I had someone suggest using an American/European name instead of my own after it proved successful for him. I've also read many articles about white sounding names receiving better job prospects. I understand it is not illegal to use a false name on a resume but that I would have to write my real name on any legal documents.

How does using a different name on my resume work with my github, LinkedIn, email and portfolio which all use my real name?

Should I tell the HR person during the interview(s) my real name, so that doing background checks and contacting previous employers causes no confusion.

Has anyone gone through this? Is there any thing you learned from your experience you are willing to share?

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    {once you ultimately join the company, hand in legal, accounting papers or the like, sure, just give your full passport name - no big deal. Nobody cares.}
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 23:09
  • It's a very common thing for Korean-Americans whose parents are native Korean, and gave them fully Korean names to also have an Anglicized name that they commonly use. My mother (who was a native Korean) didn't even speak any Korean (except when she was really mad) to us, because she wanted us to be assimilated, so that's seems like a very cultural-specific thing for that group. Personally, it never made a difference to me if someone went by "Taejoon" or "Henry," but maybe that's because I was used to "foreign" names. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 14:15
  • I would point out that if you apply as Mark, expect to be called Mark the whole time you work there. I have known many people who used and Americanized first name (mostly second gen immigrants or those who immigrated as small children), but no none of them used their foreign name at work.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 18:46

3 Answers 3


I've known a few people who had names that were difficult for most Americans to pronounce or spell, and so used "American names". Or maybe they were just concerned about having a name that "sounds strange".

There's nothing illegal about using an invented name as long as you are not attempting fraud. (I'm not a lawyer, maybe there are some other specific cases.) Plenty of native-born Americans use nicknames.

Whether this really helps in getting jobs or whatever, I don't know.

If you have email addresses and the like in your real name, you could get new accounts with your "American name". Otherwise it's likely to be confusing. In the case of an email address, you may be able to set it up to forward to the email with you real name. For most sort of user names that's not an option of course.

If you have job history under your real name that you want to use for references, yes, you'd have to tell the HR person or whomever your real name.

All around, it seems like a pain to me. There's no easy solution to the problem of avoiding confusion if you're going by two different names. Enough people do it that I doubt anyone would question it. Like, few would say, "Why are you using a fake name? Are you trying to hide something?" But you'll have to tell them your real name sooner or later, so if you're thinking that you're going to hide the fact that you're from Mongolia or wherever to avoid being discriminated against by anti-Mongolian racists, I doubt that would work.

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    Unless you are worried about racial profiling or some other issue, I would not suggest using a name other than your own. Even when someone who has an "American" name (what is that, really? we're a melting pot.) uses another made-up name it seems fake. I would suggest using a modified name or "middle" name for everyday use if it's really a problem for you.
    – Andieisme
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 23:10
  • @Andieisme That's really easy to say if you're already an American with and American sounding name isn't it? If you're foreign you can use all the extra help you can get. You don't understand unless you've been there yourself. Melting pot is just a pipe dream taught to children. No amount of laws will change the mindset of a nation. You cannot avoid being profiled. You will be profiled in this world by people. There is no way to avoid it in society. Nothing will ever change that. It's like saying people shouldn't profile you for having tattoos. Yet somehow it prevents acquiring certain jobs. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 17:38

I would suggest you use your real name.

Do you really want to work for a company that would not hire you or give you a lesser offer because of your name?

Now if you are getting annoyed with people pronouncing/spelling your name wrong and want to be called something else you can say "my name is X, but you can call me Y". People do that all the time. For example, lots of people named William go by Bill or Will.

So on your resume/any social networking, I would use your real name and when you meet people in person just say something like:

Hello, my name is Terrence, but you can call me Terry

There is nothing unprofessional about being referred to by something that is not your birth name, but do it for the right reason. If a company is going to undercut you or not hire you because your name "isn't American enough" you should move on and find a company where you will be respected.

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    "Do you really want to work for a company that would not hire you or give you a lesser offer because of your name?" If he is considering changing his name to get a job he may not be able to get another offer as easily as you think.
    – atxgis
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 13:37
  • @atxgis Im not saying it will would be easy, but I imagine life would be hell working somewhere that is that petty. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 13:38

Where I come from, they translate their names. If your name is Mohammad then your "white" name would be Martin, I think. I live in Sweden and it is standard that immigrants or foreigners adapt their names to Swedish names. Andres became Anders. Abdul became Adam. Kareem became Kim. Mohammad became Martin. Ahmed became Acke.


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