So, this week I was inspired by a tale that was shared on Facebook. Apparently this person had been sending out emails to prospective employers with his resume included as an attachment. After sending out several resumes he discovered that he had in fact been sending out his daughter’s book report which had been inadvertently saved over his resume. Ouch! Bet he’s not going to get a call back based on that.
This is also a perfect example of why you should customize your resume for each and every position you apply for. (I know I’ve written articles about this. Go ahead and search WorkBloom for them!) While the positions he applied to were probably similar in nature, his resume should have undergone subtle changes to meet the specifics of each position. If he would have done that he would not have blindly attached the wrong document to his email. Okay, back to the point!
Is there anything you can do to redeem yourself from a resume blunder? Of course there are things you can do to try and save yourself from becoming the HR department’s laugh of the day. However, there are no guarantees that you can undo the damage done by submitting a resume (or what you thought was a resume!) with an error. There are many variables that come into play that ultimately decide whether or not your resume mistake is the kiss of career death.
You can hope that whoever reads your resume is not very observant or if the mistake is minor you can hope for it to go unnoticed. In the case of a minor blunder there is a chance that even if it is noticed by the reader it may be forgiven due to the insignificance of the error. A missing period? I wouldn’t sweat it. Using to when you should have used too? Don’t keep yourself up at night worrying about it.
Alternately, you can cross your fingers that whoever reads your resume has a sense of humor, as in the case of the book report. Looking at a child’s book report when you are expecting to be reviewing a resume can be received as either a) humorous – hey we’ve all been there, right? or b) a one-way trip to the nearest recycling bin. This is a mistake that will definitely be noticed so you can either cut your losses or try and redeem yourself. Your best bet is to resubmit your correct resume with a succinct explanation: I made some changes to my resume and am resubmitting the most up to date version or I inadvertently attached the incorrect document, please accept my apologies and the correct document.
How a mistake is received has much to do with the person reading your resume and that isn’t something you can control. In some cases no matter how minor the mistake or how professionally you deal with it if you have a stickler reading your resume there may be nothing you can do. Some hiring managers may have a higher tolerance for a simple error or a more forgiving nature for a larger mistake.
If a mistake happens to you the best you can do is act rationally, remain professional, and pray to the resume gods!
by Megan Koehler