At some time or another we’ve all done something embarrassing that we’ve immediately regretted. Usually, it’s easy to get over these small humiliations fairly quickly, but what do you do if a potential career is on the line? If you’ve ever sent the wrong resume to a potential employer, you’ve most likely asked yourself this question. Luckily, this is not the end of the world, but there are some steps you can take to minimize the fallout.

Assess the Situation

First, you will need to determine the nature and extent of the damage. If you sent a resume and noticed several days later that there were a couple of typos, there is not much you will be able to do about it, and it’s probably not worth losing sleep over. In fact, contacting an HR department to send a new resume in this case might only draw attention to errors that they may even have overlooked. If you sent a resume targeted to a specific company to the wrong place, however, then it will be necessary to follow up with the employer and send the correct version.

Contact the Company

If the situation is fairly serious (such as in the latter scenario above), it’s best to contact the company as soon as possible. In this case, e-mail is generally the most practical means of communication, since it will allow you to briefly explain the issue and attach the new resume, all in one easy step. You can ask for receipt of confirmation, but be sure to keep the message short and to the point. For instance, the message might read something like this: “On June 22nd, I regrettably sent in an incorrect version of my resume for the open accounting position. Attached is the correct version. If you could confirm receipt of this, it would be greatly appreciated. I apologize for any inconvenience.”

Minimize Detail

It is also advisable to keep the details of your error to a minimum, since you want to draw the least amount of attention to your oversight as possible. Most companies have probably had a number of people send in an incorrect resume, and will think nothing of it—but if you provide a long and drawn-out story explaining why you sent in the wrong document and where it was supposed to go, then you will most likely be remembered for your mistake rather than for the content of your actual resume. Simply provide the apology above, correct the mistake, and move on.
Additionally, when sending in a corrected resume, it is never a good idea to mention the company the original document was meant for. Even if you are applying for a number of positions simultaneously, you want an employer to believe that their company is your top priority. Revealing that you are sending your resume elsewhere may cause employers to de-prioritize your application, as they might assume you have other and potentially more desirable options.