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I realized I made a typo on my resume after submitting. Instead of writing:

Engineer in Training

I wrote:

Engineering in Training

Luckily the typo is on the second page of my resume so it may not be caught. Unfortunately, the online application process doesn't allow for updating resumes. So far I've corrected the typo on my copies.

If I receive an interview, should I:

  • hand out the updated resume
  • admit to the interviewer about the mistake, but explain it has been resolved

or:

  • don't hand out the updated resume
  • hope the interviewer doesn't find out about the typo

My gut feeling is telling me to hand out the updated resumes and admit to the mistake. What's StackExchange's feeling about this?

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31  
This particular typo is not even worth mentioning. If you compare the two they are the same on an information level –  Brandin Aug 14 at 5:35
6  
At least, it's not "its" vs "it's", etc. :) –  Sergio Tulentsev Aug 14 at 13:02
20  
Don't typo "entry-level development" as "senior-level team lead" and you're fine. –  insta Aug 14 at 15:44
13  
A lot of people are saying this is a "trivial" typo, but Engineer in Training is a certification, an important step on the way to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer, and an actual requirement for many engineering jobs. A good analogy might be listing "Bachelor of Artists" on a resume. –  drewbenn Aug 14 at 17:46
2  
Interviews are a two way street. If a prospective employer cannot see and empathise with the real, human person which exists beyond a simple and trivial typo in a resume, I think that would give me the information that I would not want to work for that employer! Especially since you're apparently not in a role where advanced copy editing is a necessary prerequisite. So, a couple of outcomes: if they are rational, they probably didn't spot it or they don't care. If irrational, not pointing it out means you'll see how they really treat it. So not pointing it out seems optimal to me. –  Cosmic Ossifrage Aug 14 at 19:41

7 Answers 7

up vote 66 down vote accepted

You're overthinking it. One small typo isn't going to rule you out as a candidate. And if it did, it would rule you out before you get to the interview stage.

If you do get an interview, your performance during the interview will be weighted much more heavily than what's on your resume. The point of the resume is to get you the interview; once it's done that there's really no need to revisit it or to hand out fresh copies to the interviewer while discussing the various mistakes and typos that you found. That's not what you're being brought in to interview about.

My suggestion is that you should:

  • Update your copy of the resume. It sounds like you already did this.
  • Bring an updated copy (or copies, if you'll be meeting with multiple interviewers) with you to the interview, in case you are asked for it. And don't bother giving it to anyone unless you are asked.
  • Don't mention anything about typos on your resume unless the interviewer brings it up first. Chances are they'll have much more relevant things to talk about.
  • Focus on doing well in the interview by providing professional, thoughtful and intelligent answers to the questions that the interviewer asks.
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4  
@SpeakUpImWearingATowel regarding aroth's 2nd and 3rd point: Acutally bring like 5 copies. 1 for yourself and one for up to 4 interview partners, which should be enough 99% percent of times. Indeed don't hand them out if you're not specifically asked, but you are kind of expected to have at least one for yourself. You might get slight bonus points if one of the partners does not have a copy. Offer one => "well prepared"-impression. And most importantly as said: Focus on the questions and conversation, not some typo from weeks ago. You're an engineer not a journalist. –  Mark Aug 14 at 9:54
1  
I would even be shocked if anyone even noticed the mistake. It wouldn't be picked up in Word. While in the context of the statement the word is wrong, all words are spelled the correct way, so unless something brings the brain's attention to the mistake most people would glaze over it. Now; If an English major reads it; thats another story ( for a varity of reasons ) –  Ramhound Aug 14 at 13:38
2  
@Ramhound For those familiar with the phrase this is an obvious mistake. No one lists themselves as an Engineering in Training. That's not a thing. But, Engineer in Training means the OP has passed their Fundamentals of Engineering exam and is on their way to being certified by the state in which they practice to legally sign drawings. The distinction is technically huge but quite a minor fix in a conversation. The OPS knows the difference so shouldn't sweat it. –  Brad Aug 14 at 21:36
1  
@Brad Agreed, the distinction is huge! Actually, I'm located in Alberta, Canada so it's a bit different up here. Anyone who meets the education requirements can apply to be an Engineer in Training (EIT). After obtaining 4 years of relevant engineering experience, passing the National Professional Practice Exam, and some other items, then they can become a Professional Engineer ('stamp drawings'). –  SpeakUpImWearingATowel Aug 15 at 0:03

If I receive an interview, should I:

hand out the updated resume admit to the interviewer about the mistake, but explain it has been resolved or:

don't hand out the updated resume hope the interviewer doesn't find out about the typo

While all resumes should be as perfect as possible, this is an extremely insignificant typo. It's unlikely to be noticed, and most likely isn't fatal even if caught.

You should always bring additional copies of your resume with you on every interview anyway, in case one of your interviewers needs a copy.

Make sure the resumes you bring are corrected, clean and have no typos at all. Be prepared to hand one out if the need arises. Otherwise, simply don't worry about it.

In the extremely unlikely event an interviewer notices and mentions the typo, you smile and quickly say "Good catch! I noticed that just after I submitted the resume online and unfortunately the site has no way to correct it. Would you like a fresh copy without that typo?" And if needed, hand over a corrected copy.

And of course submit a typo-free resume to the next online application system.

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During the interview for my current job, my employer pointed out that I'd typed the end of my last employment as being 31st of February (of course there is not 31st of Feb). He realised I meant the end of the month and we had a laugh about it. It may have actually helped my case.

If it comes up, justify it as briefly as possible and try to laugh it off, if you think it's only a small thing, he/she will too.

Find confidence in your errors. It's how we learn.

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2  
Find confidence in your errors. It's how we learn. That's a great point! I've learned to read out lout my resume and cover letter because spell and grammar checkers can't pick up on things like my typo. I'll also have more friends proof-read my resume and cover letter. –  SpeakUpImWearingATowel Aug 14 at 15:32

Forget about it unless someone asks. I would be surprised if anyone cares. They will care about your experience, and the general quality of your writing.

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It's a trivial typo. You'd hand out an updated resume if there were a significant change in your situation e.g. you gained experience in a key area or you acquired a hot skill.

If you hand in resumes over every typo, you'd be wasting everybody's time including your own and far from being a constructive act, your handing out of resumes is actually a distraction for everyone including you.

You're better off using your time on working and studying to make yourself a more compelling candidate at interviews.

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I wouldn't worry about. I can think of only 2 ways this can cost you a job, all else being equal:

  1. If you applied for a job that focuses heavily on grammar and correctness, like an editor at a publisher or news provider (which I very much doubt, given you have engineering on your resume);
  2. If the person interviewing you is extremely pedantic about grammar and wants everything perfect, in which case, count yourself lucky that you don't have to work under someone with demands like that.

So don't sweat it. It's fine to bring along a spare resume with the error corrected, but there's a high chance that there are more pressing matters for the interviewer.

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This typo is much less relevant for your job than how you deal with it. If you turn this typo into a problem, chances are that you are going to turn small matters into big problems in your job, too.

You are an engineer, not a mathematician. "There's always one more bug". A typo does not invalidate your resume like a logical fallacy invalidates a proof. If someone brings this up, you can immediately admit it. Compliment him on his good eye. If you want, you can mention that you discovered this, of course, right after submission.

Whatever story you choose: any resumes you have with you need to match it. If you act all surprised, the resumes you have with you need to have the mistake in it. If you say you found out yourself already, the resumes you have with you need to be fixed. Nobody expects you to never make mistakes, and nobody expects you to rub your mistakes all over the customers' faces. But once you discovered a mistake, you are expected to deal with it with due diligence and a proportionate response.

If you got your date of birth wrong by 10 years, you need to bring it up and ask for the resumes on file to be updated.

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