In a Job Search and Elsewhere, Proofread. And Proofread Again.

Q. I tried to speed up my job search by modifying form letters to a number of agencies, but I forgot to change the original agency name within the 20 emails I sent to other agencies. So far, I have only heard from a couple firms and they didn’t mention anything about this mistake. Should I send follow up emails to the remaining firms apologizing or just ignore the situation hoping they didn’t notice?

A. ¬†Thanks for this testimonial on the importance of proofreading everything you do, especially when a prospective job is the potential prize. It’s also important if you’re currently employed and want to keep your job.

I recall an ultimate proofreading error from several years ago when an agency was making a pitch to my CEO and PR team. Four pages into the deck, the CEO closed the pitch book, pushed it away and glared at the screen. When the pitch ended and the agency reps left, the CEO told us to never again work with that particular agency. Even though the pitch allegedly was an original idea, the fourth page carried a line about this program being perfect for a another consumer products company–not our ours. Clearly, the search-and-change feature didn’t catch a critically important change on the PowerPoint, and others in the agency didn’t notice the blatant error. It was impossible for that agency to recover, but I don’t think your situation is as dire.

In your case, follow up with a new and corrected email to each of the agencies. Put the word “Cover Letter and Resume–CORRECTED” in the subject line. No need to mention the particular error. (This new subject line even might get more attention than the original correspondence.)





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