Consider this my application for the Programs Coordinator.... Oh, that's not what you're hiring for?
March 28, 2012 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Have I completely screwed myself out of this job or is there hope for me yet?

I sent out a cover letter and resume to basically the most perfect job ever on Friday. Earlier today (Wednesday) I discovered I had the wrong job title in the opening paragraph. I had reused my cover letter, but had taken the time to really customize it to relate to this specific job, but apparently I forgot to take out the old job title from the first iteration of the cover letter in the first paragraph. In every other instance, I did update it to be the new job, company, HR person, etc. and I swear I did spend a lot of time making sure the letter pertained specifically to the tasks of the position. The job titles are similar, but definitely different enough.

So now what? Do I write back with a revised cover letter (keep in mind they have probably already read the old one by now)? Do I still stand a chance for this position? Should I just start getting over it because I've really screwed the pooch? I'm so frustrated over this stupid mistake and I just need someone to tell me if there's still hope or if I should just forget this position and consider it lesson learned for the future.

posted by CookieNose to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They might not even notice.
posted by empath at 12:41 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's still hope.

I've tossed applications whose cover letters were clearly mail-merge errors on with the wrong company name, though. But they were terribly written cliche boiler plate, even overlooking the wrong company faux-pas. If your letter and application truly show the care and attention you paid to tailor it to the job, that should be a big positive.

I might take the mistake as an excuse to informally contact them -- by email or phone -- to say 'hey, I realized I had the wrong job title in there. But as you could see, I'm very seriously interested in this job. By the way, how is the search process going?..".
posted by bumpkin at 12:42 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would leave it alone for now. People are so rushed these days that they might not even see it.

If you hear from them, confirm with them that they are calling about the position that you really intended to apply for. Don't bring up the cover letter unless they do.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:48 PM on March 28, 2012

I got my current job having done exactly that. In fact, I didn't even realize it until they brought it up at the interview, as a "simple human error" thing.

Send them a revised cover letter as un-obsequiously as possible, or leave it and mildly mention it at the very beginning of the interview, but LEAVE IT. If you're right for the job, the rest of your letter and resume will show it.
posted by Liesl at 1:08 PM on March 28, 2012

(I was also MISSING A FRONT TOOTH at that interview, so my, they had a lot to overlook. Fortunately they did.)
posted by Liesl at 1:10 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I see this every time I have an open position. I would definitely notice it if I were reviewing applications and it would bother me. A lot. Much more than it should. I have never seen this, but if you were to send a revised set of application materials with a very short (sticky?) note stating that there was an error (no need to detail it) in your original materials and asking me to replace them with the new ones, I would do so without a second thought. And I would be impressed with your attention to detail, humility, and follow-up. And your name would definitely be stuck in my head, which would be good for you.

Others may respond completely differently. I suspect that the smaller the organization is, the more applicable my advice. But that is strictly my hunch.

Good luck! And no matter how you handle this particular snafu, be sure to take advantage of any opportunity to let them know that you view this as the most perfect job ever.
posted by LowellLarson at 1:20 PM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yeah, flick them a fixed version. Treat it like the small error it is.

And live by the wise advice that you should never apologise (or thank someone) for anything more than twice.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:46 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would definitely notice, but the potential damage would mostly depend on what kind of or level of position you are applying for. Generally, so many of the cover letters I come across are extremely standardized, boilerplate, copy and paste...but you can usually tell the difference between that and "human error" and your cover letter is hardly ever a deal breaker anyway. In your shoes, I would just send your revised set, stating a small error on your part.
posted by sm1tten at 4:51 PM on March 28, 2012

Response by poster: I sent her an edited version with a very quick apology last night. Just now, I got the following email:

Hello CookieNose,

I noticed that error and am glad you corrected it.
I hope to be able to contact folks next week.
Thank you for your interest,

Potential Future Boss of CookieNose

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Now I just hope I get that call!
posted by CookieNose at 10:41 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good luck. I'd love to hear how it goes for you, if you think to update this thread. Hopefully one of their interview questions is "How do you handle it when you make a mistake?". You could really nail that one. Humility and the ability to own up and fix our mistakes rather than hope no one notices are qualities that bosses like.
posted by LowellLarson at 2:14 PM on March 29, 2012

Response by poster: so hey all,

I got the job! thanks for the encouragement!
posted by CookieNose at 4:48 AM on April 30, 2012

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