What It’s Really Like To Attend An Interview With Typos In Your Resume

job-interview-getty-office-professional-work-career-square-w352While most recruiting experts will tell you that typos are a sure way to get your resume tossed into the “no” pile, you should also know that if a potential employer decides to look beyond your embarrassing blunder and invite you to interview with the company, you must be prepared to discuss your mistake. And it will likely be uncomfortable.

Days after my undergraduate commencement ceremony, I scored an interview with the publicity division of one of the Big Four publishing houses with the help of a relative who has worked for the publisher for years. When I received the call informing me that a recruiter was waiting for me to submit my application, I raced home and pulled up my resume. I quickly put together a cover letter and tweaked my objective before recklessly pressing send.

Haste makes waste.

Within an hour of submission, my phone was ringing. It was my cousin. HR received my resume, but there was just one problem: it contained a glaring error.

“Typos are like the kiss of death in publishing,” she told me.

I was mortified. There I was bragging about my newly earned English degree and my “sharp attention to detail” with a hideous typo in my objective statement. That was almost five years ago, and I still remember the error.

“To obtain a position at a position”

It was one of the most horrifying days of my professional life. I practically blew a golden opportunity because I failed to proofread before pressing send. Thankfully, they still chose to see me on the day of my interview, which was probably based solely off of the strength of my cousin’s relationship with the company.

Both the vice president and the senior director of the division were sweet, wonderful people, but they could not allow the interview to end without mentioning the dreaded typo. I tried to explain it away as best as I could while still taking accountability for the horrendous mistake. I tried to assure them that this would never happen again, but honestly, what reason did they have to believe me? If I wasn’t meticulous enough to make sure that the single document that would serve as my introduction to a potential employer was typo free, why would they be confident in my ability to positively represent the brand without causing public embarrassment?

Needless to say, I did not get the job; however, I should note that all hope was not lost. Despite my mistake, the senior director recognized something in me that she liked and referred me to another hiring manager with an opening to fill. She also circled back around when the initial position opened up again, but that’s a story for another day.

Moral of the story: When job hunting, competition is fierce so you must always put your best foot (and face) forward. It is your duty to convince your potential employer that they will not regret selecting you over another candidate. Something as small as a misspelled word or a run-on sentence could cost you your dream job.

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