck custom dictionaries so that it gets flagged every time and you have to consciously accept it as the word you wanted.

          It helps keep us from making that mistake too often.

          On the subject of typos in resumes — one I’ll let go; two I might, depending on the length of the resume. Three? Unless I’ve got no other candidates worth considering, you’re out.

          I recently reviewed a resume that had been submitted with track changes and editing comments (i.e. “remove period here” and “combine this with previous”). That was the same one that duplicated a page and had three typos in the same paragraph. No, they did not get an interview.

          Reply
          1. TootsNYC

            I can’t delete a word from my InCopy dictionary–but when I am the Great Queen Copyeditor, it is going to be illegal to include the word “pubic” in a spellcheck dictionary.

            Reply
          2. Joanna

            I’ve also dealt with applications where they left track changes turned on and it made it very obvious the application had only been very lightly edited from one for an entirely different job. That did not position them favourably.

            Reply
          3. hermit crab

            I work in the broader public health field, with public water systems, regarding regulations that require public notifications, etc. etc. EVERYONE that I work with has, at one point or another, sent out a document with an accidental “pubic” (up to and including the CEO of the company)! Removing “pubic” from your spellcheck dictionary is a brilliant idea.

            Reply
      1. JennyFair

        Our local newspaper made this error, in a 2-inch font, above-the-fold headline! About the new ‘public tax’.

        Reply
  23. Christina

    Just don’t be the person who gets to the last round of interviews for a position on a communications team and give a 27 page portfolio that ends with their resume that includes in GIANT letters “Want a Qoute?” (resume owner also did freelance work).

    Combine that with the SIX other typos just on that page, ignoring the rest of the errors in the other 26 pages…

    Reply
    1. Lily in NYC

      I think it’s because we don’t actually read word by word – we really scan multiple words at a time and kind of “fill in the blanks” as we go along, if that makes sense. So that makes it difficult to catch, even if we think we are reading it carefully.

      Reply
      1. Lizabeth

        This. There was a great article in Smithsonian a long time ago about how we read and said this very thing – we read the negative space rather than the individual letters.

        Reply
  24. grasshopper

    If you send in a word document that highlights typos, then I assume that you weren’t even bothering. However, if it is an online form, I’d make some allowances because you can’t spell check and you’re usually feeling some time pressure to fill it in.

    Even some fantastic candidates make mistakes that aren’t caught by spellcheck; the most common is “manager” versus “manger.” I wouldn’t reject someone based on having one or two small typos. I have however rejected an application that from a candidate with a Masters in Journalism who had a cover letter positively riddled with typos.

    Reply
    1. Stranger than fiction

      You would not believe how many times I’ve received an email from a Sales Manger, and that’s how it’s in their email signature.

      Reply
      1. knitcrazybooknut

        Worked at an insurance sales company for seven years in Human Resources. I would truly believe you!

        Reply
  25. Laura

    I work in higher ed administration, so I can jump in here!

    In this industry, even small errors can make or break you. My manager has mentioned before that attention to detail really is one of the most important parts of what we do, and if you can’t be bothered to check your application/cover letter/resume over several times before sending it, you won’t look good at all.

    That being said, the error OP made was very minor and wouldn’t be caught by a lot of people. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but the general rule is that if you want to work in higher ed, you need to appear highly educated… especially if you are communicating by email a lot (which most of us do).

    Reply
  26. LAI

    I work in higher ed and have been on hiring committees for admin positions here. In my experience, we do care a lot about typos but 1-2 typos for an otherwise strong candidate is not going to disqualify them. Also, for me, it depends on the kind of typo. This particular typo isn’t the worst because it’s the kind of mistake that anyone can make while revising a sentence, or because they got distracted in the middle of writing/proofreading. In my opinion, it’s far worse to make a mistake like writing “their” instead of “they’re” or using affect instead of effect because someone making that mistake is more likely to not even know they’re wrong.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      I hit a stretch, at age 45 or something, so YEARS of this not happening, where the “auto-correct” in my brain was always changing the finger-strokes to “their” instead of “they’re.” This is not a mistake I make–but my speed typing was using the wrong subroutine. I once tried to do it really slow, and it came out the wrong version.

      It was just a little bit frightening. Fortunately, it ended.

      Reply
      1. Sunshine

        I freak out a bit when that happens, too. Sometimes my fingers just refuse to type the right word, especially if it’s close to another word I use regularly. Muscle memory, maybe? Even slowing down, it might take a few tries to override.

        Reply
      2. LQ

        I had this but for “with the” which I continually typed as withe. I couldn’t seem to not do it. And then I started doing it when writing. I just made my phone and computers auto correct withe to with the. Strangely it has gone away recently.

        Reply
      3. Anxa

        I do this sometimes with your/you’re and the ‘theres.’

        I’ve had absolutely no confusion about which to use and when since grade school. In fact, I can’t ever remember a time of not understanding it.

        But sometimes when I write, the multiple versions of that sentence will morph together. For example, maybe I start out saying/thinking “I wonder where they’re going to board their dog” and end up saying “I wonder where they’re dog is boarded.”

        Reply
        1. Snazzy Hat

          I had a colleague who wrote “there” for every instance of there/their/they’re. She proclaimed it was because she could never remember the correct one, but more prodding made it clear she didn’t want to learn the differences. I wanted to slap her with an unabridged dictionary.

          Reply
  27. Recruit-o-Rama

    I review dozens of resumes and applications everyday and an occasional typo does not deter me from a really well qualified candidate. This is especially true of it’s an obvious typo (autocorrect or spell check choosing the wrong word) as opposed to the candidate clearly not understanding the words they are using. I’m in the “no one is perfect 100% of the time” camp and would hate to work for someone who thinks in this sort of black/white or bad/good way.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      That’s a great distinction — slip of the fingers when typing is a much less bigger deal than someone who’s clearly not understanding words or grammar.

      Reply
    2. AnotherHRPro

      I think your qualifier “a really well qualified candidate” is key. A simple typo from a candidate you think would be a great fit is different from a typo from a candidate who might be ok.

      Reply
  28. Grey

    I had a killer typo in my resume that went unnoticed by me for nearly a year. I’d transposed the numbers in my area code. I found out when I call from an employer in my same area code who guessed that it was a typo.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      A decade ago I got a resume from someone, and the first letter of her name (which was in 32-point type at the top of her resume) had been deleted.
      I figured she’d bumped a key right before printing, hadn’t seen it, and had picked the paper up out of the printer and put it under the cover letter in the envelope without really looking at it.
      I didn’t hire her for freelance openings, but I kept her resume around trying to decide if I should. I finally tossed it so I wouldn’t always be reminded of her, and that mistake. And I think she is someone I’ve been hiring regularly for the last 3 years.

      I also once got a phone call from someone who said, “I got home from the post office, where I mailed in my editing test, and looked at my notes and realized: I spelled your name wrong on the front of the envelope! I’ll understand if this bumps me out of the running, but I wanted you to know I caught it.”
      I debated long and hard about that one too. It’s sort of like catching on the very last printer’s proof–and goodness knows every quality pro I’ve ever worked with has spotted something there.
      I didn’t take her out of the running, but other people did beat her out on other grounds.

      Reply
      1. Grey

        But wouldn’t that suck if her name was actually something like “Atherine” or “Ichelle”?

        Of course, I’m kidding, but I amused myself with the thought.

        Reply
      2. auntie_cipation

        Most of what I proofread are magazine articles, which often seem to being with one really large font letter at the beginning of the first word. Depending on how the graphic design is being done, sometimes I think that first letter is more of an image that is placed in the right spot, rather than actual text. So I’ve actually had occasion to see the text with the first letter missing and it’s not an error — that would be my first thought here although it doesn’t make sense in the context of this story — just my thought train…

        Reply
  29. Adam

    First full-time job I got after they made me the offer my new director jokingly mentioned how I had two typos in my cover letter and asked if I ever noticed them. I embarrassingly admitted I hadn’t and since I didn’t have an original copy of the letter to this day I have no idea what those typos were.

    Reply
  30. Spotty

    I got a job where “attention to detail” was vitally important with a typo on my resume.

    It can be done!

    Reply
  31. Anna No Mouse

    I once worked somewhere that hired someone who spelled HIS OWN NAME incorrectly at the top of his resume. It was obviously a simple typo, but that’s the kind of thing that needs to be caught to show you’re paying attention to detail.

    He also had pretty much no experience, and was all around a bad fit for the job, but my boss hired him anyway as a favor to the guy’s sister. This guy turned out to be a drug addict who once vomited outside our front door, and would regularly fall asleep at his (and others’) desks.

    Needless to say, it was a pretty toxic work environment all around.

    Reply
    1. lowercase holly

      i misspelled my own name when creating a username for an online account in order to apply (not on the application itself) and prayed no one at the company could see the usernames.

      Reply
  32. Amelia Earhart

    Am I the only one thinking of the episode of Friends where Rachel’s resume references her “compuper” skills?

    Reply
  33. Turanga Leela

    Echoing Alison: I think of myself as a stickler for spelling and punctuation, but if there’s one typo per document, or even every couple of pages in someone’s writing sample, I’ll chalk that up to human error and let it go. If there are more typos, I start to worry that the candidate is sloppy. I’m most concerned by errors that people really should have caught—which include things like my company’s name or my name, but also common errors like it’s/its or there/their/they’re (especially if it happens more than once). I’ll also worry if it’s obvious that the person didn’t edit the letter at all, like if there’s a sentence that cuts off in the middle or makes no sense.

    The OP’s error wouldn’t be a deal-breaker in an otherwise well-written cover letter. It’s the kind of mistake that’s easy to make, even if you’re a good writer, and very hard to catch.

    Reply
  34. Authoria

    When I used to hire writers, I would keep letters/resumes with typos in consideration unless 1) the error was in the first sentence or they misspelled 2) my name or 3) the name of the company. If you can’t get those things right, I fear you’re really not paying attention.

    We worked for the Public Sector division, and you’d be surprised by the number of people who accidentally spell public without the l. Spellcheck doesn’t pick it up. Always good for a laugh.

    Reply
    1. Turanga Leela

      I commented about the “public” thing above! It’s really easy to miss. When I was taking a class on the First Amendment, I had to write a lot about public forums, public schools, public employees… I got so paranoid about making this error that I took “pubic” out of my word processor’s dictionary, so spellcheck would pick it up.

      Reply
    2. Master Bean Counter

      Seriously how do people forget the l? That’s pretty much a guarantee we won’t be calling you.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        It’s a relatively easy typo, bio-mechanically speaking; it’s on the second-to-last finger, which is a weak finger.

        If I couldn’t take “pubic” out of the spellcheck dictionary, I’d absolutely develop a routine of running a search for that word as my last step before storing a file.

        Reply
  35. JennyFair

    I once applied for an internal opportunity and was disqualified for having a semicolon instead of a colon after my salutation in my cover letter. This was the method they used to pare down the rather large candidate pile before actually reading the resumes and considering people. Any error at all and you were out :(

    Reply
    1. AnotherHRPro

      Good point JennyFair. When you have a large applicant pool, you are looking for ways to narrow the population.

      Reply
    2. Lindsay J

      Unless it’s a job where you will be expected to write formal business letters often (and come in with the knowledge on how to do this in a polished way) I think this is pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t tell you anything about the potential ability to do the job or anything else other than knowing one obscure rule.

      It’s difficult to train someone how to write correctly and I definitely understand the need to eliminate people who make mistakes that indicate they don’t have a good grasp language and grammar. I can also understand the arguements eliminating someone based on a typo.

      This seems below a typo and into pettiness for me. It’s kind of akin to being pendantic about the use of “pardon me” vs “excuse me” or “v” vs “vs”.

      Reply
      1. Amy UK

        I disagree.

        1. Using a comma after the salutation in a letter isn’t really an ‘obscure rule’ like you claim. I’m a teacher, and commas after salutations is on the curriculum for my 7 year olds. Not to mention the amount of examples you would see in daily life from your own correspondence.
        2. Even if the job doesn’t involve writing business letters, I can’t think of many jobs out there where you wouldn’t at least be writing emails which require a proper salutation (to clients or colleagues), so it could also be a relevant mistake to her work. It looks sloppy even on internal communications to have mistakes.
        3. The mistake also suggests a misunderstanding of punctuation which also raises questions about a person’s writing ability. There’s no reason to put a semi-colon where JennyFair did if you understand what commas and semi-colons do. So if the role required a lot of writing, it could be a concern.

        I’m not trying to slate JennyFair or make her feel bad about it, just expressing my opinion. Personally I likely wouldn’t be so strict (mistakes happen). However, if you have a lot of qualified candidates who didn’t make potentially worrying mistakes then I can see why you might rule out those who did.

        (My correction on arguments/arguements was light hearted. I hope my disagreeing with you on this point doesn’t make it seem spiteful).

        Reply
  36. ginger ale for all

    Meh. Typos are fun to find if they are rare but if you have so many that it looks like you didn’t finish high school, it needs to be noted. I find it more odd that someone with a doctorate is using their education and their time for this instead of something more research oriented.

    My favorite typo is the one on a local doughnut shop’s menu that advertises Crapi Sun. It makes me smile.

    Reply
    1. ginger ale for all

      Also, I am new to the whole online dating thing and I do find it interesting that there are so many people who have such poor writing skills do not think to ask a friend to go over it to polish it up a bit. A lot of people are out there looking for u, but jmo, it’s right after the letter t. That ad is their chance for a good first impression and they blow it. Add to it the fact that there are often no capital letters or random punctuation and you can see why other posters have more success.

      Reply
      1. MsChandandlerBong

        I placed a personal ad a few years ago. When I went through the replies, there was only one person who managed to spell properly and follow basic grammar rules. We’ve been married for almost four years. =)

        Reply
        1. knitcrazybooknut

          I almost booted my future husband from the running because he used all lower case instead of mixed case in his emails. Almost (good thing he spelled things correctly). We’ve been married 15 years in October. ;-)

          Reply
        2. Lindsay J

          Yup, that was part of my screening mechanism on online dating as well.

          I don’t expect perfect grammar and spelling (or I would be being totally hypocritical, especially given my love of parentheses). Moreso I just needed someone with the ability to communicate without making my head hurt.

          My current boyfriend was also one of the few who could carry on a conversation with me like an actual human being, which I feel isn’t really asking a lot.

          Reply
    2. Lily in NYC

      That is awesome. It’s not a typo, but I walk by a shoe store sign every day (right across the street from Alexander Hamilton’s grave) that says “We Probably Have the Best Prices in the City”. I just love that “probably” so much.

      Reply
      1. Turanga Leela

        There used to be a bodega that advertised it was open “25 hours a day.” I’m not sure if it was deliberate, but it was memorable!

        Reply
      2. TootsNYC

        Lily, there’s a deli north of there (66 w. B’way) that has a sign: “The Best Deli in the Area.”

        I love that one. Because, well, define “area”! You can’t argue with them.

        Reply
        1. Lily in NYC

          Ha, way to aim for the stars! Toots, I think we might be neighbors. I think you comment at another site I used to read and you mentioned a paint store you go to – I go to the same one. It was a long time ago but it jumped out at me because of the store you mentioned – it’s one of my favorite places. I won’t say more because I don’t want to out you or make you uncomfortable.

          Reply
      3. Elizabeth the Ginger

        There was a store in the town where I grew up called “Tom or Nick’s Ceramics.” Not “and” – “or.” I always wondered about the story behind that. Some kind of custody battle? Identity crisis?

        Reply
        1. Lindsay J

          There is a family owned restaurant in the area I used to live.

          The main restaurant is named with the family name.

          There is also an attached more casual restaurant/bar. A few years ago the more casual restaurant’s name changed from Casey’s to Nick’s. I’ve wondered since then if there was some kind of falling out between family members or something.

          Reply
  37. Alis

    I received this one on Monday:

    “i am responding to you’re post for a office assistant position. i have a lot of experience with…”
    *The resume itself wad obviously written or heavily edited by another person. This is why we like cover letters.

    This is a major problem for me. A typo in an otherwise cohesive, well-written document is certainly not a deal breaker. The inability to use basic punctuation is trash-worthy for a position which requires writing skills (as clearly indicated in the job posting). A good writer always makes mistakes. I think ditching a good applicant based on a single error would be foolish. Screen with common sense.

    Reply
  38. So Very Anonymous

    I got an email once about a job application stating that because of some kind of apparently dire mistake I’d made with my application (cover letter/resume), they regretted that they couldn’t interview me — IIRC they even used phrasing like “due to the obvious problem with your application” — but with no information about what the “obvious problem” was! I was completely baffled — the application looked fine. I checked it with the career counselor I was working with, who confirmed that there was nothing wrong that she could see, and that the application addressed the posting well, etc. It was especially bewildering given that I had previously done an informational interview with the person who emailed me. We wondered if maybe the attachment I’d sent it as got messed up somehow (that was back in the days when that happened) but then why wouldn’t they have just emailed asking me to resend? I couldn’t figure out a way to construct an email tactfully asking what was so “obviously” terrible about my application, since I also didn’t want to look like I thought everything was hunky-dory, since, you know, “obvious” — but I felt even worse since I couldn’t figure out what the “obvious” referred to! I just had to write the job off, but I was really thrown by the whole experience.

    Reply
  39. lowercase holly

    i’m pretty sure i had one typo in the cover letter for the job i currently hold. but they hired me anyway! not a writing job.

    and i have noticed a typo here or there in cover letters where i did get an interview. i’ve also interviewed candidates who were very strong who may have had typos. it would have to be an egregious error to be directly trashed. like the person who sent me a resume with yellow letters on a white background. not sure if it transmitted poorly or what, but it was terrible.

    Reply
  40. jaxon

    I am super rigid about typos. Yes, we all make them, but we should catch almost all of them when we edit and proofread. I get that they “happen” but lots of stuff “happens.”

    Reply
  41. AnotherAlison

    I’m not a stickler for typos by any stretch, and my grammar isn’t spectacular, but my favorite typo story is when we received an RFP that had the company we were competing against’s name in the RFP.

    It was something like, “Task 2 – Provide Teapot Inc.’s spout sizing recommendations.” It should have said, “Task 2 – Bidder to provide spout sizing recommendations.”

    In the actual situation, there was a possibility that there was some item we had to coordinate with perhaps a separate division Teapot Inc. on, so we asked the client to clarify it wasn’t that, and they were completely embarrassed because it was our competitor.

    Reply
  42. OP

    OP here–

    Just want to say thank you for all the helpful comments–I have read every single one! I haven’t heard back yet about the application in question, but if I do, I will definitely send an update.

    Reply
  43. TootsNYC

    There is one really serious error that will knock you completely out of the running. I will make fun of you, and I will circle this error in fat red marker and keep you in my file in case you ever pop back up.

    You did not ever work in Quark Express. Not ever–not at any little newspaper in upstate NY, not in college, not as a freelancer at a major consumer magazine, not at a small trade press in Kansas.

    Not anywhere, ever, did you work in Quark Express.

    You most certainly worked in QuarkXPress. You might have worked in Quark.

    I might even concede that you could have worked in Quark Xpress (though I really don’t think so).

    But no one, ever, anywhere, has experience in Quark Express. Therefore, you will never, ever, ever work for me if you claim that you did.

    Seriously–you’re a copyeditor, and that program flashed its logo in front of your eyes every day that you worked with it, and you didn’t notice?

    That’s not a typo, though–that’s a factual screwup.

    Reply
  44. Meg Murry

    Earlier today I held in my hand a commercial product with a typo right on the front of the label. One we bought directly from the company off of their website. Rather than use the phrase DIY, the label says DYI. I even googled to make sure that wasn’t a new thing and there is something similar to DIY that DYI means. Nope. Someone just didn’t proofread.

    The company also has a couple of other typos on their website, including forgetting to close parenthesis at the end of a sentence and blocks of text that say “found HERE” that are obviously supposed to be hyperlinks that don’t have links. I’m pretty sure they also changed their company name slightly (by only one character) and on the website there are pictures of the same product with the company name spelled differently in each picture.

    We spent the afternoon joking about “do yourself in” and all the other variants of DYI we could come up with.

    And FWIW, this is not an inexpensive product, and it doesn’t work all that well. If I had purchased it as a consumer and not as someone evaluating this product space, I’m pretty sure I’d be asking for my money back.

    Reply
  45. Mona Lisa Saperstein

    My friend who works at a law firm was once reading a new hire’s resume to write his a bio for their website, and almost crapped herself laughing when she read that he had previously interned in the office of “the Pubic Defender.” But he got hired anyway, so typos are not always the end of the world!

    Reply
  46. Joanna

    Make sure you’re especially careful about proofing any sentence that talks about you having attention to detail. When I had HR responsibilities I was amazed by how many people made mistakes in the very same sentence they talked about being good at spotting them.

    Reply
  47. fishy

    This hits close to home! Just today I had a couple people read over the two latest cover letters I’d submitted, and while they said they were great, they caught two typos in one of them (an omitted word and an extra word). I was so mortified! I hope that didn’t ruin my chances by tipping me from the “maybe” pile into the “no” pile; I have little relevant experience for that particular job and was relying on the strength of my cover letter to even have a chance at the role.

    The other letter turned out to have some weird formatting errors when viewed in Windows (I use Linux) – a lot of the ‘f’s turned into squares for some reason. Would that be a mark against me too? From now on I’m definitely going to check all of my cover letters in Windows before submitting them…

    Reply
    1. Joanna

      Unless they specifically request .doc or docx, it’s always a good idea to submit your documents in PDF format as it dramatically reduces the risk of the formatting going bad if they open it in a different program or with a different operating system.

      Reply
    2. Lily in NYC

      I never hold formatting errors against candidates because most job software is horrendous and the problems are usually the fault of the software.

      Reply
  48. MsChandandlerBong

    I don’t think this error is all that egregious. It reads to me like the writer originally wrote something else and then went back and removed some text. I wouldn’t disqualify someone for this type of mistake as long as everything else checked out.

    My first real job out of college was at a real estate investment/property management firm. My boss gave me his business card with his cell number on it in case I ever needed to reach him at home. Turned out he’d been giving out cards with the title “Chef of Operations.” He’d been handing them out for months, and no one in the office noticed the error.

    Reply
  49. Fafaflunkie

    As much as I’m in agreement with Allison with everything I’ve read here, this is one I disagree with. There is an adage that needs to be repeated: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Attention to detail is something I would consider when looking at when reading resumes and/or cover letters. Of course, this depends on the position they’re applying for: the potential employee wanting a job in the mail room doesn’t need to have the same communication skills as the one applying for the job as a PR director. I will definitely have an issue with grammar errors in a cover letter if the applicant is looking for a PR job. The guy wanting the job in the mail room? Not so much.

    Reply
  50. Turtle Candle

    I’m far, far more forgiving of typos in online forms than in, say, resumes. Even if you’re a pretty good writer, filling in forms over and over means that even good writers fall prey to typos and brain-os if you’re writing into a web form (which makes editing more difficult, in my experience) and don’t necessarily have the luxury of saving it to edit later. The ‘repeating a phrase a phrase’ one the LW gives as an example is one I fall prey to, even though I’m a pretty good editor, as is the ‘accidentally omitting an important from the sentence.’ Stuff like that. It’s much more understandable to me to make that kind of goof–and in a web form–than a genuine usage error or an error in what ought to be a polished document (like a resume).

    Reply
  51. Ann

    We recently hired for a position that’s fairly autonomous and requires a high level of attention to detail. The one resume that contained the most typos (preforms vs performs, and 3-4 other issues) was a very sparse resume and had no accompanying cover letter. It was also the only one of the bunch that stressed “attention to detail” and most errors would have been caught in a quick proofread. To my dismay they knew someone somewhat related to the process and were brought in — they said a lot but had no substance. It wasted everyone’s time.

    Reply
  52. Rocky

    I used to be a real stickler for this stuff and would categorically screen out applications with any errors whatsoever. Theno I noticed I was eliminating people who were otherwise superior to candidates with perfect CVs. Then I found a couple typos on my own CV. I still screen out egregious errors (wrong company name, misspelled terminology in their area of expertise, random weird punctuation everywhere) but other than that I look at it as part of the big picture, not a screening mechanism.

    Reply
  53. Anon__

    I think typos happen to everyone and I generally overlook them and hope others do too. However, a contact of mine had this in their resume:

    “Detail-oriented oriented individual”

    I would definitely toss that one out…

    Reply
  54. Marcela

    I am always so afraid because of this. I use a spell check software, google translator and a grammar check website for very non unimportant email I send, because I know I don’t get when to use in, on, at, by, for, with… even if I manage to write correctly all words. And all these comments are going to make me difficult to sleep today :(

    Reply
  55. Argh!

    That particular one wouldn’t be as noticeable as using “their” for “there” or other pet peeves of many people. If you hadn’t spelled it out in the next sentence I would have had to go back and re-read to find it.

    You can prevent this kind of thing by having a document on your computer that has everything on it, proofread to death, and then copying and pasting what you need.

    Reply
  56. Caro

    My husband received a tax document from the state Department of Conservation that spelled the word separate incorrectly and included a random capital letter and a grammatical mistake.
    “Information about Form 1095-C and its separate Instructions is at http://www.irs.gov/f1095-C.”
    My only question is whether these errors were created by the state or the feds.

    Reply
  57. Fred

    I’m not in a position to hire anyone, but if I were, I wouldn’t be too concerned about a typo or two. Poor grammar bothers me a bit, but my English is not the greatest so I can forgive it.
    If you don’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s”, it’s also okay. It’s not the end of the world. But if you mix up “their” and “there”, I don’t like you. Or “accept” vs. “except”.

    Reply
  58. Puffy

    I remember in high school when my boyfriend applied for a job at a hardware store, I had written up a quick cover letter in his email and sent it off – within 10 minutes we get a reply that I spelt a single word wrong and he would not be considered for the position. When I found the misspelling, it was an autocorrect blunder that wasn’t obvious when skimming through it. But to me it was overkill to deny anyone a cashier job because of a single spelling error.

    Now when I write things that need to be sent out, I actually read it slowly out loud as I go so that any spelling/grammar errors are picked up.

    Despite the above situation, it was hilarious when I went through 2 interviews with a bank when I used a cover letter and forgot to change the company name in the last paragraph – I hadn’t even proofread it. I assume they either never noticed (the person who got the job was a friend who was much more qualified) or maybe that is why I never made it to a 3rd interview. Either way, I am shocked that any professional organization would even interview someone who blatantly used the wrong company name partway through the cover letter!

    Reply
  59. penny

    When I applied for my current job I wrote a great cover letter, read through it multiple times and pasted or into Word for a spellcheck b4 I submitted. Later i went back and realized I wrote positing instead of posting in the 1st sentence and was horrified! I guess Word didn’t catch it because it was an actual word, ugh. I’d probably read it too much at that point to catch it. Luckily I still got hired, but it’s made me slightly more lenient realizing even the most thorough candidate can make mistakes. Now if it’s a pattern throughout the letter or for a writer that’s different.

    Reply
  60. knitcrazybooknut

    My job involves managing a small team in Human Resources; we’re responsible for the entry and audit of all employee and job data into a 1997-era database for thousands of jobs. I’ve considered myself detail-obsessive for most of my life, and when I’m hiring for my huge team of two direct reports, I scrutinize and scrutinize and have them take skills tests and interview them about the process of taking the tests.

    For me, how you handle criticism and learning opportunities is way more important than being perfect every time. An employee who is right 99% of the time but gets pissed off when that 1% is pointed out to them limits their own growth by making it harder for me to work with them on improving. An employee who is right 95% of the time but open to suggestions on how to improve and WANTS to improve: That’s gold in my team.

    It’s not the easiest thing to screen for, but you can do it. Of course, if you have time and opportunity, make your resume and cover letter perfect. But if you realize later that you made a mistake, it’s really a screening opportunity for you: How will the company handle it? What will their response be? If you get a chance to interview and they don’t mention it, let it go. If they do, express your mortification and tell your brief story about discovering the typo yourself. If they yell at you, you now have valuable information about who they are. If they laugh with you, they have a base level of empathy and understand that everyone’s human.

    I have now spent an inordinate amount of time scrutinizing this post for typos!

    Reply
  61. Catlady

    Once I sent a cover letter filled with typos and grammatical errors. Guess what? I wasn’t hired then, but I was told to apply again later. I did and got the job. I was embarrassed about the typos but the boss didn’t seem to care.

    Reply
  62. Lacy

    I applied for an editing job at a large firm, who has a very popular acronym for a name, let’s say AbC. Throughout the entire cover letter, I wrote the wrong acronym when referring to the company – AcB. I still got the job. IDK if they were just blind to the mistake, or my skills made up for it, but regardless – A typo doesn’t mean you’re out. Even when applying for writing jobs!

    Reply
  63. WM

    I got a job that involves writing despite making a typo in my application. I was delighted as I assumed I’d blown it. I did meet all the criteria and have extra expertise to bring to the team, though.

    Reply

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