I'm a trans woman looking to get back into actively job-searching. As of currently, I've fully socially transitioned and use my preferred (female) name for most purposes (and it's what all my references know me as), but (since changing legal names is complicated) my (male) deadname is still my legal name (although I'm working on changing that state of affairs).

When applying for a job, how do I indicate that my legal name is different from my preferred name, indicate what my preferred name is, and request that my preferred name be used when interviewing so as to avoid causing undue distress?

Not a dupe of this question, which asks about introducing one's preferred name after applying, interviewing, and being hired; nor of this one, which asks about a situation where the preferred name is the legal name; nor of this one, which deals with a situation where simply abandoning the preferred name entirely in favor of the legal name is a viable option.

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    Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/187565/… workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/90181/… workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/115303/… This question appears to be a duplicate of already asked questions.
    – David S
    Mar 31, 2023 at 20:19
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    With apologies for any ignorance on my part - Is there a need to do anything when you apply, or even when you interview? You say "Hi, I'm Vikki", they say "hi", you talk about some stuff. At least in the UK, this would only get complicated when it comes to verifying you have the legal right to work, signing contracts etc. Mar 31, 2023 at 20:19
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    Do you live in a US state that codified nondiscrimination rules for transgender folks? Have you tried reaching out to advocacy organizations for expert advice? Mar 31, 2023 at 21:56
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    @MichaelMcFarlane: During the hiring process, U.S. nondiscrimination laws are essentially toothless, as prospective employers don't have to give a reason for not hiring you, so the only way you'd actually be able to prove discrimination in the hiring process'd be if they passed you over for prohibited reasons and then were dumb enough to actually tell you that.
    – Vikki
    Mar 31, 2023 at 21:59
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    @Vikki Maybe I'm lucky that as a knowledge worker, if a company got as far as doing a background check or anything on me that might reveal my legal name as different from what I put on the application, they'd go "hey Philip, we're seeing this difference" rather than "nah, bin it". I appreciate the world might be different for jobs which are easier to replace etc. Apr 1, 2023 at 8:26

3 Answers 3


Putting your preferred name on your CV and signing it to the (if applicable) cover letter and anything other than a field to fill out your information for legal reasons should be sufficient. In my experience interviewers will generally refer to you by the name on your resume, or at least notice the discrepancy and ask about your preferences during any following communication. If they don't, or if they disqualify you off the bat for that discrepancy, then it might not be somewhere you want to work.


Legal vs. preferred name will cause a problem if you are a EU citizen, and your legal name is in some database saying that you have the right to work, but your preferred name isn't. If you are a UK citizen, that shouldn't be a problem. They have to check your passport at some point (because having a UK passport proves you have the right to work in the UK), and at that point you can tell the person checking and nobody else that this is your legal name, not your preferred name.

If HMRC has you under your preferred name, fine. Otherwise again, at about the time you start your job someone needs to know your legal name to make sure all your taxes and pension contributions are paid correctly.

And then you have to tell for example IT so they get you the right email address etc. You don't want [email protected] but [email protected] obviously.

So nothing is needed really at the time you apply, but make sure everything is done correctly when you start. About the differences: I worked in a company that was purchased by a larger company, and their IT changed all email addresses according to what your passport said. About 25% of employees had changes, some harmless (Ed changed to Edward), some changed to an extent where I didn't have a clue where that person was.

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    The question concerns the U.S.
    – Vikki
    Mar 31, 2023 at 23:34
  • @Vikki - the UK part sounds about right for the US too, but with different agency names. Mar 31, 2023 at 23:46
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    What’s different in the Uk is about 4-5 million eu citizens with settled status - you prove your right to work by showing British ID, or having a work visa, or by being one of the five million in the database of 5 million eu citizens with settled status.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 1, 2023 at 23:54

You don't, if you want to get hired.

Simply put, you don't tell anyone anything about you being transgender until you've gotten a job offer and the contract has been signed, if you want to get hired. If you tell them about it, you run the risk of getting written off as a potential source of drama (e.g. female employees complaining about a biological male using their toilets), and then getting your resume thrown in the trash. It's easier and safer for the business to just pass you over and hire someone else, and claim that you weren't a cultural fit if anyone asks.

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    The OP's concern is for something like a background check where their legal name doesn't match the name they want to be known as. As that happens before the contract is signed, that presents a problem. Apr 1, 2023 at 8:41
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    The sentiment here is correct, especially in countries like the US or UK but it's not much help if OP has qualifications/ID in her deadname. Apr 9, 2023 at 13:01

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