I am Chinese and I am applying for graduate jobs in the UK.

Is it ok to use my English name when applying for jobs?

4 Answers 4


Usually, yes. There's no reason why not.

I assume that your official documentation has your formal name, and this shouldn't be a problem.

We have a couple of Chinese guys in our team and they've done the same thing. It's not an unknown situation.

(It might help to parenthesize your English name after your formal name on your application to follow the English-language convention for nicknames: Charles (Chuck) Smith or Li (David) Wong.)


Yes, you are free to use any name you feel represents you.

In the application process, the only times you need to use your legal name* are for background checks, right to work checks and other similar official procedures (*the name on your passport or other identifying documents).

You are absolutely free to use your preferred name on an application or CV - without a disclaimer.

Importantly, in the UK - your legal name is whatever name you are currently using.

From Total Jobs:

The law in the UK regarding changing your name is actually really simple: your “legal name” is the one that you are using. Full stop. You don’t need to do anything or pay anything.

Supported by UK government:

You don’t have to follow a legal process to start using a new name. But you might need a ‘deed poll’ to apply for or to change official documents like your passport or driving licence.

As such, you will not get into any trouble for using a name that you weren't given at birth. Also, in the UK, it is not uncommon for people from non-UK backgrounds to have multiple names (one they use with family, and one they use with friends and workers).

It's worth making clear that while other answers have noted that including both names is an option - if you are concerned that you may be discriminated against for having a non-English name; you are under no obligation to do so.

  • @DonFusili I think it will still apply in this situation Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 14:46
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    @DonFusili Apologies, I did a UK based search and due to "Rochester" being a town 2 miles from me - didn't realise this was a US source. I believe the advice is still applicable, but will find new references.
    – user81330
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 14:49
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    That's it updated with UK specific references now. @LightnessRacesinOrbit "Polytech's...Polytech's everywhere." ;P
    – user81330
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 12:30
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    @Bilkokuya Yep "Rochester Poly" far more likely ^_^ Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 16:20
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    Quite a few professions (mine for example) are used to people using more than one name at a time, so it is certainly possible for employers to cope with this. Some don't. Commented May 7, 2020 at 22:19

When applying for a job in the UK you have to use your legal name when an employer asks you for your full name - however, there tends to be a “preferred name” box in which you can use your English name.

If your English name is not your legal name then it's likely that you’ll have to use your Chinese name but just state the name you’d like to be referred as when applying.

I am also Chinese and use my Chinese name on applications but am also referred to and known as my English name.


You need to clearly specify your English name and Chinese name to your employer. In fact, Chinese nationals working internationally usually have 3 names: English name, pin yin, and your name in hanzi script. They must be consistent and clearly defined so there is no confusion in documentation. In China, you use hanzi characters for any legal paperwork because English or pinyin language docs have no legal power in mainland China. Foreigners have no idea how to read pinyin properly so having an English name is pretty much necessary for you to work outside of China. And pinyin is often required for official government documentation outside of China. Just be specific, consistent, and confident in the use of all three names, it is easy to get used to.

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