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This is one of those human errors that I know, and we all know, every single one of makes yet still leaves me with a pit in my stomach and is incredibly embarrassing to make on a resume.

I submitted a resume this morning with a stupid error. I had listed my years in college as

1996--2000

but this caused the information to spill onto the next line, so I edited the resume and the now the information in the resume says I completed college in 1996 instead of 2000, so I appear four years older than I really am, and it makes my resume seem like there's a gap from 1996 to 2000.

Regardless of the error, be it a typo, formatting, or other careless mistake that significantly alters the perception of the candidate, what is the best way to move forward after the resume has already been submitted?

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    I'd be very surprised if it's even noticed but if it is and they ask you about it, admit it was a typo - it happens - sending a "corrected" version will just draw attention to it more. – Michael Jul 29 '13 at 14:40
  • At the same time, it's probably good to have a corrected version handy if they do ask about it (ideally one where that's the only real change), so you can explain the error and offer to share the updated copy. – Adam V Jul 29 '13 at 21:13
  • Welcome to the Workplace! Since this question is attracting close votes, I've edited it a bit to be a broader question about how to deal with mistakes in resumes. If you think I missed the point or this won't get answers to your question, please feel free to edit it. – jmac Jul 30 '13 at 0:26
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    That is an excellent point. Apologies for (carelessly and stupidly!) dumbing the question down. I've re-edited to emphasize that the careless error has a significant effect on perception (rather than being a misspelling or the like). If you want to improve it, you can click the edit button to make it even better! Great question by the way. – jmac Jul 30 '13 at 4:04
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    I believe you are thinking too hard about this. A "4 year gap" over 15 years ago isn't a red flag; it's not even something to notice. Also I'm failing to picture what role a 33 year old could perform that a 37 year old couldn't. – NotMe Jan 1 '15 at 21:09
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It is near impossible to not have a typo in a resume at some point because we’ve all read our resume five hundred times, and it’s ineffective to proofread something you’ve reread so much. On top of that, job hunting is often a repetitive, boring task, so it’s no surprise that people copy and paste and put the wrong information time to time

In all honesty there’s nothing you can do to fix a typo if the resume is sent. You look bad resending a resume to a hiring manager and saying “I had a typo in my resume.” Most likely the person won’t notice the typo anyway unless it is in their name.

  • What @JoeStrazzere said... I always have someone proof my resume. – enderland Jul 29 '13 at 17:37
  • @enderland: I did, several people. :-( – stupidhuman Jul 29 '13 at 17:42
  • @Michael Grubey: I disagree that this particular error won't be noticed. Please see my previous comment. – stupidhuman Jul 30 '13 at 19:30
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    I disagree almost entirely with this statement. Your resume is your only chance to get a company to consider even contacting you. You need to put a ton of time/energy into perfecting your resume so that it best reflects you as a candidate. If I were scouring through resumes, for sure resumes with typos and incorrect or inconsistent punctuation would turn me off to them. That said, there is a big difference to me between a misspelling/incorrect punctuation usage and a formatting error. Nowadays there is a ton of processing that occurs with resumes; I would overlook an extra dash. – jobseeker22 Feb 4 '15 at 15:54
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Personally I am more impressed with someone who finds their own mistake and owns up to it and does something to fix it that somone who tries to pretend it didn't happen. Further, at this point, it could be that no one human has yet looked at the resume, so sending in a correction seems like the lesser of the two risks to me. Of course there may be people who think differently than that, but would you really want to work for somone who would get angry about you making a mistake and fixing it?

1

I actually had a hiring manager point out a typo in my resume (for a computer programming position), and was still offered a position at the company. A single mistake is likely not going to be noticed, and even if it is, will likely not take you out of the running.

1

If you notice the error right after initial application how you correct your resume/CV depends on how it was submitted.

In many companies the website where you apply for jobs does allow you to change the resume or cover letter after you apply. Now it doesn't mean that they haven't already read it, but there is no harm uploading the corrected version.

It is likely that when a person reads the resume to prepare for the interview they will download a fresh copy of the resume.

0

This is a good case for enlisting your friends or a professional service to scrutinize your resume. At this point there is not much you can do. Do not repeat your mistake and make sure that you have at least four independent reviews of your resume.

0

Let it stand and hope it passes. You have four potential outcomes here.

  1. Current resume passes muster without the mistake being discovered (likely)

  2. Current resume is good enough for a job but the mistake prevents it (highly unlikely)

  3. Send in corrected resume and hiring manager considers it a plus point (possible)

    1. Send in corrected resume and hiring manager finds it negative and/or 'not quite right.' (unlikely)

The saying in this situation (not wholly apt but close enough) is

ask for forgiveness not permission

It is far easier and much more effective to conduct an action and then talk your way out of the situation or use it to build rapport than it is to highlight the problem up front and ask permission to pursue the action.

If the mistake is found, turn the negative into a positive by saying

I am really sorry, I edited my CV quite significantly for this role to highlight the strengths I felt the role needed (smile and pause). The truth is, on my third pass at proofreading I did spot the error and I have the corrected CV with me. (show new CV).

Then breathe and let the interviewer speak and lead the conversation. If they are any good at rapport building they will most likely shrug it off or even insert an anecdote about a mistake they made.

Good luck though.

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