Fix It Plan

“Dear Career-Resumes®,

After reading your blog entry on accuracy of the header section of the resume, I double checked my resume to make sure I had everything correct. Horror of horrors – I found that I had transposed two numbers in my telephone number. I’ve already sent out about 50 resumes with this mistake plus uploaded it to several job boards. What do I do now?

Goofed Up in Colorado”

Dear Goofy (sorry, couldn’t resist),

Having the wrong phone number is a big mistake on a resume, but you can turn it around to be a benefit for you in your job search by correcting your mistake. This actually gives you a legitimate reason for a second contact with potential employers, plus an additional cover letter explaining your actions.

First of all, correct the resume and then have someone else proofread the entire document for you, preferably someone who is proficient in writing and language. If you missed one mistake, it is likely you missed more. Even professional writers often employ a proofreader to review their work before publication; after having worked with a document for hours, it is difficult to see errors in your work.

Next, resend the resume to the same employers you sent it to before. In the accompanying cover letter, make sure you note that you noticed your error after sending the resume and that you wanted to send a corrected version. Use the cover letter to reiterate your qualifications for the position and your interest in the organization. Make sure the header in the cover letter is correct and shows the correction, while also writing the correction into the body of the cover letter.

The following is a very basic suggestion:

“Dear Mr. Jones,

Recently, I submitted a resume for your review for the position of XYZ. After sending the document, I noticed I had overlooked an error in my contact information. Since I am usually a stickler for details, this is distressing, not to mention a bit embarrassing, especially since I hope to make a good initial impression. Please accept the attached resume with correction to replace the previous document.

I’d like to take this opportunity to reaffirm my interest in…”

Usually, “throwing yourself on your sword” (so to speak) will work to help alleviate a goof in a resume. The hiring manager is a human, too, and can understand a mistake in transposing numbers, a mistake that doesn’t show up on your spell checker. What is unforgivable is not correcting the mistake. Employers look for people who can admit when they have made a mistake and who hasten to rectify the situation rather than ignore it. You can potentially turn this around to your benefit.

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