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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's in a name? 11

A few weeks ago I had mentioned that I am in the process of applying for as many jobs as possible. Naturally I think that I am a catch and all people should be breaking down my door in order to hire me...but that is not happening. 

What is the reason I'm not getting calls?  I don't think I am THAT awful!  

Then a light bulb went off inside my wee little head, allow me to explain!

I am married as you all know, and my hubby is from another country - Sri Lanka.  With that being said, our last name is unusual and hard to pronounce.  I don't want to say exactly what it is, but I will tell you all that it is 5 syllables, 10 letters, starts with a 'J' and ends with an'A'.  It goes without saying that it is not an easy name to read, say and it is obviously not "American". 

 So I got to my last name the preventing people from calling me or even looking at me resume?

   I decided to change my name on my resume to my maiden name.  My maiden name is 5 letters and of Polish decent, and 1 syllable.  It is easy to read, say and sounds very "American".

photo source

Last weekend I applied for 20+ jobs on one website.  I applied for about 5 of them twice.  I sent in two resumes - one with each last name. 
 Guess what?!  I got calls back, but all for my maiden name!

I know it isn't a perfect world, but what makes someone to decide to call one name over the other when everything else on paper is identical?  Am I better off just using my maiden name when applying for jobs?  I think so!

What else am I getting judged on?  My 'inter-racial' marriage?  The brand of shoes I'm wearing?  My blue eyes?  The city where I live?

The list could go on and on....and on......

What are your thoughts?


  1. This is an interesting post. I hope it has nothing to do with the difficulty/interracial part. I have both of my parent's last names hyphenated and its always been a headache. Almost cost me my admission to my university!! Sometimes I wish my last name was Doe.

  2. This is so interesting! You know my married last name, so I'm not gonna put it here :) But it's Slovakian and nobody, I mean NOBODY, pronounces it correctly. It doesn't look too weird, per se, and people assume they're pronouncing it right, but let's just say having a "z" in your name isn't too commonplace I guess.
    My maiden name was two syllables and as easy as they come. It's been a difficult adjustment having to spell and pronounce for everyone, so I can't imagine seeing that it was also preventing me from getting job calls! Some people are just crazies, I'd say.

  3. There is good research out there about this exact thing - identical resumes, different names - which show EXACTLY the outcome you describe. We most certainly do not live in a perfect world.

  4. WOW. I'm speechless. I would love to feature your story in an upcoming job series I'm writing. Email me! Also, thanks for sponsoring! ;)

  5. I hear ya but I was on the other end. I had to hire my interns at a previous job and I really actually had to try to make myself not be biased. You don't realize that you're even doing it but it definitely does happen. I think it's just because we're attracted more to what were used to seeing?

  6. Wow, this is a really interesting study you just did! I'm glad you're finally hearing back and it sucks that it seems entirely because of your last name. Wherever you get hired, they will be lucky to have you!

  7. Wow! That's terrible! Pretty awesome that you decided to resubmit with your maiden name to see if anyone responded. I'm biracial and although I've never experienced someone not hiring me, But i do get racial comments all of the time. The unfortunate society we live in. Blah


  8. Wow this is just crazy! I wouldn't ever think the last name would have something to do with it. I guess it's good thinking on your part to switch it up and give it a try...however, I'm shocked!

  9. Wow. I can't believe people would make a decision based on a name!

  10. That is so crazy! And sad that you can't even use your married name to apply for jobs. So silly!


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