My Name Keeps Me From Getting Hired; What Can I Do?


One of your blog posts tells employers to look up an applicant’s court records 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 man who has done some very bad things.

Unless it’s my age? I’m sending my resume to you. As you can see, I’ve a lot of experience in many fields but have condensed everything onto one page. So I’m well-qualified for most jobs.

What can I do about my court records’ problem? Thanks for any help you can give a frustrated job seeker.


Although most employers wait until after interviewing applicate before initiating background checks, most employers, particularly those vetting candidates for major jobs, look at trial court records and what applicants have posted on social media sites.

To remedy misassumptions, address it at the bottom of your resume. Place an asterisk note saying you can pass any background check as your record is absolutely clear, although another individual (unrelated to to) but with the same name has legal problems.

While some employers discriminate based on age; however, I think it’s more likely your resume doesn’t give an employer enough reason to interview you. You’ve crammed so many jobs onto one page, you don’t give enough information about any one job.

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.

Fix this by overhauling 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 expands 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.

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5 thoughts on “My Name Keeps Me From Getting Hired; What Can I Do?

  1. Great advice as always Lynne but there’s one other suggestion I would make – and that is to hire a professional resume writer/career coach to craft resumes that really fit the jobs he’s applying for. He may have to invest a few hundred dollars but it should make the difference not only to get an interview but succeeding in getting an offer once he gets an interview.

  2. Agreed. I didn’t mention it because I coach applicants on their resumes. I gave him some free suggestions.

  3. Wow! Great advice here. I hope our friend with a name that matches that of a person who’s been in trouble with the laws is able to get an interview and a good, new job with a good employer. Thanks for the advice on resumes and the proviso that it’s OK if it’s more than one page, and it’s best just to list jobs over the last 15 or 20 years if you have a lengthy work history–and it makes your age less obvious. Happy fourth!

  4. Would you suggest that someone abbreviate their name like J R Washington? I suggested a friend do this for the same criminal history with the same name situation but then also it has come to light that there are many issues with Prejudice related to names. I’ve heard some companies removing the names entirely and just agreeing to interview based off of what they see in the resume

    1. Hi, Cj, when an employer does a background check, they’ll look at the given name, aliases and initials and tie them to the birthdate. It’s more effective to address the issue upfront and let the employer know there’s someone else with the same name but a different history, so the employer isn’t blindsided and reaches a decision disadvantageous to an applicant simply based on a name. Good luck.

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