Today’s question is inspired by a reader who made a formatting blunder on his resume:
Last week I applied for a job and this week noticed a formatting error on the document I sent. Bullet points in one section were not aligned with previous sections, and there was a spacing difference in the bulleted lines. Should I send a new resume with an apology recognizing my mistake or let it go?
My recommendation to him ...
Let the resume mistakes go. While they may be noticeable and cause the recruiter or hiring manager to take your application out of the running, they could also very well ignore the errors—so why bring attention to them? Consider it a learning experience and move on to your next application rather than giving any more concern to this one.
Surely, none of us are without error, but in my experience it's best not to point out mistakes this early in the game. While an employer might interpret the error as a lack of attention to detail, their opinion may not change even if you point out and correct it yourself.
What others think about resume mistakes
Understanding that there may be differences of opinion among hiring managers in the sector, I started asking some fellow staff members and colleagues who work at other organizations, and the comments varied!
Some thought it wise to resend the resume—but rather than include an apology, label it an “updated copy” instead. Another colleague said they would not even look at the updated version, and that they focus more on the content of the resume rather than the formatting.
You'll also want to consider what type of job the application is for. You can imagine that resume mistakes in an application for a writing or communications role will likely be given more weight than if you are applying for a non-writing position.
Do your best to avoid resume mistakes altogether
Errors often happen when we are distracted, in a rush, or didn't take enough time to prepare our materials. All of this can be avoided if we pause, take some time to review, and even ask others to take a look at our resumes and cover letters with fresh eyes. You can also take a look at our article, 4 Common Resume Mistakes | Find Them, Fix Them, as well as our other Career Advice posts on resumes and cover letters.
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Author: Victoria Crispo