I'm using "Jane Smith" as a placeholder for my birth/given name, and "Alice Jones" as a placeholder for my chosen name, and "Ally" as a short form of "Alice", though those aren't my real names.
I am changing my name to "Alice Jones" for various reasons that I consider very personal, such as not wanting to bear my abusive parents' surname "Smith", and strongly disliking the meaning of my given name "Jane" for spiritual/personal reasons. I don't want to disclose these reasons to employers - the last thing I need when applying for a job is to talk about childhood trauma.
I'm currently studying at university. I go by "Alice Jones" all of the time with my friends and with other students. My professors call me "Ally Smith" because they're much more used to the idea that someone could have a nickname / preferred name than a preferred surname. All of my achievements, such as GCSE and A level certificates, as well as stuff like my bank account, is under the name "Jane Smith". So I'm currently using "Jane Smith" on my CV.
I want to switch to using "Alice Jones" on my CV as soon as I can, because it makes me feel much more comfortable. In addition, all of my friends call me Alice and sometimes I slip up and refer to myself as "Alice" in a situation where I'm supposed to be "Jane" - eg. I'll wear my "Alice" namebadge, or I'll mention that a friend said "Hi Ally" when telling a story. When someone says "Jane", it sometimes takes me a couple of seconds to realise they are talking to me.
However, right now I don't feel like I can - for one thing, all of my references know me as Jane, for another all my certificates are under 'Jane Smith', and for another I will have to provide my birth name for bank details / tax forms and I do not really want to go through explaining to my employer that I'm changing my name to "Alice Jones" from "Jane Smith" for super personal reasons.
I'm planning to get a legal name change, but probably not until after I am financially independent from my parents (which will be when I leave uni at the latest) since they'll be furious if they hear that I've changed my name.
My question (which is similar to others I've seen asked but subtly different) is: WHEN should I make the changes?
Should I make the de facto name change ASAP, or should I wait to put 'Alice Jones' on my CV until after I've legally changed my name to 'Alice Jones'?
Should I get my name changed before I leave university, so that my degree certificate shows the new name, or should I not get it changed until after I've started at my first job, so that I'll be able to get employment using all of the certificates/references that know me as Jane Smith, and then I can look for second/third jobs knowing I have the reference from the first job that knows me as Alice Jones?
Should I change in between uni and employment, so that it's not awkward (I don't have to tell everyone to change the name they address me by), or should I change it whilst in either uni or employment so that I don't have to be stuck in a name-changey looking-for-job no-references-with-proper-name limbo?
Should I start using my new name for my online presence now, even when I'm not using it on my CV, so that I can build up an online presence in preparation for the name change, or should I always be using the same name for my CV and my website and similar things?
If I put "Ally Smith" on my CV until I can properly change my name to "Alice Jones", will people think that is weird and unprofessional? (My real name is much more unusual than Alice, and the short form is much weirder and more informal than Ally.)
Would you find it awkward or suspicious if you interviewed a candidate who put "Jane Smith" on their resume and introduced themselves as Jane, but then after you hired them, they said that they actually wanted to go by Alice? More or less awkward/suspicious who said that their former references would know them by a different name or that their uni certificates were under a different name?
I already know that I am, eventually, going to make Alice Jones my legal name - it's just a question of what the timeline should look like, which really confuses me.