I was exploring the job-application portal for a particular employer I am very interested in and foolishly decided to see what the application process was like by "starting" an application, assuming that I would stop before submitting the application. However, on the site, it turns out that an inopportunely-named "update profile" button actually submits the application. What's even worse is that there's no way to retract the application on the site.

What can I do mitigate this stupidity, if anything?-- I could e.g. try to e-mail the company and tell them that I accidentally sent them an incomplete application I can't complete right now, but I've learnt that these kinds of inconvenient mistakes only become worse when you notify important people of them. Alternatively, I could e.g. upload a CV and cover letter which make note of this by e.g. stating "application accidentally submitted prematurely; Will update with more accurate information shortly." Nothing I can think of makes me look like anything better than a blundering idiot, however, and HR people generally throw away anything even remotely inconvenient anyway.

  • So you do want to apply, but your CV or resume is not optimal right now and you would like to submit that optimal CV? – DarkCygnus Oct 16 '17 at 19:57
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    Yes, I wanted to do more research/detective work on the position and tailor my CV/cover letter to the position I want. Also, I can't change jobs just now anyway... – errantlinguist Oct 16 '17 at 19:58

What can I do mitigate this stupidity, if anything?

First I must tell you to take it easy with you; it was a simple mishap and understandable in some way.

I would recommend you write them an email as soon as possible, indicating that you prematurely submitted your application and briefly excusing yourself.

Also, I would send a copy of your "optimal" CV along with that mail just in case, so they can take it into consideration right away if possible (and to spare an extra main and waiting time if they are willing to receive it that way).

This implies that your optimal CV is already tailored, so you should do that first. Depending on their email reply you can know if they acknowledged your small mistake, or if they don't reply you can then proceed to re-submit your application with the correct CV this time.

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  • The trouble is that it will take at least 2-3 weeks to get the information/contacts I need to write the best CV/cover letter as possible, which I feel is too long to wait... – errantlinguist Oct 16 '17 at 20:07
  • Hmm, well try to see if you can tailor it faster. You can send the mail without the CV, it is ok, sending along it would spare you extra waiting time between replies – DarkCygnus Oct 16 '17 at 20:15

(1) It's not your stupidity, it's the stupidity of the site and form designer. They're going to get a lot of junk applications with that site.

(2) If you're not currently ready to accept a job anyway, then there's no hurry to fix your current application. Just submit a new one when you're ready.

(3) Nobody expects much from the slushpile that results from such a wide net cast by a site like this. Your inadequate application will be glanced over and discarded.

In short, stop worrying that you can't retract a sub-optimal application. It's not your fault. Your optimal application will get the attention it deserves when you eventually submit it.

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  • @errantlinguist That isn't true. Unless you were exclude it for some major reason (ex: Criminal Record, Security Clearance). You maybe not right for one position but perfect for a different one. Or you were the 2nd best candidate and lost the position to a better person. – Juan Carlos Oropeza Oct 16 '17 at 20:38

Don't overthink this. When you are ready with your "optimal" application, just submit a new one. Your application is highly unlikely to be the only junk application they receive with such a confusing UI. Don't draw any more attention to it.

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