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I recently applied for a great job. I'm scheduled for an interview tomorrow and objectively it seems like I'm a good fit for the company and have a fair shot at the position.

I made a HUGE mistake in my cover letter that I would consider irreconcilable. I used the wrong company name in the résumé where I indicated that I would be a great fit for [insert incorrect company name here].

It was an honest mistake, I was applying for multiple jobs at the time and somehow missed it. It shows a big lack of care and attention to detail which is usually not my method of work and if I were an interviewer I would honestly be offended by it so it's something that I really want to fix.

If I attempt to be honest and point it out myself and explain what happened I could:

  • Possibly impress the interviewer and be able to send a new cover letter for the next stages of interviews
  • Point out something that would have gone otherwise unnoticed and end my chances of getting this awesome job
  • Not make a difference because the interviewer is really cool and understands that people make mistakes

If I ignore it I risk the mistake being found by someone else which is bad for obvious reasons and if I make it to later interview stages my CV and other information will be under greater scrutiny.

So what should I do?

  • So did you get offered an interview before or after you sent the cover letter? – Jane S Dec 3 '15 at 5:30
  • I was offered the interview after I sent the cover letter – Craig Lafferty Dec 3 '15 at 5:33
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    In that case, forget about it. – Jane S Dec 3 '15 at 5:37
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    if no one is complaining, it never happened ;) – Kilisi Dec 3 '15 at 6:23
  • If it comes up in the interview, be surprised about it and maybe make a light joke wondering if [other company] got a kick out of the wrong cover letter. This isn't even something to get offended by. It happens so often with the number of jobs people have to apply to these days. I'd be surprised if anyone even read your cover letter. – Joel Etherton Dec 4 '15 at 19:08
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As per the comments:

I was offered the interview after I sent the cover letter

Honestly, they would see this a thousand times. If you have been offered an interview subsequent to sending the cover letter, then they've seen it and ignored it. I suggest you not worry about it further and try to do your best in the interview.

If, for some reason, they bring it up in the interview, just say something like:

Oh, sorry! As you can imagine I have been applying for a couple of jobs and just made a mistake.

Don't make a big deal out of it. They clearly haven't, so there's no point you worrying about it any further :)

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    This is a big relief! – Craig Lafferty Dec 3 '15 at 6:55
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    It might even be an incentive for the correct company, as they can clearly see they are not the only one in the running for being your next employer, so they have to be quicker and with a better offer than the "wrong" company :) – Juha Untinen Dec 3 '15 at 7:31
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    It would be rare that you are looking only at one company at a time. – gnasher729 Dec 3 '15 at 9:13
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    A lot of the time the interviewers have never even seen the cover letter. – HLGEM Dec 4 '15 at 16:40
  • Would you recommend the same "I suggest you not worry about it further" advice if OP was not yet offered an interview? – Dukeling Mar 24 '18 at 16:09
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Cover letters are far less important than they used to be, depending on what field you are in. It's possible they didn't even read it, or they scanned it so fast, they didn't notice it. Worst case, it's a little embarrassment that comes up in a humorous way at your interview. But it's obviously not a deal breaker because you got the interview. Stop worrying about it and focus on the interview.

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    When I help out with hiring we barely look at cover letters. Sometimes my (now ex) boss would just tell me to download all of the resumes and put them in one spot, at which point the people looking through them didn't ever see the cover letters. I can also honestly say that there are no "deal breaking" mistakes for me because I don't think a single cover letter / resume mistake says much of anything substantial either way. – Andrew Whatever Dec 4 '15 at 18:46

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