Use Your Real Name On The Resume


Guess my name! Guess my name!

An applicant’s name is the first introductory visual a potential employer encounters on a resume and should be at the very top of the page. “A rose, called by any other name would smell just as sweet”, said Juliet Capulet of Shakespeare fame about her lover from a rival clan, Romeo Montague. Yes, a rose, even if were called “skunkweed” would still smell just as sweet. However, unseen and un-smelled by an unknown, the image prompted by the words “skunk” (a bad tempered animal with nuclear B.O.) plus “weed” (a noxious plant) would turn many away.

Why? …the “rules of encounter” stated earlier. People (speaking about the USA mainly) are highly visually oriented. Images matter. If a rose were associated with the characteristics of a noxious plant, it could smell like a Parisian perfumery and still be disdained. Why? The name has acquired a negative connotation. So it is with names and resumes.

Listen, Deirdrui, according to current best practice, it is better that a seeker head the document with a real name, not the word, “resume” (duh! The recipient knows what it is already), a fictitious name or a pet name…unless you are in the performing arts or you already have fame. Performers often take on a “stage name”; writers, a “pen name”. “Victoree” is a pen name created especially for this blog. The devotees and practitioners in many religions and orders upon reaching a new status take new names. By the way, Q-man Shaq, these days, if a certain kind of name will cause a potential employer to screen applications out because of a high incidence of prejudice, it may be preferable not to mention that name until the face-to-face interview. Remember, a resume is a bid for an invitation to the ball.

Again, there is evil in the world, brothers and sisters. Some potential employers actually examine names in a sneaky attempt to discriminate against certain people. Think of all the ancestors who either changed their names or had their names changed for them on Ellis Island. Think of all the Abdul’s who became Andy’s in the transactions of the middle passage. Think of all the Youssef’s who are now Joe’s hiding in plain sight and hoping nobody asks.

Case in point: does the controversy that stirred up so much fear—the flap over the president’s use of his real given name, “Barak”, instead of a “nick name”, “Barry” ring a bell?