A reader recently sent me this note: “I made a mistake on my cover letter, should I resend it?”
That made me think about the types of recoverable mistakes people make on their cover letters.
Spelling & Grammar Errors on Cover Letters
When I recruited, spelling and grammar errors were the most common cover letter errors I saw. There was usually at least one booboo per letter. Seriously.
Thus, I tended to give everyone a mulligan. From a practical perspective, it would have been impossible to complete searches if my clients and I had demanded perfect written English from candidates.
That said, I encourage you to use Grammarly (should be an affiliate) to spot your writing problems. Why? Because if you send an error-free letter, you will stand out in a good way.
Misaddressed Cover Letters
The other recoverable error I saw was the misaddressed cover letter. I received at least one on every search I did.
It happens when job seekers use the same cover letter template for multiple applications. Unfortunately, they go a little too fast and forget to change the recipient’s name and address in each letter.
Sadly, I can’t think of a time I interviewed an applicant who got my name wrong.
Rather, I wondered:
- Was the cover letter and resume meant for me?
- Did the letter and resume ever get to the right person?
Thus, think of misaddressing a cover letter as a deal killer unless you discover and fix the error.
Get it Right the First Time
Knowing that you’re human and English is hard, please spell and grammar check your cover letters.
After you’ve done that, double-check the addressee. If your materials don’t go to the right person, you probably won’t get an interview.
I Made a Mistake on My Cover Letter, Should I Resend It?
Now, circling back to the beginning of this post, that’s a great question!
I say, “Yes, definitely fix the error(s) and resend your letter.”
First, if you emailed your cover letter to the wrong addressee, all you have to do is fix the name and address and send it to the right person.
Second, if you’re not that lucky, apologize for addressing the wrong person. If the recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t forgive such a common mistake, you probably don’t want the interview anyway.
Third, if you made a spelling or grammar error, fix it, and resend your letter.
How Email Saves You from Your Cover Letter Mistakes
In the second and third cases, if you used email, you can note that you hit “send” too soon. That’s relatable because it’s something we’ve all done.
BTW, it also makes email a better platform than snail mail for your job search correspondence.
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Updated February 2021
© 2013 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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