I had discovered that some of my earlier apps had a typo in it. How deadly are these little things? On the one hand, schools get a lot of applications, and like businesses and funding agencies, they might just toss anyone that gives them an excuse to toss their application. Then again, if they like your research and you have a good CV, are they really going to let something so small influence them? Just curious either way. Not that it is my intention to have a sloppy application :S
Date: 02 Dec 2011 19:49
Number of posts: 5
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I'm currently on a search committee, so I can provide some perspective on this.
In my view, typos are not "the kiss of death" that people make them out to be. Ideally, the application would be perfect, but let's get real… they happen. I can't imagine anyone tossing out an application because someone wrote "change" instead of "chance." That would be… stupid. I presume that typos are considered within the context of the whole application. If there is one minor typo in an otherwise perfect app, no problem. If there is a typo in a horrible application that is disorganized and the candidate is a poor fit, the typo would probably carry more weight.
Having said this, I think the nature of the typo is what really matters. For example, if your letter starts out by saying "I wish to apply for the Assistant Professor position at the University of Michigan" when you're actually applying to Michigan State University… you might be in trouble.
I'll wrap up by saying that I'm on the job market as well, and I have been short-listed by an institution that received a document from me with a minor typo in it. I'm still being considered, but maybe the typo will keep me from landing an interview. I highly doubt it, but I suppose it is possible.
Thanks :) Exactly what I wanted to hear! I have been very careful to change my cover letters for each job (that would look bad!). The typo I spoke of was fairly minor.
Funny story: I was accepted to a grad program even though I had included the wrong school in the opening sentence of my application letter. I was mortified when a professor brought it up during a (post-acceptance) campus visit. Perhaps it helped that the "wrong" school was a highly-respected program…
Still not recommended, though.
I have found one typo that went out to most of my schools and another that went out to several of them. They were both minor but it makes me wonder how many other minor typos there are in my materials. I got 2 campus interviews and a phone interview so far, but I also am not being considered at a number of places (according to the wiki). Obviously my typos were not the kiss of death everywhere but next time (if there is a next time) I will try to be more careful!