A Resume By Any Other Name…

ResumeAre you having trouble finding a job, or even getting an interview?  Are you baffled as to why you’re not getting a call back?  Someone once told me they suspected it was because of the name they put on the top of their resume.  Do you have an unusual or ethnic sounding name that is preventing you from opportunities for employment?

First of all, no employer should be refusing to hire you or meet you for an interview based purely on your name.  If you know that this is going on, check out your rights!  Check out this document titled “Human Rights in British Columbia”, published by the provincial government that outlines proper hiring practices that don’t go against a person’s human rights:


Second, you need to ensure you have a top quality resume.  Have a professional read it over.  You can get free career coaching at a WorkBC centre located near you.  There is much debate on how to handle your ethnic sounding name.  Some career experts question why you would want to work for a company that will discriminate against you because of your name.  If you’re sure the quality of your resume isn’t the issue then other career experts suggest changing your name somehow to at least have a chance to meet the employer and make a personal first impression.  Here are some ideas to alter your name if you choose to go that route:

  • Use initials only – followed by your last name
  • Use your first initial and your middle name in full if that one is not ethnic sounding, followed by your last name
  • Shorten your first name if it’s very long and ethnic sounding but only if that results in something that makes sense as a name
  • Use your “nickname” your peers, friends, colleagues, etc. consistently use for you. This works only if your nickname is an actual name, not something goofy

What’s in the power of a name?  The Digerati Life blog wrote a great piece on this awhile back.  It’s a good place to read more about this topic.


This article was written by Miranda Vande Kuyt a self-employed career development practitioner and communications consultant.

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