Imagine this: You’re in the middle of the application process for your dream job.
You spend hours scouring your resume and cover letter, scrubbing any errors or grammatical missteps from them. It appears your hard work is paying off as you correspond with hiring managers over email to figure out your next steps.
Then you see it: that glaring, imposing typo.
Should you send a quick, follow-up email correcting the error? Or ignore it with the hopes that the hiring manager will do the same?
Don’t panic: We’ve all been there. But the steps you take after discovering a major typo in a job application email could be the difference between getting the job and the hiring managers moving forward with a different candidate, three career experts tell MONEY.
It’s a tricky quandary, but career experts say it’s best to respond with a correction in most cases.
When to address the mistake
Glaring typos while referring to the recipient’s name, the company you’re applying to, or the position you’re vying for “absolutely” deserve a correction, says Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster and corporate recruiter.
It’s embarrassing to make a big error like that, but sending a follow-up email quickly with the proper correction could also show you’re willing to own up to your mistakes.
Sending a correction could “show that you are accountable and are able to recognize — and fix — mistakes as they occur,” says Blair Decembrele, a career expert at LinkedIn.
It can get a little more complicated when it comes to smaller typos. Sarah Stoddard, community expert at job recruiting site Glassdoor, says you should ask yourself if sending a follow-up note would draw more attention to the error.
“You don’t want to be the candidate that floods a hiring manager’s inbox with emails,” she adds.
Some workplaces aren’t so forgiving, however. As a corporate recruiter, Salemi says she has seen circumstances in which a prospective applicant made an error in her thank-you note after an interview.
“If she corrected it, would she have gotten the job? Who knows,” says Salemi.
A graceful way to respond
An appropriate follow-up email should be concise, sweet, and to the point, says Salemi. “Keep it short,” she says. “Don’t belabor it.”
Salemi suggested drafting an email like this:
“Acknowledge the error and move on,” Salemi says.
Learn from your mistake
These kinds of errors — and having to correct them — shouldn’t become a regular habit.
“Don’t let it get to that point,” Salemi says. “Pause. We’re in such a rush when we’re applying to jobs, but that doesn’t mean you need to hit send right away.”
Instead, you should develop a more attentive and slow editing process, career experts say.
Reading your emails out loud to yourself “encourages you to slow down so you can better proof your content,” Decembrele says. Or have a friend or family member proofread it, Stoddard suggests. That extra time spent re-reading your drafts could save you from another embarrassing situation.
“Whether you hit send on that email now or 10 min from now could be the difference from a perfect email versus one with a couple of errors,” Stoddard says.