Overweight and Unemployed: Should You Lose Weight Before Job Hunt?

Overweight people who are unemployed sometimes decide to first lose weight before starting a job search. Lousy idea.

About two thirds or 190 million Americans are obese or overweight, reports CBS News. If they all decided to get down to a healthier weight before applying for jobs or going for promotions, the workplace would grind to a standstill.

Weight is such a commonplace problem, ranging from health to aesthetics, that many employers tend to focus on other qualities of job applicants.

There's more. Given the competition in business, employers have to focus more on results applicants can achieve -- from day one -- rather than how they look. This urgent need for immediate outcomes is forcing those who hire to ditch their notion of the "ideal candidate" in favor of applicants who seem like the best bet for quickly achieving goals.

To have acccess to the next possible Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook, employers will hire those Forbes editor Rich Karlgaard describes as "scary smart" or "freaky bright" instead of the buttoned-down man or woman who makes all the right professional moves.

Here are tips on how to let employers know you're the one to hire:

  • Dress well. Quality clothing can not only mask pounds, it also tells employers you know how to put your best foot forward. They know that also means you will know how to handle things effectively in the workplace.
  • 'Speedread' the interviewer and the environment to pick up on what is needed. In your interview, pitch to how you can provide exactly that. Frame the interview this way: There is a problem and you bring the solution.
  • Go the distance to set yourself apart. For example, offer to hang around the office a few days, without the meter running, to get a sense of the job, with no obligation to the employer, or to develop on your own time a sales or reducing shrinkage plan.

Once you're on the job, chances are you'll shed some pounds naturally. That's because your metabolism will be in high gear as you adjust to the new demands. On the other hand, trying to lose weight before starting your job search may be extra difficult due to the added stressors and pressures of being unemployed.

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