4

Is it a must to use legal name (as seen in ID card) for work? Lets say my real name is Neram Mihaiki Smith, I prefer to be known Jenny Smith. Would it be fine if I use Jenny Smith in my emails, business cards...?

Thanks

  • At all the offices I have been everyone's official name has been on their security badges. Business cards and email were company dependent. – RubberChickenLeader Jul 17 '15 at 15:48
  • At my office almost everyone shortens their name (Peter is pete, Michael is Mike, Matthew is Matt) for internal communication, however all of our badges and active directory details list full name. I've never had any problems asking people who I work with on a day to day basis to shorten my name (Sidney -> Sid), I just don't get offended when people I don't work with often use my full name. – Sidney Jul 17 '15 at 16:32
  • I use my nickname at work. Not an issue with anyone. Both my nickname and my full name are unique but my nickname is both easier to say and remember - and cuss at :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 17 '15 at 22:44
  • I have seen "preferred name" (in addition to a "legal name") as a separate field on some job applications. – PM 77-1 Jul 20 '15 at 22:31
6

It's fine to use the name you go by on your resume and cover letter, and so that is what the company will initially use. Your resume and other initial contacts can also have both, something like this:

(Jenny) Neram Mihaiki Smith

Once you get a job offer, you fill out an application, or they ask for a background check, you make sure they know your full legal name.

At that point, ask for their standards for how to use your nickname. Many will allow it to be part of your email address and on business cards, many will still require your legal name on a security badge.

But this is a very common scenario, and most companies have already handled it for previous employees. Just ask what they prefer.

  • 6
    In my admittedly limited experience, the standard seems to be Neram Mihaiki "Jenny" Smith. – Nic Hartley Mar 9 '17 at 3:57
2

Is it a must to use legal name (as seen in ID card) for work? Lets say my real name is Neram Mihaiki Smith, I prefer to be known Jenny Smith. Would it be fine if I use Jenny Smith in my emails, business cards...?

This depends very much on the company that employs you. Nowadays, your ID card is most likely an RFID card. That the badge reader can read your card and determine that you have badge number 123456789 is much more important than the name on your badge. If you walk past a guard, that your badge has a picture that is a reasonable facsimile of you is much more important than the name on your badge.

The above assumes you have an ID card. There are still plenty of employers that follow the "Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!" rule.

With regard to email, I've had a boatload of email addresses: david.X.hammen@some_employer (change the X to my middle initial), david.hammen@some_other_employer, and hammend@yet_another_employer. Some added inscrutable numbers, just for grins. Currently (six months into a job change) my business email address is just dave@where_I_work_now.

On the other hand, my current business card says that I am "David Hammen". That was my choice; it could have been just "Dave". (I work for a rather informal company.) Other employers will absolutely insist on your business card having your formal name, your formal title, your office phone number (even if you never use it), and the address of the building in which you nominally work.

  • 1
    Agree strongly with "it depends on context". In my group many of us have e-mail/userid names which are effectively nicknames. Usually, including dealing with customers, I'll initially use the short form of my given name and encourage folks to address me that way. But after we've gotten to know each other, I'll mention that I also answer to Keshlam and they're free to use that too. And there are lots of folks who prefer to use their middle name, or who have a "difficult for Americans" name and have adopted a nickname as a solution for that, or who have changed their name, or... – keshlam Jul 17 '15 at 18:47
  • Basically, as long as it's inoffensive and people can find your official name somewhere when the need to, a nickname is mostly harmless ad sometimes useful. But you do want to check your employer's policies. – keshlam Jul 17 '15 at 18:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.