How to Include Your Preferred Name on Your Resume

Understanding the Importance of Preferred Names

Importance of Preferred Names

For many individuals, using a preferred name on their resume is not just about personal preference. It is a reflection of their identity and an essential part of their overall professional presentation. Preferred names provide a sense of belonging, inclusion, and empower individuals to show up authentically in all aspects of their lives, including in their work environment.

It is essential to understand the impact of preferred names on individuals in underrepresented communities, such as those who identify as LGBTQIA+, have non-traditional names, or are immigrants. These individuals may have experienced discrimination, marginalization, and microaggressions in the past, and being able to use their preferred name is a way to reclaim agency and power over their identity.

Additionally, using someone’s preferred name demonstrates respect, acknowledges their individuality, and affirms their identity. It creates a comfortable and safe environment and helps to build trust, which is crucial in establishing meaningful connections in the workplace. Furthermore, using preferred names shows a company’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, promoting a workplace culture that values and embraces differences.

Overall, using a preferred name on a resume is not just a matter of style. It’s a way to recognize and honor individual identities, promote a culture of inclusivity and diversity, and show genuine respect and empathy. Therefore, individuals and employers alike should consider using preferred names whenever possible, as it can make a significant difference in how individuals feel valued, respected, and seen in the workplace.

Gathering Information for Your Preferred Name

Gathering Information for Your Preferred Name

Adding a preferred name to your resume can be a great way to make a strong impression on potential employers. Your preferred name may be different from your legal name, and there are a few things to consider when gathering information for your resume.

Start by thinking about how you want to present yourself to potential employers. Are you known by a nickname or a middle name? Do you prefer to use a hyphenated last name or a different name entirely? Once you have an idea of the name you want to use, think about how it will appear on your resume.

If you have legally changed your name, you may want to include both your legal and preferred names. This can help to avoid any confusion if an employer needs to verify your identity, and it can also be helpful if you have work experience or education under your legal name.

Another thing to consider is how your preferred name might impact your job search. If you have a name that can be difficult to pronounce or spell, you may want to include a pronunciation guide or spell out your name phonetically. This can help to ensure that potential employers can easily communicate with you and remember your name.

If you have a professional email address that includes your legal name, you may want to consider creating a new email address that includes your preferred name. This can help to make your name more recognizable and memorable to potential employers. When creating your email address, be sure to choose something that is professional and easy to remember.

Finally, be sure to check your social media profiles to make sure that your preferred name is listed correctly. This can help to ensure that potential employers are able to find you online and learn more about your professional background. You may also want to adjust your privacy settings to make sure that your personal information is only visible to people you want to see it.

By gathering information for your preferred name and presenting it consistently on your resume and social media profiles, you can make a strong impression on potential employers and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Strategically Placing Your Preferred Name on Your Resume

Resume with Name

When writing a professional resume, it is essential to include your name at the top of the document. However, if you use a preferred name that differs from your legal name, it can be challenging to know where and how to include it. Strategically placing your preferred name on your resume can help your application stand out from the rest. Here are some tips on where to include your preferred name:

1. Use a Professional Font for Your Name

Professional Font

The first place to include your preferred name is at the very top of your resume in a larger font size than the rest of the document. Use a professional font style that is easy to read, such as Arial or Times New Roman. Your name should be the first thing that catches the employer’s attention, so make sure to use a font that is legible and stands out without being too flashy or over-the-top.

2. Include Your Preferred Name in Your Contact Information

Contact Information

Your contact information should also include your preferred name, as this is where you want the interviewer to contact you. Make sure that your resume includes a professional email address that matches your preferred name, rather than your legal name. This will help to avoid any confusion and ensure that your application looks polished and well-organized. You may also consider including your preferred name in your LinkedIn profile, as potential employers will undoubtedly look you up online.

3. Incorporate Your Preferred Name in Your Summary Statement or Objective

Summary Statement

Your summary statement or objective is where you provide a brief overview of your expertise, skills, and goals. This section allows you to showcase your strengths and grab the employer’s attention quickly. Including your preferred name in this section can help to personalize your application and make it more memorable. For example, if your legal name is William, but you prefer to go by Bill, you could write: “Experienced sales executive with a track record of success. Call me Bill, and I’ll show you how I can help your organization achieve its goals.”

In conclusion, strategically placing your preferred name on your resume can make a significant impact on the hiring manager’s first impression of you. By including your preferred name in your resume’s header, contact details, and summary statement, you can create a more personalized and professional application that stands out from the rest. Remember to keep your font style professional, and your contact details organized and legible. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to securing your dream job!

Addressing Common Concerns and Objections

putting preferred name on resume

While putting a preferred name on your resume might seem simple and straightforward, it can sometimes lead to concerns and objections from both the employers and employees in the recruitment process. Here are some common concerns and objections that people have when it comes to putting preferred names on resumes, and how you can address them:

1. Employers May Reject Your Application Due to Discrimination

Some employers might discriminate against candidates based on their preferred name if it sounds too “ethnic” or “foreign.” However, this is an illegal and unethical practice, and employers who engage in it can be sued for discrimination. If you encounter this concern, you can reassure potential employers that your preferred name is a valid name that you use in your daily life, and that it should not be viewed as a hindrance to your qualifications or skills.

2. Some Employers May Not Take You Seriously

Other employers might view using a preferred name as less professional and less credible. However, this is a flawed way of thinking, as using preferred names is a common practice in social settings and personal relationships, and it has become more accepted in professional settings as well. To address this concern, you can emphasize your qualifications, experiences, and achievements, and provide references and testimonials that vouch for your professionalism and capability.

3. Coworkers and Clients Might Be Confused

If you already have work experience or work with clients who are familiar with your legal name, using a preferred name might cause confusion and miscommunication. However, this is a temporary and manageable issue, as you can introduce your preferred name to your coworkers and clients and clarify any misunderstandings. You can also provide a brief explanation of why you prefer to use a different name, such as personal preference, cultural background, or gender identity.

4. Your Legal Name Is Required for Legal and Administrative Purposes

Papers with tabs to sign tax documents

One of the most common objections to using a preferred name on resumes is that it might conflict with legal and administrative requirements, such as tax forms, background checks, or government documents. While this is a valid concern, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot use your preferred name at all. You can include both your legal name and preferred name on your resume, and specify which one you prefer to be called. You can also provide legal documentation, such as a court order or a driver’s license, that proves your preferred name is a valid alias.

If you encounter any other concerns or objections to using a preferred name on your resume, remember that it is ultimately your choice and your right to use a name that reflects your identity and personality. You can also seek advice and support from career counselors, diversity and inclusion advocates, or legal professionals who can provide guidance and resources on how to navigate the recruitment process with your preferred name.

Navigating Potential Challenges in the Hiring Process

Navigating Potential Challenges in the Hiring Process

When it comes to including a preferred name on your resume, there may be some potential challenges you will need to navigate in the hiring process.

Concerns about Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace

One of the potential challenges you may face is concerns about discrimination. While legally employers are not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender, ethnicity, or religion, there is still a possibility that using a name that may indicate a certain background or preference could cause unconscious biases in a hiring manager.

However, it’s important to note that using a preferred name that differs from your legal name is not indicative of any protected class status. It’s simply a personal preference and choice, and should be treated as such.

Confusion or Discomfort


Another potential challenge is confusion or discomfort on the part of the hiring manager or employer. They may not understand why you are using a preferred name, or may be uncomfortable with the request.

In this case, it may be helpful to explain why you are choosing to use a preferred name and how it aligns with your personal and professional brand. Additionally, it may be helpful to provide resources or education on the importance and validity of using preferred names.

Difficulty Confirming Work History

Difficulty Confirming Work History

One potential challenge when using a preferred name is difficulty in confirming work history. This can occur if your legal name differs significantly from your preferred name and previous employers may not recognize or remember you under your preferred name.

In this case, it may be helpful to include your legal name somewhere in your resume or job application, perhaps in parentheses after your preferred name. Additionally, providing previous work verification documentation or references that include both your legal and preferred name can help to alleviate any confusion or issues in confirming your work history.

Transparency and Consistency

Transparency and Consistency

A final potential challenge is maintaining transparency and consistency throughout the hiring process. It’s important to be clear and honest about your preferred name and any reasons for using it, both on your resume and in any interactions during the hiring process.

Additionally, if you choose to use a preferred name on your resume, it’s important to use that name consistently on all job application materials, such as cover letters or email correspondence with the employer. This can help to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings and ensure that you are presenting a cohesive and professional image throughout the hiring process.

Overall, while there may be potential challenges when including a preferred name on your resume, navigating these challenges is possible with transparency, education, and consistency. By being clear about your preferred name and why it’s important to you, you can help to ensure that you are presenting your best self in the hiring process.

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