I am known professionally by a shortened version of one of my middle names (I have 3). Most people don't even know my first name, which I only use as legally necessary.

I was thinking of including my first initial on my business card, followed by "nickname" and surname or should it be first initial, surname (nickname)??


closed as primarily opinion-based by solarflare, Rui F Ribeiro, Michael Grubey, gnat, Twyxz Oct 10 '18 at 6:30

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    First initial Nickname Surname is the most common way that I've seen. There is no real need to include the initial if you don't want to. It may cause confusion or lead to questions from people asking what it is. If you don't mind the questions, including it is just fine though. – さりげない告白 Oct 10 '18 at 1:31
  • I was just thinking as way to have my legal initial on there?? – Lei Oct 10 '18 at 1:58
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    Yes, that is normal, but not required. – さりげない告白 Oct 10 '18 at 2:02
  • Another thing to do, if it applies to you, is consult with HR or you supervisor on what is acceptable. Where I work, alternative names aren't a problem unless your go-by is "Scooter" or something equally unprofessional. As context, we had someone new to the company, in sales related position, and their preferred name was a nickname like that. To comply with company procedures in regards to email and related things, that wasn't acceptable even if that's how he'd prefer his contact to call him. – SiXandSeven8ths Oct 10 '18 at 19:49

Let's say your legal name is John Percy Shane Smith (with 2 middle names) and you want to go by Percy. You could do:

  1. J. Percy Smith (most common when your preferred name is a middle name in my experience)
  2. John "Percy" Smith (more typical if your preferred name is not a part of your official name)

It's well understood that many people have reasons for going by a name that doesn't match their legal name. In general there's no expectation that your business card will match your legal name. The best option is just to use the same name that you're known by at work, to avoid confusion.

One exception to this is when two people in the organisation go by the same name. Within an organisation, people can usually tell from context whether "John Smith" means John Smith from Accounts or John Smith from Maintenance, but when dealing with external people (as with business cards) it's probably better to distinguish, e.g. John P. Smith vs. John Q. Smith.

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