How to recover from a mistake on your resume

Posted on Posted in Resumes

I sat across the table from Joe* with a copy of my resume in my slightly sweaty hands.

“So, tell me about your experience at ABC Corp.,*” Joe said.

As I glanced down at my resume, my heart started to race.


My last bullet point under ABC Corp. was an exact duplicate of the bullet before it.

I quickly collected myself and started to answer the question.


This is a true story! Luckily, Joe didn’t notice the mistake on my resume and offered me the job anyway.


More importantly, I learned two valuable lessons.

  1. Always proofread your resume.
  2. Always have someone else proofread your resume.


Even if you hire a professional resume writer, you should still carefully check your resume for errors. We’re human, too! We’ve had our eyes on your resume for hours, and although we go over the document multiple times to check for mistakes, we might miss something. Always make sure you’re confident with the quality of your resume before submitting applications.


If you’ve already submitted your resume through an online job posting, it can be difficult or impossible to swap it out for a corrected copy. Unfortunately, this can land you in the “no” pile, but keep in mind that resumes are typically skimmed over for mere seconds. It’s possible your mistake will slip by here.


If you get a response to your application, I recommend telling the recruiter that you’d like to provide an updated copy of your resume. They may ask why – say you’ve made a few minor changes and would like to make sure they have the most up-to-date version. They will usually accept the new copy, distribute it to the interviewers, and you’ll be in the clear.


If you’re invited for an in-person interview, always bring printed copies of your resume with you. Often, interviewers won’t have time to print your resume in advance and may want to refer to it throughout your conversation. This is your chance to get the corrected copy into their hands.


If you notice the mistake during the interview, try to draw the interviewer’s attention away from that section of your resume. You should be making eye contact for much of the time anyway, and you can try to transition to another subject.


If you’re asked about the mistake, own up to it. You may not get the job, but admitting to your mistake will earn the interviewer’s respect.


*People names and company names have been changed to totally made up things!
Have you ever made a mistake on your resume? Did it cost you the job? Share your experience in the comments below.

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