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The Name That Goes on Your Resume

What name should you put at the top of your resume? You’d think the answer would be obvious, but it does come up from time to time in my resume service, so I thought it bore writing about.

The name you put on your resume is the name you go by. If the name on your birth certificate is “Felix Jimenez,” but you prefer to go by your middle name, Carlos, just go ahead and write “Carlos Jimenez” on the resume.

Eventually, when you get the job, put your legal name name on the start paperwork. One of the accountants may say, “Oh, I didn’t know your first name was Felix,” and you might say, “Yeah, but I hate cats.”

This sign would literally keep me up at night back in film school.
Or car dealerships…

And that would be the end of it.

Now, if you simply go by a shortened form of your given name (“Jessie” for “Jessica,” “Marc” for “Marcus”), go ahead and put the longer form of the name there, if you like. I do that myself; makes me feel more like a grownup.

I’m a little torn if you go by a silly nickname, like “Nooj”1 or something. I might save that particular sobriquet for the first day in the office. On the other hand, once you’ve built up a reputation as a stellar PA, all of your references will remember “Nooj.” If the coordinator calls up and says, “How did you feel about Steve Trevor?”, they may not know who they’re referring to.

In that case, “Steve ‘Nooj’ Trevor” is probably a good idea. Or, better idea: get a less dumb-sounding nickname.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I made this up out of thin air. If your nickname really is “Nooj,” I apologize.
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