How to get a job when someone with your name has a criminal record

Question: 

A couple of weeks ago, you told employers to look up applicants on Court View before hiring them. When I read that, I realized that may be why I’ve sent out 50 resumes and never gotten one interview. I have the same first, middle and last name as a woman in town who has done some very bad things.

Or is it something else like maybe my age? I’m sending you my resume. As you can see, I’ve a lot of experience in many fields and have managed to condense everything into one page. So what can I do about the Court View problem? Thanks for any help you can give a frustrated job seeker.

Answer: 

While some employers, particularly those vetting candidates for high-profile jobs, do look at Court View and other social media sites before going further, most employers wait until after they’ve interviewed applicants to initiate background checks.

You can fix the Court View problem with an asterisk on the bottom of your resume that says you have the same name as another Anchorage resident who has Court View problems, but that your record is absolutely clean.

Some employers do discriminate based on age; however, I think it’s more likely your resume doesn’t give an employer enough reason to interview you. Because you’ve crammed so many jobs onto one page, you don’t give prospective employers enough bottom-line information concerning what you’ve done for your employers to interest them. Further, you’ve listed so many types of jobs, your resume makes a prospective employer worry that you don’t know what type of job you want.

So overhaul your resume. Detail what you’ve done for past employers in specific terms such as “streamlined procedures resulting in an ability to increase the number of customers served.” Although doing so may expand your resume to a page and a half, that’s OK; the one-page resume suggestion went out a decade ago. Also, cut the number of jobs you include to those you’ve worked in the past 15 to 20 years, thus making your age less obvious and your job choices appear less scattered.

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com.

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