feeling sick over typo in job application

A reader writes:

I just made the worst mistake ever and I feel so sick about it. I found a job that I really want. I spent two days drafting my cover letter and adjusting my resume for this position. The directions on the job posting were the send your resume directly to the president (its a small non-profit) so I wrote a short little email attached my letter and resume and then hit send.

Once I hit that send button, I saw a typo. I guess in my excitement to get my resume sent, I re-read the email too fast. So unlike me. When I saw the typo it seriously took my breath away. I frantically looked for a cancel button, but there isn’t one. So I fixed the typo and re-sent the email a minute later. If someone sent you an email with a typo, and then re-sent it with the typos fixed, what would you do?

I know I just wrote about how little things matter in job searching, but honestly, do not feel sick over this!

Everyone makes a typo now and then. Your letter wasn’t littered with them; it was one typo — and then you corrected it. Now, some may say that the correction is overkill, but I would actually be a little bit charmed by your instant correction: Hiring managers are human, and we’ve all had that sickening feeling of realizing one second too late that we made a mistake on something. You spotted it, and you corrected it. Good — that’s what we want employees to do. (Personally, I don’t mind a little proofreading neurosis. Okay, I love it.)

And what you did is also exactly what I recommended in the post on why little things matter: acknowledging the error, showing that you care, and indicating that it’s out of character for you.

You’re fine.

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. HRD*

    I would actually see this as a positive thing. That someone had corrected their mistake. We all make them and the fact that you have noticed it, highlighted it and corrected it, would add bonus points for me.

  2. Charles*

    Did you mention that you were resending it because of fixed typos? Or did you just resend it?

    I think that, if the typo wasn't obvious and you didn't mention why you were resending the email, the recipient might think that you really were incompetent in sending an email twice.

  3. Alyssa King*

    For next time- get a gmail account! They have an option to turn on an "undo" button that gives you 10 seconds or so to un-send. Priceless. Plus gmail is just super awesome.

  4. Anonymous*

    With all the respect to the importance of the applicant's presentation and how it's being evaluated, what do you make of a new hired assistant manager who after TWO MONTHS of daily contact (emails, phone calls, face-to-face meetings) fails to notice that her subordinate's name is spelled differently at the e-mail she is replying to?? And no, it's not the one of distinctly foreign names in case you're wondering. And yes, I know, I know managers, particularly new managers, have lots of other things to worry about but still it feels like a personal insult when they refuse to learn how to spell a name of someone they work shoulder to shoulder with, or – try and then fall back to their own habitual way finding an excuse in saying that they used to have a good friend with a similar name.

  5. Jas*

    I sympathize anonymous. My coworker spells my name wrong over and over. I have corrected him nicely and he told me "I know how to spell your name" and then spelled it wrong AGAIN. Once when he was mad at me he even type in all caps spelled incorrectly.

  6. Jenifer.Bode*

    I ended up getting an interview with the company so apparently my typos didn't totally ruin my chances, hopefully my interview was enough for him to forget the typos. Thanks!

  7. Anonymous*

    Would you say you have to correct a typo? I just noticed one in an application I submitted about twelve hours ago. I'm wondering if the damage is done and it would just call attention to it at this point. (The typo is, in fact, a three-word phrase repeated twice – just didn't catch it in multiple rounds of drafting and editing.)

  8. Anonymous*

    I recently realized that while reformatting my resume I inadvertently mixed up the dates of one of my earlier positions. I actually spent 3 years there (from 11/2007 to 11/2010), but accidentally pasted the dates from a later job (2/2011 to 12/2011). Is my application dead in the water? I hate that I let this error make it through and have sent this resume out to about 5 employers, one of which is my top choice position. Not sure what to do at this point. I would think a hiring manager would realize it’s an error and ask for clarification if caught but am also afraid my resume will get tossed in the “you can’t pay attention to detail” pile.

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