It’s almost too easy to apply for a job online these days. Simply load up your resume online and hit “send.” Of course, that’s how online resume snafus proliferate.
Online resume submissions can lead to a unique set of embarrassing stumbles. But you don’t want to miss out on a fantastic job opportunity simply because you had an online resume snafu. So, here’s how to avoid them.
The best way to avoid a host of online resume snafus can be summed up in one word: care. Most of these won’t happen if you’re thoughtful about how you build your online resume, and cautious about sending it to prospective employer. Our resume creation tools can help.
Here are the most common online resume snafus jobseekers make, and how you can avoid them:
Attaching the Wrong File
The simplest resume submission request of all, such as, “Please email us a cover letter and attach your resume as a Word file,” can set us up for one of the silliest submission mistakes of all time.
If you accidently attach an outdated version of your resume, a half-finished angry letter to your ex, or the first draft of your Star Wars fanfiction, don’t panic. Calmly check your email functions to see you have the option to delete or recall the message within the first few seconds. If you can’t do that, just start over.
As you send your second submission, don’t over-apologize or refer to the first (unless your mistaken file is very similar and easily confused with your first one). Just soldier forward. These little blunders often matter less than we think.
Formatting Translation Problems
Here’s a common scenario that perplexes job seekers all the time: The employer’s website says “click to upload your resume”, so you do. Then a box or screen appears with jumble of text and symbols mashed together with lines from your resume, or the text of your resume appears, but it’s crowded together with no spaces or line breaks. What now?
If you like, you can left justify every line of the de-formatted text so it looks a little clearer in the box. Your words will be readable if not pretty. But usually there’s no reason to do this. Prospective employers will probably see a properly formatted version of your resume, not the mess you’re seeing on your screen now.
In either case, don’t stress. In the end, your text will matter more than your formatting.
The best way to avoid a host of online resume snafus can be summed up in one word: care. Most of these won’t happen if you’re thoughtful about how you build your online resume, and cautious about sending it to prospective employer.
Let’s say you submit your resume file through an Application Tracking System (ATS) or proprietary employer submission system and something goes wrong, maybe at Step #4. You receive an error message.
As you try to fix the problem, another error message. The system tells you to “try again.” You do. Then you’re mysteriously shifted back to the beginning of the process (or booted out of the system altogether) with no explanation.
Instead of giving up, contact the company directly. Find the company’s contact information online and call the HR department. If an email address is provided for someone in HR, send an email to someone on the inside who can set you straight or give you a workaround. Use your determination and problem solving skills to find a different way to get your information to the employer.
Recognizing a Mistake After the Fact
You find a job post you like, skim the application directions, attach your resume as a Word file to your email, click send, and move on with your day. Only hours later do you return to the post for another look and realize that you should have submitted a PDF instead.
Should you shrug it off and just hope your mistake doesn’t hold you back? You could, and it probably won’t. But if you really want the job, start over. There’s nothing wrong with sending two emails with two different types of file attachments. Chances are, the employers will simply use the correct one and throw the other one away.
If you chose the wrong format or file, avoid trouble next time by using our resume builder.
During the hiring process, employers can be extremely judgmental, exacting, and rule focused. It’s not uncommon for an employer to spot a single typo in an excellent applicant’s resume and end the candidacy on the spot. (Of course, this is more likely if the employer has hundreds of applicants choose from instead of two).
But as nitpicking as they may seem, employers can be forgiving and accommodating as well. After all, most wise hiring managers are looking for the best candidate for the job, and if that person makes a small submission mistake, they know well enough to look past it.
Stay cool, stay patient, start over, and give your employers—and yourself—the benefit of the doubt. And if all else fails, take a breath and move on to the next available job.
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