Your name and the name on your resume.

I commonly find candidates submitting resumes with all kinds of issues. Some of these are bad mistakes like misspellings, some use different inconsistent fonts and others write sentences that just don’t make any sense.
But one problem I see on resumes that confuses me the most is candidates that will not put the name they go by on their resume. It is as if they think they are applying for a passport and it is required that they state their full legal name. I guess somewhere, sometime, someone in their life told them this is how to create a resume. Well… it isn’t.

Not putting the name you go by on your resume is a problem for many reasons and most of all because it makes it harder to get a job. First, imagine if you owed a restaurant and on all your advertising in the community you put your legal business name, such Food Inc., as opposed to Joe’s Catfish Shack. Your restaurant name should be on all the marketing material that you are using to drive customers to your restaurant! You are probably saying, but how does this compare to the job hunt? Recruiters at companies and headhunting firms have large databases and many recruiters working with them. If the name you go by is different than the name on your resume it is confusing and essentially makes it harder for people on the recruiting teams to find you and consider you for their open jobs.

For instance, let’s say you call into a company and ask if they got your resume, what name are you going to use? The one on your resume or the name you go by? This becomes even more awkward when you enter the interview process and you are interviewing with people that are calling you by a name you don’t use. This can add to the stress of interviewing and it never feels quite right when people don’t call you by the name you use. Or, you may awkwardly correct them each time in the interview and they will probably forget again because your resume says something different.
When you call into a company and you decide to tell them the name you put on your resume but then explain that you go by, “Joe”. Here is what will happen. The recruiter will probably put your resume in the database as the name on your resume but refer to you on the phone, email, with co-workers and hiring managers as Joe.

Let’s say you don’t get a job the first time around and maybe the recruiter thinks of another job for you later or maybe his recruiting counterpart thinks of you for a job. Guess what will happen? Remembering your name is going to be an issue. In addition, if your last name is common or for some reason the recruiter can’t remember your last name then odds are you might get lost in the shuffle. Good recruiters are extremely busy and most have very short attention spans. For better or worse you better make it easy for them to remember you, find you, and reach you without much effort. I guarantee if you don’t, recruiters will move on and you will lose out on opportunities.

So you ask, “What should I do if I go by a nickname or my middle name?” Use ONLY the name you go by on our resume, email, in verbal communication and your application. (I’ll cover emails in another blog). Once you are selected for the job later in the process you will be contacted again to share information for background checks. At this point then of course you have to use your full legal name, but until that point be consistent in what name you use in verbal communications and writing. Doing this will make it easier for recruiters to find you! Good luck in your search!

Dickson Resources ( ) is a Nashville based IT Recruiting, Web Design and Application Architecture consulting firm. We specialize in all things IT and we are also the parent company of Storage Staffing ( ), a nationwide search firm focusing on Data Management professionals. We are candidate focused and would love to hear from you!


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