Micro Mentor

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Dear MM,

I recently applied for an editing job, and I just realised that there was a typo in my application. What should I do?

Mortified

Dear Mortified,

There's no need for MM to tell you that you won't be getting an interview for that position. Any application for an editorial position must be flawless: this is a big part of your sales pitch.

Don't despair though. The next thing to do is to take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of tea and rethink your job application strategy. Read on.

First, you can view this as one of life's useful lessons (perhaps one that you'd rather not have learned). To be an editor is to understand that writers are human. And to be human is to be fallible. When putting together a job application, you are the writer of the application, the editor and the proofreader. It's a classic recipe for disaster - and a perfect example of why editors are needed.

So what should you do next? You are going to find yourself an editor, a proofreader or both. Every time - yes, every single time - that you submit a job application, ask someone else to proofread it, at the least.

You could pay someone to do this, or you could ask one of your editor friends or contacts. Try a buddy system: you proofread an editor friend's applications and your friend reads yours. If you're a newbie freelancer, and without much work at present, you and your friend could even use this as an opportunity to practise writing a brief and quoting, even if no money exchanges hands.

In the end, it's a good thing that you noticed the typo because this is one mistake that you'll be sure not to repeat.

MM