I'm starting my job hunt now and I've realized I might have a problem on my hands. In my country my name is strictly given to males. But in the UK (where I'm searching) my name is mostly given to females.

Could this be a problem? Should I address this potential source of confusion on my CV/cover letter? As far as I know putting your gender or photo on your CV is not standard practise (and takes away precious space you have).

Granted any prospective employer would figure out that I'm a male after a quick google search for my name, but still ... I feel I should address this. Or am I making a fuss out of non-issue?

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    As a side note, placing a nice photo into a resume would be a great advantage. It makes things more "human". Just make it a floating box hanging in top-right or top-left corner near your name, objective positions, and keywords. – bytebuster Jan 7 '13 at 11:40
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    @bytebuster - whilst this may be good practice for a resume, in the UK (for a CV) this is really bad practice and should be avoided! – Dibstar Jan 7 '13 at 12:02
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    @bytebuster it is mainly because your appearance shouldn't be an issue when it comes to you getting a job - you may look too young / old (and your experience should be what counts) – Dibstar Jan 7 '13 at 12:19
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    @Dibstar I found this question, and it seems that you are very right, especially as per UK, thanks. OP, for your attention. – bytebuster Jan 7 '13 at 12:48
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about how to deal with a gender specific name in a foriegn culture but not really about navigating the workplace. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 23 '13 at 15:26

The only times this would ever be an issue are for roles in which sex is a genuine occupational qualification, such as working in a women's toilets / performing bodily searches etc.

Assuming that the roles you are going for do not involve any such duties, any employer would be breaching the law if they discriminated against you based on your perceived gender.

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    I'm looking for a job in IT, so gender is not relevant. – Guy Guy Jan 7 '13 at 10:08
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    @GuyGuy in that case I wouldn't worry! – Dibstar Jan 7 '13 at 10:09
  • Working in womens toilets is not a valid reason for sex discrimination (male cleaning attendants are used all the time in the UK for this), performing bodily searches is also unlikely to be as typically both males and females would need to be searched. – Michael Jan 7 '13 at 10:26
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    @Michael. If both males and females need to be searched, and if the gender of the agent must match that of the person being searched, both male and female agents need to be hired. If the male agent retires, a new male agent must be hired. And the employer can, and should, advertise for male applicants only. – TRiG Jan 7 '13 at 17:41
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    @TRiG I cannot imagine what a hassle for the TSA an "out" intersex passenger may create.. (o_0) – Izkata Jan 7 '13 at 19:38

Why not just add "Mr. __ __" to your CV and other messages? That will clear it unambiguously. Generally it's women that get discriminated, so you should be fine with disclosing your gender, even if it is not necessary.

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    This. To assume that there is no discrimination against women would be very naive. – pdr Jan 7 '13 at 14:05
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    -1 "Generally it's women that get discriminated" - I would contest this - I have seen positive discrimination used to discriminate against men (and vice versa) – Dibstar Jan 7 '13 at 14:20
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    @Dibstar: Anecdotal example doesn't change the general state of the world. whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/… – pdr Jan 7 '13 at 14:36
  • @pdr: Hehe, thanks for that link, it really made my day. Especially reading some of the comments. – Leo Jan 7 '13 at 15:53
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    Everyone should read the article @pdr linked to, as well as the two followup articles. – Keith Thompson Jan 7 '13 at 16:31

It's a non-issue - It would be illegal in the UK to differentiate between males and females for any job role.

I've interviewed people with "traditional female or male" names and been surprised when walking into the interview room but it's never been a problem.

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    I know it's illegal ... but still :) Maybe you're right and I'm over-thinking this whole thing :) – Guy Guy Jan 7 '13 at 10:00
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    To be honest, in IT, being perceived as female might help you get an interview :) – Michael Jan 7 '13 at 10:27
  • lol, you might be right :) – Guy Guy Jan 7 '13 at 10:31
  • @michael, I am female and in IT and it is harder many places to get an interview if you are female. There are too many people who think women cannot program. This used to annoy me and then I realized that I wouldn't want to work for them anyway and that there are plenty of places happy to hire me. – HLGEM Jan 7 '13 at 14:56
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    "Illegal" and "never happens" are not the same. – kevin cline Jan 7 '13 at 16:38

Notwithstanding laws and how far we have come over the past fifty years or so, we are still a very biased group, just in a much more covert way. Hiring practices are still plagued with assumptions that are tied to from which group an individual comes--race, sex, religion, age, etc. We are still tied to stereotypes and the mostly false predictions that are derived from them.

You asking this question exposes what I am writing.

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    This doesn't seem to answer the question – Yamikuronue Jan 7 '13 at 13:12
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    Oh...the OP asked if it could be a problem. I was trying to address that it could very well be a problem. I did not offer any answer on how to mitigate it. – David Espina Jan 7 '13 at 13:19

Personally I would say just include it in the header of your CV, it won't take up much space at.

Regardless of the fact that there are laws to protect against discrimination, people do make judgements based on your gender and I see no issue with clearing up ambiguity.

  • Why add anything onto the CV that can only be used against you? I would advise very strongly against this – Dibstar Jan 7 '13 at 11:55
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    Why do you think it would be used against him? – A. Gilfrin Jan 7 '13 at 12:01
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    Because we are biased people and we discriminate all the time, no matter the laws. It is disgusting and it's great we're headed in the right direction, but don't fool yourselves. We have a long long way to to. – David Espina Jan 7 '13 at 12:10
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    Absolutely, but I think we agree that if there is discrimination based on names it is more than likely going to be towards females (as HLGEM points out in her experience in another comment). The person asking is male with a female sounding name, I'd say it would be to his benefit to make this distinction and given that situation, i.e. where there is ambiguity then it wouldn't seem unusual. – A. Gilfrin Jan 7 '13 at 15:07
  • Yes, I agree--sadly. – David Espina Jan 7 '13 at 15:45

As far as I know putting your gender or photo on your CV is not standard practise

Actually I don't think so. In the European CV standard template, both the Photo and personal data (sex included under the Gender entry) are taken into account.

I'd include both of them, without making the Photo two big so that it doesn't take too much space. If you must choose though, exclude the Gender entry, because the photo will not only give that information but it will also help them see who you are in a different way and help establish a better relation from the start.

  • This page says otherwise - "As a rule, do not include information relating to your age, sex, nationality, marital status or health." - both age and gender can be guessed from a photo. – alroc Jan 7 '13 at 14:14
  • @alroc In the Europass template, which is provided by the European Commission, they are included by default. Perhaps in UK they prefer not to, I am not aware of that... – Alenanno Jan 7 '13 at 14:16
  • Added clarification to tend towards photo. :) – Alenanno Jan 7 '13 at 14:23

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