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Reply with quote  #1 


I recently stumbled on CAREEREALISM podcasts and after just one episode I'm hooked.  I've been reading and listening to numerous sources for "career coaching" and your program brings a fresh spin to some old ideas.  So, thank you for your contributions to this confusing world of networking and job hunting. 

I have a two-fold question about NAMES.  They are:

I agree completely that using an interviewer's/recruiter's surname during conversation is good.  However, in all of the organizations that I've been in, everyone from hourly worker to CEO is addressed by their FIRST name, versus a formal surname (e.g., Mr. Smith).  So, I find it a bit disturbing that during introductions and interviews candidates need to address others with their formal last name.  And, frequently the pronunciation of someone's surname may not be correct, which puts you at risk of offending the person. 

I should also add that I personally do not like to be referred to as my surname and I am quick to suggest, "please call me TJ."  However, it is rare that I will get similar response from others thereby requiring me to continue use of their surname.  This issue often puts me in an awkward position, one in which I hesitate (or neglect) to use the other person's name in the middle of conversation.  So, my question is: at what point is it acceptable to transition over to a person's first name?  If the person has introduced themselves as "Mary Smith", isn't this license for me to call her Mary, versus Ms. Smith?  

{similar to Ms. O'Donnell}  Since infancy, I have always been called by my nickname, TJ.  Of course my parents gave me a formal name (Theresa) on my birth certificate, but only the nuns in parochial school and salespeople ever call me that.  I have conflict over how to deal with this when talking with recruiters/interviews as well as how my name is presented on my resume and Linkedin page.  In year's past, I've always used my formal name "Theresa J. Baker" on my resume and went through the interview process as Theresa, leaving the switch to my nickname until the new employment begins.  Again, this is always an awkward situation for me and I'm considering switching everything over to just my nickname. 

I do not necessary dislike being called Theresa, but it can be confusing while networking and during the job hunting process.  If someone were to see my resume with just my nickname on it, that person is usually quick to assume I was a man (as evidence by much mail addressed to "Mr. TJ Baker").  However, if they were to view my Linkedin page, they would see my picture and know that I am a woman.  And, putting both names on my resume is just a bit odd to me. 

I have also found that this is problematic on Linkedin because of the available options for entry of your name.  If I do not include my nickname (and my maiden surname for that matter) imbedded into the available boxes on Linkedin, others cannot search and find me easily.  Given that I've always used my nickname personally and professionally, many people do not even know my formal name and would never think to search for me as "Theresa". (With any luck, maybe one day Linkedin will incorporate entry slots for nickname and for maiden name.) 

So, my question is:  How should I tackle this issue on (a) my resume, (b) my Linkedin site, (c) during introductions, etc. 

Any feedback would be great.  I cannot seem to find any tips on this in books or on the web. 

TJ Baker

Nick Gagalis

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Posts: 78
Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks for sharing TC. My gut says that if someone introduces you by his/her whole name, it's fair game to call them by their first name later in the interview. I'd suggest erring on the side of formality until you're given a reason not to (like hearing a full name). To be consistent, I'd say you should treat people calling you a certain name the same way.

In terms of question #2, that's a tough one. I'll leave it for our career experts to decide. However, it could also be a great question for our weekly webinar, LinkedIn Lab. (You can see some of the past episodes in our archives.) 

If you still need some guidance beyond that, perhaps the career coaching services we offer at our sister site, CareerHMO would be a good resource.

CAREEREALISM User Experience & Content Manager
Amanda Haddaway

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Posts: 35
Reply with quote  #3 
There are a few ways that you can handle your name on your resume:

1. List your formal name on the resume and then when you meet with interviewers, tell them that you prefer to be called TC.
2. List your formal name and your nickname on your resume. For example, Theresa C. "TC" Garrod.
3. Just list your nickname on your resume. If the company is going to do a background check, they'll need your full name, but you can address that with the recruiter later.
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