4 Reasons Your Name Keeps You from Getting Called for the Interview
Your name might be the most important piece of identifying information, but it might be getting in your way as you apply for jobs. Read on to learn how to fix the top 5 ways your name could be preventing you from getting interviews for the career you want.
1. Your Name Is Common
When you look in the phone book for your name, are there a dozen other John Smiths before and after your own John Smith? You are unique among your colleagues, company, and industry, but your name might be so common that a quick search of LinkedIn for your name does not immediately bring your profile to the top of the list. Thus, new networking contacts do not know how to learn anything about you via your LinkedIn or other social media profiles.
The Quick Fix: Start using your middle name or middle initial to differentiate yourself.
2. Some Unsavory Character Has Your Name, Too
Does a quick search of your name bring up a mug shot–that is not yours (if it brings up your mug shot, that’s a different question, of course). Do people believe that the mug shot or court case record might be yours, just because you happen to have the same name as someone with less integrity than you? Certainly, a purported criminal or civil case history, the records for which are all available online, can interfere with your ability to get proper attention from hiring executives, if the mix-up between names is easy to make.
The Quick Fix: Use your first initial and last name, plus your credentials, in every instance of social media, across all uses and profiles on the Internet. Also use this name configuration on your resume, business cards, phone messages, and voice mail. Do not use it on job applications, as you will need to use your full legal name for those documents.
3. Your Name Is Unusual
Recently, I learned of a client of a fellow resume writer whose complex hyphenated name, matched with her given name, had an unintended and humorous meaning. You might know that your name is perfectly normal, but if you have a suspicion that the words or syllables of your name have an unintended humor to them, you might not be receiving interview offers due to this subtlety.
The Quick Fix: If your name provokes an inadvertent response, perhaps using only part of your hyphenated name, adding your middle name or initial, or using your first and middle initial plus last name only will help your audience focus on your expertise rather than your name proper.
4. Your Name Is MISSING
If your resume starts with the word “Resume” on the first line, then this quick fix is for you. Applicant tracking systems–called ATSs or online application systems–require you to upload your resume online for job postings. If the word “Resume” is at the top of your document, the word “resume” will populate the name field or fields of the system. Thus, to the company to which you are applying, your name will be “resume”–just like the rest of those whose resumes did not start with their names and addresses.
The Quick Fix: Take the word “Resume” off your resume–even if you never plan to upload your resume online. It is poor practice regardless.