Really consider companies an honest resume

How do I deal with a deal breaking mistake on a cover letter or resume?

I recently applied for a great job. I'm scheduled for an interview tomorrow and objectively it seems like I'm a good fit for the company and have a fair shot at the position.

I made a HUGE mistake in my cover letter that I would consider incompatible. I used the wrong company name on my resume stating that I would be a good match for [insert wrong company name here].

It was an honest mistake, I applied for multiple jobs at the time and kind of missed it. It shows a huge lack of care and attention to detail, which is usually not the way I work, and if I were an interviewer I would be honestly offended, so it's something I really want to fix.

If I try to be honest and point it out myself and explain what happened, I could:

  • Possibly impress the interviewer and be able to send a new cover letter for the next stages of the interviews
  • Point out something that would otherwise have gone unnoticed and end my chances of getting this great job
  • Don't make a difference because the interviewer is really cool and understands that people make mistakes

If I ignore it, I run the risk of someone else finding the bug, which is bad for obvious reasons. If I make it to the later stages of the interview, my résumé and other information will be scrutinized.

So what should I do?

Jane S ♦

Were you offered an interview before or after you sent the cover letter?

Craig Lafferty

I was offered the interview after I sent the cover letter

Jane S ♦

In that case, forget about it.

Kilisi

if nobody complains, it never happened;)

Joel Etherton

If it comes up in the interview, wonder about it and maybe make a slight joke and ask yourself if [other company] got a kick out of the wrong cover letter. This is not even something that can be offended. It happens so often how many jobs have to apply nowadays. I would be surprised if someone would read your cover letter at all.

Jane S.

As in the comments:

I was offered the interview after I sent the cover letter

In all honesty, they'd see that a thousand times. If you were offered an interview after the cover letter was sent, they saw it and ignored it. I suggest you stop worrying and try to do your best in the interview.

If they bring it up in the interview for some reason, just say something like:

Oh sorry! As you can imagine, I applied for a couple of jobs and only made one mistake.

Don't make a big deal of it. You clearly don't have it, so there's no point in worrying about it any more :)

Craig Lafferty

This is a great relief!

Juha Untinen

It could even be an incentive for the right company as they can clearly see that they are not the only ones in the race to be your next employer. Therefore they have to be faster and with a better offer than the "wrong" company :)

gnasher729

It is rare that you are only looking at one company at a time.

HLGEM

The interviewers have often never seen the cover letter.

Dukeling

Would you recommend the same advice, "I suggest you don't worry," if OP has not yet been offered an interview?

mohair

Cover letters are far less important than they used to be, depending on the area in which you are in. They may not even have read it, or they may have scanned it so quickly that they didn't notice. At worst, it's a little embarrassment that shows up in your interview in a humorous way. But it's obviously not a deal breaker because you got the interview. Stop worrying about this and focus on the interview.

Andrew Whatever

When I help recruit, we hardly ever look at cover letters. Sometimes my (now ex) boss just told me to download all of the résumés and put them in one place. At that point, the people who saw through them never saw the cover letters. I can also honestly say that for me there are no "deal breaking" errors because I don't think a single cover letter / resume error says much of anything material.