Minor mistake or red flag?
March 8, 2010 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Asking for gf: Should I send a follow-up email, after incorrectly referring to a position as "Program Coordinator" instead of "Project Coordinator" in a recently submitted job application cover letter?

I recently emailed a cover letter and resume applying for a position I am interested in. In my cover letter however, I referred to the position as "Program Coordinator." It was not until after I sent the email that I realized the position was actually called "Project Coordinator." I also wrote "Program Coordinator" in the subject of the email that I sent which is also wrong.

Should I follow-up the original email with a second email somehow explaining my mistake?

I could write something like, "In my excitement to express my interest in your organization, I incorrectly referred to the position as Program Coordinator. I am aware however, that the open position is that of a Project Coordinator."
posted by mqk to Work & Money (10 answers total)
I don't know, that's a tough call. But if you do, I would not write your suggested:

"In my excitement to express my interest in your organization, I incorrectly referred to the position as Program Coordinator. I am aware however, that the open position is that of a Project Coordinator."

That just sounds like "I wrote it too quickly and didn't proofread."

Perhaps better would be along the lines of, "I recently realized that I've been referring to the Project Coordinator position as 'Program Coordinator.' My apologies for this oversight and any confusion it caused."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:15 PM on March 8, 2010

Best answer: If I were the person receiving the initial application, and I noticed the error, I would give the applicant the benefit of the doubt, assuming her experience met my needs.

If I received an email after the fact, which corrects the title of the position being applied for, I would appreciate the attention to detail, but it wouldn't change my opinion about the initial error.

In other words, to me, the initial error isn't really a big deal.
posted by dfriedman at 6:18 PM on March 8, 2010

No way. The way I see it, it only draws attention the the fact that you didn't do it right the first time. Especially since the titles are similar, let this one slide.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:19 PM on March 8, 2010

I did the exact same sort of thing recently when applying for a job via email. I wrote a different but similar title in both my resume and cover letter. I didn't realize this until after I got a response, but the hirer did not mention it and treated the application as if nothing was wrong.

I think Program and Project are similar enough that the mistake is not a red flag. They may not even notice if you don't point it out to them. (I am not an HR person)
posted by alligatorman at 6:21 PM on March 8, 2010

Best answer: In our organization, we use the two terms interchangeably, so this probably isn't as grave an offense as you might think. I question whether it's even worth mentioning if you have any rapport with the hiring manager. Since it doesn't sound like you do, I like what you've written, except for the "In my excitement to.." part. I would also wait until they contact you, unless you are going through an intermediary like a headhunter or recruiter who can catch and replace the cover letter for you before the HM sees it.
posted by anotherfluke at 6:25 PM on March 8, 2010

No way. A follow up email correcting the error makes it seem like the applicant lacks confidence and doesn't know how to let small errors slide. It would actually make me think less of the application - nobody wants to hire somebody who anxiously fixates on small errors. However, this is not to say that the error doesn't reflect poorly. If the application was otherwise excellent I probably wouldn't care; but if it was borderline with other candidates it might very well be a dealbreaker for me - especially if the job requires attention to detail. Don't make this mistake again!
posted by yarly at 6:30 PM on March 8, 2010

Unless the organization is large enough for their to actually be confusion over what you are applying for, just leave it. As someone who is in the process of hiring for the third time in two months, it would be more of a flag that you felt compelled to fix such a small error. I would assume you were either an anxious person, or that you were one that falls into the category of excessively keen (which often goes hand-in-hand with annoyingly persistent).

Personally, I am tired of people who won't leave me alone in their attempt to get the job.
posted by scrute at 6:57 PM on March 8, 2010

No question: let this one slide.
posted by kch at 7:31 PM on March 8, 2010

Send a clean copy and ask that it replace the old copy. If lucky, admin staff will do this before others even receive the materials.
posted by salvia at 7:51 PM on March 8, 2010

It depends, am I applying for the same job? If so then please do call attention to your error, it'll make my odds of getting the job go up a little bit.

In other words, no, don't sweat it. If they sweat it then you probably don't really want that job anyway (i.e. sticklers are no fun to work for).
posted by fenriq at 10:27 PM on March 8, 2010

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