I Made The WORST Mistake On My Job Application – What Do I Do?

Stressed Woman


Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866
June 23, 2024 at 8:38PM UTC

Job applications are intimidating and sometimes painful — especially when you make a very crucial error.

“I just did the worst thing you can do when applying for a job,” one FGB'er wrote to our Community

“I sent a job application (cover letter + resume) and after the fact, I realized I had the wrong company name in the cover letter. UGH! I DID tweak/personalize the letter, but I was working off an existing letter I'd written, and I failed to change the company name in one instance. I'm mortified. Is there anything I can do to rectify this mistake? Is it worth reaching out and acknowledging it, or should I just consider this a lost cause?,” she asked.

FGB'ers offered supportive comments, saying they had been there before.

“This is exactly when an ‘unsend’ button would be ideal,” one woman said.

“Oh wow. Yeah, not the best first impression. I think if you don’t say anything they’ll definitely overlook it. So I think it’s worth reach back out,” another wrote.

“I just did this 30 minutes ago. I am heartbroken. The position was so perfect for me. I have been trying to find more connections to the company through local networking and LinkedIn so that I can find an additional avenue in the door. I feel for you!” a third said.

One FGB’er with HR experience said it wasn't a lost cause...

“I used to work in HR and reviewed many resumes and cover letters. It's true that it probably didn't make the best impression. My two cents, if you're still very interested in the job, don't consider it a lost cause," she said. "If you submitted to an actual person's email, sometimes an admin assistant compiles all the applications for review and they may be willing to give you a second chance, so he/she could update your application info before it gets officially reviewed by the HR/hiring committee."

... And offered some advice.

"I would encourage you to go ahead and email them (i.e. whoever you submitted the application to)," she wrote. "In a brief and succinct email (4-6 sentences): apologize for the inconvenience; ask the them to politely disregard the previous submission as you attached a realized you submitted an outdated/incorrect resume and cover letter; ask them to kindly accept your updated resume and cover letter;  re-express your interest and qualifications for job position. And to back up that claim, I would also suggest you significantly update the info on the cover letter (i.e. correct the company name AND change some examples in the body paragraphs). Good luck!”

We agree with this FGB'er. 

It cannot hurt to reach back out and correct your cover letter. Everyone makes mistakes every once in a while, and it’s admirable that you are willing to admit your own. If you did not initially apply to someone directly, you can find the hiring manager’s email and reach out to them with your corrected application. This may also benefit you in that you are speaking directly with the person in charge, making your application more personal.

To all FGB readers out there, reach out to our Community for any work or personal related questions you may have. You're making a major mistake if you don't (pun intended). 

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