How to Put Preferred Name on Resume?

how to put preferred name on resume

Including a preferred name on your resume can be an essential step in personal branding and ensuring that potential employers address you correctly. In today’s diverse and fluid work environment, understanding how to put your preferred name on your resume can be a useful skill to navigate the professional landscape.

Incorporating your preferred name on your resume is a simple process but can have a significant impact on your job search success. From resume headers to cover letters, being consistent with your preferred name helps to create a strong personal brand and establishes a clear identity in the eyes of potential employers. Leveraging your preferred name and personal branding extends beyond your resume and can boost the effectiveness of your social media presence in your job search.

Key Takeaways

  • Including a preferred name on a resume strengthens personal branding and aligns with workplace diversity.
  • Consistency in using your preferred name across resumes, cover letters, and social media aids in your job search.
  • Proper resume formatting and attention to detail enhance your chances of advancing through interviews and background checks.

Understanding the Concept of Preferred Name

A preferred name is a chosen name that an individual identifies with and prefers to be addressed by, rather than their legal name. While a legal name represents one’s official identity as recorded by various institutions and legal documents, a preferred name signifies a personal choice that reflects an individual’s identity more accurately.

A close-up shot of an individual (male) at a cafe, thoughtfully writing in a notebook. He's penning down his preferred name next to his legal name. His expression is contemplative and focused, symbolizing the personal significance and thought process behind choosing a preferred name.

In some cases, a preferred name can arise from various reasons, such as nicknames, name changes after marriage, or for transgender individuals whose chosen name aligns with their gender identity. Respecting a person’s preferred name is essential as it demonstrates acknowledgment and validation of their self-identified identity.

When creating a resume, it is important to consider whether to include a preferred name alongside or instead of one’s legal name. This decision may be influenced by factors such as cultural background, personal branding, or ensuring consistency across professional platforms, such as social media and networking events.

One method of including your preferred name on your resume is by placing it in parentheses beside your legal name, like this: Legal Name (Preferred Name). Another option is to use the preferred name exclusively, particularly when it is already well-established in professional contexts or when the legal name may cause confusion or unintentionally disclose sensitive information.

DefinitionA chosen name that an individual prefers to be addressed by, other than their legal name.
SignificanceReflects a personal choice and represents an individual’s identity accurately.
ConsiderationsCultural background, personal branding, consistency across professional platforms.
Incorporation MethodsLegal Name (Preferred Name) in parentheses or preferred name exclusively.
Table 1: Understanding the Concept of Preferred Name

Incorporating Preferred Name in Resume Header

The resume header is an important element of a resume as it presents the first impression to potential employers. By incorporating a preferred name, job seekers can avoid confusion and ensure that recruiters address them correctly. Here are a few tips on how to include the preferred name in the resume header.

Firstly, the preferred name should be placed at the top of the resume, in a prominent and easy-to-read font. The font size and style should be consistent with the rest of the document. It is advisable to use the preferred name instead of the legal name if the legal name might lead to mispronunciation or awkwardness.

A young professional (female) is seen reviewing her resume on a laptop in a bright home office setting. She has a look of satisfaction and confidence, reflecting the empowerment that comes with asserting her identity on her professional documents.

Next, including contact information beneath the preferred name is essential. This typically consists of an email address, phone number, city, and state. The email address should be professional and easy to remember, while the phone number should be the most reliable contact number. By listing the city and state, potential employers will have an idea of the job seeker’s location and availability for interviews and job opportunities.

In addition to using the preferred name in the header, it is also important to use it consistently throughout the resume and any accompanying documents, such as the cover letter. This contributes to a cohesive and polished application package.

A well-formatted resume header with a preferred name and accurate contact information can be advantageous in job applications. It not only demonstrates professionalism but also conveys a personal touch that reflects the candidate’s true identity and respects their preferences.

Significance of Personal Branding

In today’s competitive job market, establishing a strong personal brand is crucial in differentiating yourself from other applicants. A personal brand showcases your professionalism and highlights your unique attributes. Including your preferred name on your resume is an essential step to establish your personal brand.

Capture an individual (female) in a creative workspace, surrounded by personal branding materials like business cards, a portfolio, and her resume. She's looking at her business cards with a proud, self-assured smile, embodying the essence of personal branding and identity.

Using a nickname or preferred name on a resume can make candidates feel more comfortable in their professional identity, and it can help recruiters remember them better. Emphasizing your preferred name signals to employers that you value authenticity in your career and that you want to be recognized by a name that represents you. Furthermore, using your preferred name helps create a consistent professional presence in all aspects of your job search, making you more memorable.

While utilizing your preferred name is important, make sure it still reflects professionalism. Avoid overly casual nicknames that may not convey expertise or credibility, which could detract from the impact of your personal brand. Instead, choose a name that emphasizes your strengths and achievements, ensuring you maintain the impression of a competent candidate in the eyes of hiring managers.

Mentioning Preferred Name in Cover Letter

When applying for a job, it’s essential to make a strong and lasting impression on the hiring manager. One way to personalize your application and stand out is by mentioning your preferred name in your cover letter. By doing so, the hiring manager will have an easier time addressing you and remembering your application.

A professional (female) composing a cover letter on her laptop. Her expression is earnest and engaging, illustrating the personal touch and authenticity in her application.

To mention your preferred name in the cover letter, start by including it in the salutation. For example, instead of using your full legal name, you could write, “Dear Hiring Manager, my name is Alex (preferred name: Lexi) Smith, and I am writing to apply for the position of XYZ.” This approach helps the reader understand your preference without compromising your professional image or the readability of your cover letter.

In the body of the letter, continue to use your preferred name when describing your qualifications and experiences. For example, “In my most recent role at ABC Company, Lexi managed a team of five and exceeded quarterly sales goals consistently.” Using your preferred name when discussing your achievements will give the hiring manager a clear picture of how you see yourself professionally.

Moreover, when you close the letter, make sure to use your preferred name in the signature line. This reinforcement helps create consistency and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Again, avoid any over-the-top formatting or unnecessary explanations. Keep it professional and concise.

SalutationInclude preferred name, e.g., “Dear Hiring Manager, my name is Alex (preferred name: Lexi) Smith…”
BodyContinue using preferred name when discussing qualifications and experiences.
ClosingUse preferred name in the signature line.
Table 2: Mentioning Preferred Name in Cover Letter

Discrimination and Equal Opportunity

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, including bias related to gender identity and transgender individuals. Ensuring equal opportunity for all applicants and employees is crucial to creating an inclusive work environment. The use of preferred names on resumes is a step towards reducing discriminatory practices and promoting understanding.

Employers should be aware of the implications of not recognizing an individual’s preferred name during the hiring process. Misgendering or deadnaming an applicant can result in a sense of exclusion, affecting their morale and enthusiasm for joining the organization. Respecting preferred names helps establish a positive first impression and demonstrates a commitment to diversity.

A candid shot of a job interviewer (male) in an office, smiling and nodding as he reads a resume, noting the candidate's preferred name. The resume is partially visible in his hands. His expression is one of understanding and respect, conveying an inclusive and welcoming workplace ethos.

Equal opportunity policies, including the recognition of preferred names, contribute to fostering a supportive environment for transgender employees. By making these adjustments, organizations can show that they value all employees and are committed to fighting discrimination based on gender identity.

Implementing a preferred name policy can also help employers comply with various laws and regulations that protect transgender individuals from workplace discrimination. Familiarizing oneself with these guidelines can help avoid potential legal issues and reinforce a company’s commitment to equal opportunity for all.

Handling Interviews and Background Checks

During the interview process, it’s crucial to present yourself confidently and professionally. If you’ve chosen to use a preferred name on your resume, make sure to inform the interviewer about this decision. This way, they will address you by your preferred name, creating a comfortable interview atmosphere.

You may encounter conversations about background checks during the interview process. It’s essential to be upfront about any discrepancies between your preferred name and your legal name. When providing information for a background check, give your full legal name as it appears on your driver’s license and other official documents. This will prevent any delays or miscommunications in the background check process.

Informing your interviewer about your preferred name won’t affect your background check, but being open and honest about it will make the interview process smoother. It can be helpful to mention why you opted to use a preferred name on your resume. This can enhance their understanding and allow them to better advocate for you during the hiring process.

When providing references, it’s important to make sure your preferred name and legal identity are addressed. If your referees know you by your preferred name, ensure they’re aware of your legal name, as the hiring company may contact them using your legal name for verification purposes. Communicate with your references about preferred and legal naming conventions so they can accurately represent you during this stage.


In the end, including a preferred name on a resume can be beneficial and make a positive impact on potential employers. It helps create a sense of identity and allows for better communication during the hiring process.

To add a preferred name on a resume, candidates can simply place it in parentheses next to their legal name, or they can opt to include it in a separate line below their legal name. This ensures that the employer will recognize and address them by their preferred name during interviews and correspondences.

Adding a preferred name demonstrates authenticity and can build trust between the candidate and the employer. It also shows respect for diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. Employers should be aware of the importance of addressing candidates with their preferred names as this can create a positive impression on the company culture.

Incorporating preferred names on resumes is part of an evolving professional landscape that acknowledges each individual’s unique identity. As a result, job seekers should be encouraged to include their preferred name on their resumes as a sign of confidence and professionalism.

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