Resume & Cover Letter

Help! I Submitted The Wrong Job Application

By: Mariah Rogers
Jan 7, 2021 • 6 min read

Help! I Submitted The Wrong Job Application.

In the midst of filling out job applications and tailoring resumes, cover letters, and more, your desktop is likely cluttered with documents. It can be hard to keep everything organized, especially if you are filtering through drafts or applying to more than one job. No matter how hard you try to keep it all straight, accidents happen. Submitting incomplete application materials or sending off the wrong documents entirely can be a real nail biter. In this blog, we will be walking you through a true job searching crisis. Every candidate’s worst nightmare…submitting the wrong job application.

*Cue The Panic*

The worst part of this whole experience is reviewing your submitted materials and coming to the realization that something isn’t quite right. Maybe you mixed up the job postings or only sent a chunk of your perfectly-crafted resume. Whatever the case might be, this situation is sure to tie your stomach in knots.

Take a breath and try to remain calm. Remember that the sooner you address the issue, the better chance you have at resolving the problem. Don’t wait to come up with a plan days after the incomplete application has already landed on your potential employer’s desk. Instead, you want to act quickly and professionally. You have a few options, which we will cover next.

woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytime

How Was The Application Submitted?

There is a chance you might be able to fix this problem all on your own. (Phew!) It will just require you to pay attention to details included in the application submission portal. Take a moment to see if the portal allows for multiple submissions to be made. If so, you’re in luck! Simply upload the new documents as quickly as possible so that the employer knows which materials are correct. The system may only hold one set of materials per applicant. In this case, your incomplete documents will be deleted, which is the best-case scenario.

If You Used Email

If you submitted your application via email, things might get a bit tricky. First, we recommend you delay the send-time of your emails to avoid this issue reoccurring in the future. You can simply adjust this feature in settings and prompt your device to wait up to 30-seconds to actually send the email, even after you’ve pressed the “send” button.

Next, you’ll want to immediately reply to the same email you just accidentally submitted. Be sure to reply on the same chain instead of sending an entirely new email. This makes the incident less noticeable and confusing for the employer. Be sure to include the correct documents in the new message and include a short blurb of text such as:

“There seems to be a discrepancy in the previous documents I sent. Please see the attached materials to go along with my formal application. I apologize for the inconvenience!” 

Try to be as composed and professional as possible when sending the correct documents. Mistakes happen. So try to make your correction seamless!

the wrong job application

How Bad Was The Error

Of course, there are some cases that are more extreme than others. If only half of your resume sent and you did not notice until now, the error is fixable and doesn’t reflect too poorly on your image as a candidate. On the other hand, if you submit a document that refers to the wrong position or incorrect company name, this is a bigger issue.

If you send a document that contains a minor spelling or grammar error, you must evaluate how important this mistake is and if it is worth fixing. Sometimes, a follow-up email can draw more attention to the error. Try to seriously consider how the mistake reflects on your candidacy for the position.

If you made a more large-scale error, it is crucial for you to correct the mistake. This will help patch-up your application and give you a chance at getting hired. Keep in mind, however, that some errors might make an employer decide to no longer move forward with your application. If this happens, take it as a learning experience and keep moving forward in your job search. Be extra careful next time you go to submit your documents!

Reinvent Your Process 

Next, you’ll want to make sure this error does not happen again in the future. Instead of blaming yourself, try to make your application process more organized. You can start by labeling your documents more clearly. If you make corrections or revise certain materials, only keep the latest drafts on your desktop. The older ones should be stored in a different location, such as Google Drive. Make sure to clearly label each and every document, so you know exactly what it is.

Practice this in both your personal and professional life so that organization becomes second nature. This way, you’ll never be able to mess up an application again since you won’t have immediate access to the documents!

the wrong job application

Utilize Your Resources 

Before submitting an important document such as a job application, you should always ask someone to look over it for you! Sometimes, all it takes is a second set of eyes to notice mistakes you may have missed. Ask a parent, friend, roommate, or classmate to review your materials prior to the due date.

Be sure to also put your documents through a spelling and grammar checker, such as Grammarly, to catch any mistakes. This tool even has a feature that can help you clarify your wording and simplify your phrases! Put all of your resources to good use.

Have you ever submitted the wrong job application? If so, how did you handle this situation? Connect with us on social media and let us know!

More to Explore:

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Owning Up To Mistakes in the Workplace 

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