Monday, July 22, 2013

More Than A Good Résumé Is Needed To Get A Job

Dear Tazi:

I am currently unemployed and I don’t know why. My skills are current and my résumé is excellent. I am a hard worker and I have excellent references and letters of recommendations from previous employers. I lost my last job when the company went out of business, but that had nothing to do with me; I did my job accurately and well.

I asked some friends to review my credentials and let me know if I am doing something wrong, but they said everything looks good and that they will let me know if they hear of anything within their businesses. I get plenty of interviews, but never make the final cut.

I am starting to think that the fact that I am morbidly obese (5’3”/425 pounds) is what is keeping me from finding work. I think employers take one look at me and assume that I am lazy and unhealthy and will drive up their health care costs. This is simply not true; I have a gland problem that caused weight gain and have settled comfortably into my size. I hate dieting and would rather spend my free time doing low-impact exercise like gardening or going for a stroll than sweating at the gym. And yes, I do love dessert but I am not diabetic and my cholesterol is fine. I am considering trying to work these details into my next job interview, but I am afraid I would be getting too personal and make things worse. What are your thoughts on this problem?

Heavy Hitter

Dear Heavy Hitter:

Right now it is an awful time to be out of work for anybody; the economy is picking up slowly and hiring is occurring, but some areas of the country are still flat out financially. Detroit just declared bankruptcy! If you live in an area that is still hard hit by the recession this could be why you are having a difficult time finding work.

While there are some ignorant people out there who assume that overweight/obese means lazy and unhealthy, most hiring managers have seen enough of a cross-section of society to know not to judge someone by their physical traits. Even the thinnest person you know could be grossly out of shape on the inside.

The questions you need to ask yourself before interviewing are along the lines of how you present yourself. Are you well-groomed? Do you smell nice without smelling overpoweringly like perfume or cologne? Are your clothes well cared for, clean, and pressed? Do you stand with proper posture and look your interviewer in the eye when greeting them and answering their questions? Do you give direct answers or do you beat around the bush or ramble on before getting to the answer?

I suggest that you set up a mock interview or two with the friends and colleagues who reviewed your résumé and ask them to critique your presentation skills. This will not only give you the opportunity to practice these skills but will provide you with honest feedback about what you are doing right and what needs improvement.

When on a job interview, it is not a good idea to delve too far into the personal – especially when it comes to private matters like your health. However, many hiring managers will ask if you have nay hobbies or what you do for enjoyment; this will present the perfect opportunity for you to mention that you enjoy gardening, walking, and other healthy activities that show off your energy levels in a good way. Do not concentrate on your physical size, especially if it makes you feel in any way insecure. Show off your personality and your stellar job skills so employers can see that you are the fit they want for their company, regardless of what clothing size fits you.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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