I'm re-entering the workplace after being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom).

I have a short name and a legal name. I have always gone by my short name and that is how everyone refers to me. It is on my utilities and was used in a workplace earlier. My legal name on the passport is different. To avoid further confusion, I am going to be changing my legal name to my short name in the next few months.

Before I can do that, which of these names should I be using on my resume?

  • Put your legal name on the resume. If hired address that the problem of your perfeered name at that time. In the end it depends on who is going to recieve your resume.
    – Donald
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 13:27
  • 3
    Why not put something like Robert "Bob" Smith? That puts your legal name there, but should make it clear that you go by "Bob".
    – Adam V
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 16:46
  • 2
    The question cannot be answered in this form, unless shavy tells us in what country she is seeking employment. If it's a common problem, then a typical answer of 'do like the others' may suffice. Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


Generally you want the same name in all these places:

  • resume
  • name your references will recognize and remember
  • transcripts and degrees
  • employer will put on pay cheque
  • tax records
  • employer will book plane tickets
  • etc

If all of these are the name you go by, great. If not (eg you had a different last name when you earned that degree or worked at that employer) then in that part of your resume say (as Jane Doe). Introduce yourself, and use on your resume, the name you want to go by unless the large majority of your work-relevant paperwork is in the other name. Deal with tax, paycheque and plane ticket related issues after you are hired.

It sounds like in your case it's the short name that you use everywhere. I wouldn't worry about it being your legal name. I put Kate on applications, contracts, credit cards etc even though my birth certificate has something else. When clients need to book plane tickets I tell them (or their travel agent) what name they need to use for that. As long as you are not trying to defraud you should be fine. A quick sentence in the cover letter that explains why you go by two names might be a good thing if many of your references or resume-related items (eg transcripts) are in the other name.

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