What’s in a name?

UNTJ4250- Race, gender and media

In class we talked about the story of Jose Zamora who found that he was not getting called back for job interviews, so he changes the name on his resume to Joe. He removed one letter in his name- already, I’m assuming, short for Joseph.

This reminded me of a conversation that I had with one of my peers that she brought up in a discussion group that we set up amongst friends.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 5.08.38 PM

This post broke my heart. This friend was the president of her PRSSA chapter, was an account director in her school’s student-run P.R. firm and had six internships/ jobs before she graduated last year. Professionals say that before graduating, students need to show leadership skills and experience. But she was still having difficulty finding a job she would enjoy and that she felt was qualified for. I am biased, because I am a little jealous of all she accomplished before she graduated. Obviously, there could be many other reasons that she wasn’t getting calls back for jobs.

But if you think you would be the perfect candidate for a job, and you have received good reviews from your bosses, and knowing that people do judge a book by it’s cover (in this case your resume) then what are you supposed to do in order to make your resume seem appealing or comfortable to employers?

This friend has a “different” last name (she is Nigerian). It’s not Johnson, it’s not Smith- it’s not English. So when looking at Jose’s story and thinking about my friend, it’s disheartening to know that no matter how much I might impress my current employers, or what my grades look like or what my references say about me (all good things I hope), there is a possibility that my resume might be pushed to the side because my name is “different.”

I love my name and I would never change it for anything to make someone else’s life easier. And if that’s the only difference between Sally Smith and name that’s not English is an issue of not being recognizable… then I don’t know what to do.

And my friend is in a job that she enjoys and that she believes she is deserving of (finally)!

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