I'm a Android Software Developer by profession, and from many years I'm using a fake name "Max Rockwood" as my online identity everywhere, on Stack Exchange Github, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

I been working as a freelancer from a while and now I'm looking to work remotely as proper employ and I was thinking if it can create any problems now or in future like having two names?

The reason for fake name is the country I'm from we have our own unique name and I been using Max (as its easy to say and remember and "Max Rockwood" combination is unique) from many years and now I need to apply to jobs.

In my own country I can put my real name and point to my online profiles, it is not an issue, but when applying to remote job in european and other countries which name should I use?

Question 1:

Is there any drawbacks of using fake name as online identity? and which name should I use on my Resume when applying on remote jobs, online Identity one or the real ones?

Question 2:

Should I change my fake name to real ones at all my profiles or its okay to use the one I have? I just don't feel like using my real name online and stick to the one I have.

Pardon me if this question sounds silly but its really important, I will appreciate any profesional advice.


  • Please provide reason for down vote so I could update the question properly
    – Atiq
    Oct 22, 2016 at 9:14
  • depends how you want to get paid, whatever name is on your bank account. You can call yourself Mickey Mouse, but you can't cash a cheque under that name
    – Kilisi
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:16
  • yeah the online payments are mostly done through paypal so iguess it won't be an issue, actually I wanted to ask it would be fine to apply to jobs under screen name?
    – Atiq
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:28
  • 2
    I would love to use "Masked Man" on my resume (and much more importantly, I would love to be able to use teleportation jutsu) but this worthless world would dump my resume into garbage, so I don't have any choice than to list my real name on my resume.
    – Masked Man
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:44
  • 1
    @DJClayworth I don't know if I can't seems to properly word my question I think or what, I by no means want to hide my real identity or anything like that, I just wanted to know if being a professional is it okay to have a fake name (or its better for me to change to real ones), if so then is it okay to put on resume.
    – Atiq
    Oct 22, 2016 at 18:28

4 Answers 4


and which name should I use on my Resume when applying on remote jobs, online Identity one or the real ones?

Using anything other than your real name on your resume would be foolish. Your resume is about the real you, not some fictional identity you choose to cloak yourself in. (The famous New Yorker cartoon "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog" comes to mind.)

In a cover letter or during an interview, you could mention your Max Rockwood fake name if that helps identify your work.

(I'm not saying you should change it. But in some circles, the fake name "Max Rockwood" could be viewed as something a porn star would use.)

  • I'm sorry I think I misunderstood the meaning of "Screen name" what I actually mean was my fake name "Max Rockwood" I have updated the question accordingly.
    – Atiq
    Oct 22, 2016 at 12:49
  • 2
    ahahah I would give another +1 for the last sentence if I could
    – Walfrat
    Oct 24, 2016 at 6:48
  • 1
    @MaxRockwood A screen name is a fake name. Near synonyms are pen name (some writers have used these) and pseudonym.
    – Brandin
    Oct 24, 2016 at 9:03
  • 1
    @Joe God, I didn't think about that (Your last sentence). I thought the last name is kinda unique and google search filter will work better and now if I think it in that term "Rockwood" seems bit inappropriate :p
    – Atiq
    Oct 24, 2016 at 9:51
  • 2
    @Walfrat - Dirk Diggler :) Oct 24, 2016 at 11:35

A lot of people here (and mostly on Stack Overflow) don't have their real names as usernames. The same goes for github, twitter and so on. I put the links to those profiles into my CV so companies can see them, because that's my online identity. I've never heard of a company complaining about that. It's normal as long as you can prove that it's you.

For the real life and interactions with companies in person it's a different story.

While it's perfectly fine to want to stay anonymous online and use a nickname, if you want to deal with a real company, you will have to tell them your real name.

If you have a work contract, that will have to have your actual name because of social security, tax and so on. In some countries you can pick an artist name that goes into your ID, but your legal name is still required for contracts.

Of course you might be able to explain to HR that you prefer to use your moniker and not your real name.

I know someone working at a large, well-known company in Europe who doesn't have his name at his doorbell at home, and who never tells anyone his name. His coworkers in the office don't know it. His friends in that country don't know it. If he goes to hotels, he makes sure no-one oversees or overhears when he checks in, and none of his coworkers but HR know his name. Everyone calls him with the nickname he chose for himself, and that works for him.

As for the CV, you should use your real name. Unless you're an actor or performer probably. But then you wouldn't worry about a github account.

All the online accounts are just places where you show what you can do. If you use the same nickname everywhere, and that nickname is distinct, then it will be easy to find your work. That's good for you and for companies that are interested in you. But that's all they are. Screen names. Login data. You're still you, and for the real world, you need a real name.

  • Thank you so much for the explanation, I have no problem telling clients or company my real name though. So on Resume which name I should be using? I should use the screen name and then tell them later about real name or I should use the real name instead?
    – Atiq
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:39
  • @Max I upated my answer.
    – simbabque
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:43
  • Oh btw, if by nickname you mean the name you are using here, which looks like an actual name but not one that fits with the country you have in your profile, then I'd be confused as a company. Is this guy the name in the CV, or the name in SO account? Both sound like names that would be written on birth certificates.
    – simbabque
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:45
  • Actually the thing was, in my country we have different our own unique names, so from many years I been using Max as a nick, because its easy to call and say when interacting with others but now am really confused should I name all my profiles back to my Real name or just keep using this one
    – Atiq
    Oct 22, 2016 at 10:50
  • 1
    @max I meant "don't do or say anything stupid. Don't be offensive." Behave the way you would in person on the internet as well when you're using the nickname that you tell companies about. The internet doesn't forget. If I get a CV, I google the account names to see what else the person has done that might be relevant for the job. If I end up finding that the person for example has a very negative SO record, lots of downvoted questions and then a lot of arguments in comments where they get abusive, I would not suggest to hire them.
    – simbabque
    Oct 22, 2016 at 11:02

Having a pseudonym online is normal these days; so it will not be a shock to find that your online nom de plume does not match your real, legal name.

Although to what extent it was done to avoid people having to mispronounce Shiraz Ahmad which are two very common names I find odd - or have people become so lazy?

The answers to the two questions you posed:

Is there any drawbacks of using fake name as online identity?

No, there are no drawbacks. It is a very common thing. Many people use it as another layer of anonymity online.

which name should I use on my Resume when applying on remote jobs, online Identity one or the real ones?

On a document on the basis of which you plan to be hired, you need to use the same name that is used to identify you, which will be used to pay you. This has to be your legal name, and the spelling should be the same as what is shown on some government issued identity document like a passport.

Should I change my fake name to real ones at all my profiles or its okay to use the one I have? I just don't feel like using my real name online and stick to the one I have.

This is entirely up to you - but if you plan on being hired based on your online presence then you should definitely consider changing your profile, at least on professional network sites, to your real name.

It definitely adds credibility.


One extra thing as an answer to question 2 - and while may not apply to you anymore, it could apply to someone else looking - to make it easier, you can make your alias something that would be clearly related to your name, only if they knew what your real name was in the first place. Sometimes it's important to be able to have an account that's back traceable to you.

While I've never heard of people getting in trouble, or rejected for a job because they have a different name on their account, it definitely looks more professional if your account names are related, and it might stoke just a little bit of extra confidence.

I'm in a similar situation, my name is unique and I don't particularly want it strewn all over the internet, but to make it easier for people to "verify" accounts I say are mine, actually are, I use my initials for many of my account names (including my stack exchange account). If you have my name, you can see where the initials come from, you'd be more confident that the account I give you is actually mine. But if you only have my initials (as you all do), it'll take a bit of work trying to figure out my name.

It doesn't just have to be your initials, it could be things like subsets of your name or your first name only. For example, consider:

  • "Max Rockwood" - could become "MRW", or "MaxR", or even just "Max"
  • "Susanne F. Green" - could become "Anne Green", or "Sus", or "SFG"

These kind of aliases often look a bit more professional, and are unlikely to generate any extra confusion.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .