get the job title right

I can’t tell you how many cover letters I receive from people who get the title of the job they’re applying for wrong.

I know what job they mean, because they’ve put it in the subject line of the email. But when I open the cover letter, there it is — a totally different job, presumably one they applied for somewhere else right before sending me this letter. Often it’s a job that bears no relation to anything we do.

Not really a turn-on. Even if the rest of the application is great, it’s hard to get past a big red flag screaming “no attention to detail.”

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. Just Another HR Lady*

    Sounds like you’re doing a lot of recruiting lately…I enjoy the pet peeves. lol

  2. Anonymous*

    *sigh* I once forgot to change the contact details on a cover letter from the previous company I had sent it to (though I tailored the content, of course).

    Needless to say I didn’t get a callback. Lesson learned.

  3. MontyThree*

    I completely agree. I commented on the same thing on my blog a few days ago. It really does scream no attention to detail.

  4. HRD*

    Detail, detail, detail….

    Get the job wrong….you’re in the bin.
    Get the company wrong….you’re in the bin.
    Get the date wrong….you’re in the bin.
    Get my name wrong….you’re in the bin.

    If this job really means something to you, if you really want it. You’ll pay attention to the details.

  5. Bohdan*

    Eh, I’d still check the rest, especially depending on what position they’re applying for. It would count against them but, barring something very unusual, if that’s the only thing then it would faze me too much.

    If it was written so poorly I had to ‘work’ to figure out what they were talking about, that’s a different story.

  6. HRD*

    @Bohdan – Really????? You don’t think knowing what you are applying for as a critical factor?

  7. AOlive*

    I’m going to be a little softer on this issue. The thing is, in my job, from time to time I am floored with resumes for a position I have to fill. Only a small percentage of the applicants will be selected for a phone screening. The others will hear nothing (except for an automated thank you form saying that we will get in touch if there’s a match).

    I can see candidates that have to send dozens of resumes to try to be noticed by a single company making a mistake like that without it necessarily meaning that they lack attention to detail.

    They might be trying to send out resumes quickly before going out for a temporary work, or leaving home for an interview. Specialists say that it’s much more likely that your resume will be noticed if it arrives soon after the job is posted; in order to do things calmly and throughly review the cover letters one by one, the candidate might be missing some opportunities.

    If I saw a potential good match, I would not disregard a candidate only because of a mistake like that. Of course, people should try as best as they can to avoid such blunders, but putting ourselves in the shoes of someone desperate for an opportunity and trying to make the ends meet at the same time, I think I’d give a person who otherwise looked like a good fit a second chance.

    (This is not an excuse for sloppy work or lazy people who simply can’t be bothered to get things right, though – I believe it would be possible to differentiate the two cases easily down the hiring process.)

  8. Rachel - I Hate HR*

    I see this quite a bit. It drives me nuts. But, I find it interesting to see what others jobs they’re applying for.

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