Greetings everyone!

I have a couple of resume/interviewing questions. I have listened to the entire interviewing series at least three times and it has been an amazing eye opener for me! However, I do have two questions.
[list]Certifications – In my field, information security, job postings usually either require or desire certain certifications. Fortunately, I hold most, if not all of them. Where should I place them on my resume? (Assuming it is ok to add them) I was thinking of placing them immediately below my MBA/BS. Does that make the most sense?[/list:u][list]Weight – I am a large person weighing in at 320 pounds. I carry it fairly well and am in great health. For those of you who decide to hire or not, how big of a deal is this? I can change many things quickly; unfortunately, this is not one of them. Is there anything I can do in the short-term that would minimize any negative impact of my weight?[/list:u]Thank you in advance.

- James

jhack's picture

James, I'd put the certs down with my formal education at the bottom. They are relevant education credentials.

As for the weight, that's a tough one. Since you work in InfoSec, it isn't relevant to performance. Good hiring managers/recruiters will look past it. I would not discuss it, bring it up, refer to it...

It's a subtle thing, but most people react (subconsciously) to whether someone is comfortable as themselves, or if they are uncomfortably self-conscious. If it's no big deal for you, and you radiate confidence, that will make a good impression on the interviewer.


rthibode's picture

Hi James, and welcome to Manager Tools!

I agree with John about the certifications.

As for your size, I agree that projecting confidence is very important. I would also be careful to dress and groom impeccably. In the little bit I've read on the subject, it seems prejudice against overweight people is based on the view that they lack self-control. You may be able to discourage this perception by being exceptionally tidy and crisp in your personal appearance.

As for my own hiring, I hope I haven't been biased against larger people. I certainly have hired many overweight people. It comes down to confidence again. A larger person who is confident and comfortable in a leadership role can be a real treasure for all the others who have self-doubt because of their physical appearance.

Best of luck!

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge


I've been in the technical field for longer than I care to admit. This field is not known for it's distance runners. A High percentage of geeks, and I use the term affectionately and include myself, are either stick thin or overweight. Don't sweat it.

I'd suggest listening to M&M's podcast on handshakes. A lot of heavy people get the sweaty palm thing going on, and that's going to cause you more trouble than anything else. If you have that issue, as M&M suggest, keep a hankie in your pocket.

Get the handshake right. Project confidence as the others have said. Smile and relax. If you're prepared, you're gonna kick butt on the other applicants.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi James

Certifications are earned by the education process, so put them in your education section.

Being a bigger guy myself (340 down to about 260 and working on it), it definitely plays into being discriminated against. Plus, I have naturally curly shock orange hair. To be blunt, I don't have a corporate look and I have to use my enthusiasm and personality to overcome this.

As M&M state in the interview casts, recruiters look for a reason to say no. Don't give them any. If possible, get a custom-tailored suit and shirt that prevent you from looking like you were squeezed into them. Make your controllable appearance as professional as possible and blow them away with your energy and presence.

I think Mark suggested Men's Wearhouse. I got a suit from It is a firm from Asia that goes from City-to-City, set up in a hotel, measure you up (27 ways and they are NOT shy where they measure) and then mail you your suit.

I got a very high-end suit and 3 custom shirts for about $700 (free alterations if they have a rep in your city). The only downside is it takes a while to get your order and you have to wait until they are in your area.


WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

Wow, that's the community jumping in to help out. I thought about mentioning a tailored suit, but didn't have detail like that. I think that's excellent advice James. Especially the part about not being squeezed into it.

If you look at some of the pictures of Clinton when he was in office, or Ted Kennedy, those guys aren't small. But their suits hang well and help them look good.

That being said, I don't think it's as important as the handshake and your confidence. But looking good, and feeling comfortable, will help confidence too.

Asterisk, 360 with curly bright orange hair must have been something! I feel svelte at 245 and shiny headed. :lol:

jruss2k's picture

Thank you all for your advice. It is greatly appreciated. I am still reading so I would love to hear from some others too.

I have been practicing my handshake; sweaty palms are not an issue for me. While I am very confident in my abilities I certainly need to be on my A game.

I remember the comments about suits and intend to go to Men's Wearhouse this weekend. I am looking over Maxwells Clothiers website. They are coming near my in early September.

I also went to the dentist to get a bridge for a missing tooth. :) Normally I don't smile much but I have been practicing a lot at work (trying not to freak anyone out though).


Thank you all!

madamos's picture
Licensee Badge

Definately make sure you get a well fitting suit and project confidence. That will minimize any weight issues. Like M&M say in the interview podcasts that the goal in dressing well for the interview is to make your clothes [b]not[/b] an issue.

As for the certifications they should go in the education area. But you can certainly highlight them in the cover letter making sure they know you have all the skills they are looking for.


bflynn's picture

Solely on the weight - unless you look muscular, higher weight is having a negative impact on your career. To be more effective, you should lose weight. Some managers will be able to ignore it, but almost everyone will at least unconsciously judge you by your weight.

This is personal experience. At one time, I lost about 50 lbs and the way people treated me was different. You can't appreciate the difference until you've had the chance to experience both positions.


terrih's picture

Here is a question that's similar but different, that I've been kicking around a while.

I quit coloring my hair a few years ago when my husband lost his job. At first, it looked pretty good. People would ask me if I were frosting it.

Now, though, it's unmistakeably graying. (I inherited my graying pattern from Dad... first gray hair at age 23, then one hair at a time for the next 50 years. :roll: assuming I live as long as he has)

Must I color it for the sake of my career? :twisted:

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I don't think you need to color your hair. If you're self-conscious about it, it might affect your confidence level. In that case, go ahead and color it. It's all about you and your comfort and confidence.

My wife's hair started going gray around 26. She's been coloring forever, and is very happy about it.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Colouring is one of my favourite topics. I started when I was around three, but alas, I still can't stay inside the lines! Damn Crayolas! :wink:


terrih's picture

Well, sure, it can be fun. But I'm kinda cheap about that sort of thing. And once you start you have to keep it up.

The first time I saw my mom after I quit coloring my hair, she exclaimed, "If I had that much gray hair, I could quit coloring my hair too!" (She didn't mean it in a bad way.)

I would probably feel more confident about my hair if I would just start springing for quality cuts instead of the walk-in-off-the-street joints. :wink:

terrih's picture

LOL! I was responding to Will but * snuck one in and turned mine into a comedy routine! :lol:

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

Do like I do and shave it every other day. Shiny and beautiful. Great surface for coloring. My daughter likes to slap her little hands on it when she sits on my shoulders.

I'm thinking of getting a henna tattoo of the duck for our Rotary Duck race. [url][/url]

terrih's picture

Interesting suggestion, but I have a feeling my husband might object. :wink:

terrih's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]I don't think you need to color your hair. If you're self-conscious about it, it might affect your confidence level. In that case, go ahead and color it. It's all about you and your comfort and confidence.[/quote]

Wow, there's a whole book about this! [u]Going Gray[/u] by Anne Kreamer. Short review in PINK magazine. Maybe I'll have a read.

mptully's picture

I have been going grey since I was 18 (a family thing – my grandfather was nearly white when he got married as a young man). I coloured it up until I was about 28 – and then my aunt died. Seeing her lying in her coffin, aged 70 with dark, dyed hair, made me swear never to colour my own again. Which I have kept to. I am now 46 and am very silver.

It is totally a confidence thing. As far as I am concerned, having a flattering, youthful haircut and clean shiny hair (thank you Dax!) is what it is all about. Take good care of your skin and, with that, silver hair looks ‘striking’ (according to my hairdresser!) rather than aging.


jael's picture

If mine would just go totally silver or acquire a salt-and-pepper look, I would leave it alone. Unfortunately when I do let the color start to grow out, it's not there yet and persists in a weird mottled look with a streak here, a splotch there and one grey earmuff, so I color it for now until it all catches up.

terrih's picture

I know what you mean, jael. That's how mine was when I started coloring it. But when I stopped a few years later, the gray came in more even. Hopefully yours will do the same before long.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Regarding all the questions:

I'd have to know what certifications you're referring to to be sure, but generally I recommend you putting them NOT with your education, but rather in the body of your work history, as bullets when you achieved them or as parts of your responsibilities.

I WOULD note your size, and would also note your ability to dress impeccably. If you're good, it just doesn't matter. But it would be noted.

Terri, in my experience, if you're asking, it makes a difference. Were I coaching you, it would literally depend upon your age, your role, what you were interviewing for, and where, and which industry. Knowing none of that, I can only feebly say yes, it makes a difference, so therefore eliminate one potential issue and color your hair.

Sorry this took so long.


juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

We had a really amazing woman in to our office recently for some leadership training. She was a joy to work with. She also looked fabulous at every hour of the day (and night...and next day).

At one point early in her career, she worked for a major cosmetics company and part of her agreement of employment included a statement that she would not change anything without prior written consent. That meant hair cut, color, her size, tattoos, piercings, anything. She still shows it, and it screams 'class'.