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When You Should Let Co-Workers Know Your Nickname

Your name is usually the first thing other people find out about you — in college, your name on the door allowed your roommate to begin speculating about your appearance and personality, and when you apply for jobs your résumé introduces you in larger letters at the very top of the page. In order to be professional we usually introduce ourselves formally, even though your mom may be the only person who occasionally calls you by your full name. So when is it appropriate to let a potential employer or a new employer know your preferred name? To see what I think about timing just


If you’ve always gone by your middle name then that’s what you should put on your résumé. I’ve met a lot of people who have always been called a name that has nothing to do with their legal name, and in that case your legal name should be what you put on your résumé. Once you’ve accepted a job, let the human resources director know that you prefer to be called by your nickname. That way, you’ll be introduced to your new colleagues as the name you wish to be called and won’t be put in the position of explaining your nickname to everyone you meet. While I haven’t been in that position myself, I’ve heard from friends that it gets old very fast.

So what if your name is Christine and you prefer to be called Christie? If your name is one that’s often shortened, the best scenario is that the other party will ask you what you prefer to be called. If you’re not presented with this easy out then you have two options. If the tone of your interview and attitude of your interviewer was friendly and more casual, then I think it’s OK to sign your postinterview thank-you with your shortened name along with your last name. If it’s a more formal interview and your interviewer and company are more conservative, I think it’s best to wait until you’re offered the job to let them know your preference. Just tell tell the human resources director when you accept the job so you’ll be all set from day one.

Join The Conversation
discocactus discocactus 9 years
I only want my friends and family calling me by my shortened name or nicknames, professionally I keep my name longer. I do this partially because in general I keep my personal and professional life separate and that means not having my boss or coworkers call me the name I had when I was a little girl, which just feels weird to me. Also, I've heard (someone studied this, don't know who) that women with names that end in "ie" or "y" are treated less seriously and/or considered less professional so I figured it couldn't hurt.
nancita nancita 9 years
Great tips! I have a friend named Lizzy who I met through work and who is called Lizzy by everyone she knows: friends, family, everyone. No one called her Elizabeth...Except all of us who worked with her, because that's how she had been introduced. I started hanging out with her socially, and even though I'd known her for like 9 months, I had no idea everyone called her Lizzy. I was like "why didn't you SAY something?!"
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 9 years
I always loved my name (Yes, It's the obvious - Susan.) I dislike being called Susie unless it is by close family members. Sue also kind of bothers me. I don't know. It makes me feel like I'm taking legal action towards someone. Even my friends and fiance call me Susan. Yeeun- A friend of mine has a difficult to pronounce name aswell. She goes by something completely different at work.
yeeun yeeun 9 years
I have a really hard to pronounce legal name (im korean) and so I tell everyone a different/completely non related name. Ive been seriously considering changing my name for years, but i dont know if i should. this really is a pain
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i surprised to hear these stories. there are so many unusual names now i wouldn't assume anyone's name wasn't there "real" name.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
My given name IS a nickname - and I hate when people call me by the formal name they assume I have shortened. Sorry folks, it's on my birth certificate that way - deal with it. The only nickname I truly have is from hubby and I don't want anyone else calling me that!! ;) Personally, I think that judging people by shortened first names is pretty shallow - if you want to be professional - go by Mr/Mrs/Ms/Title LastNameHere.
Pets Pets 9 years
I always write my full name out and refer to myself by that name (first-middle-last) which causes many people (even on interviews) to assume or ask if I go by my middle one.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
people ALWAYS shorten my name, even after i tell them i prefer my full name. it drives me absolutely effing bonkers.
eeeyore138 eeeyore138 9 years
My name is Jessica and I go by Jess or Jessica. I hate being called Jessi and when I ask someone not to they find it amusing. It's actually become a joke in class (funny how it would happen during my last Master's class EVER). All my life people have called me Jenn or Jennifer which gets quite annoying but at this point I usually just answer to it. My boss has called me Julia of Julica for the last 2.5 years for no apparent reason... my last day is Friday and I will never have to hear it again! I almost wish I had a name that couldn't be shortened or wasn't similar to other names. :(
mlen mlen 9 years
its funny cause i worked with my best friend and i had to get used to calling her by her full name or no one knew who i was talking about! i got so used to calling her by her nickname. so then when we'd hang out with our friends and i'd call her by her full name they'd look at me funny- cause no one ever called her by her full name- but from work i got in that habit!
MissMarisol MissMarisol 9 years
People always pronounce my name wrong. I sort of feel that I sort of lose my identity because of it. Does anyone else? BTW, my name is Marisol and it should be pronounced mah-RIH-sol.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
My resume lists my full name but when I call or respond to an interview request and introduce myself at the interview I say my name is Jessy, because it is. I sign my name Jessy and that is the only thing I am called unless I am in trouble. I have considered shortening it permanently because I sometimes forget to write my full name on legal documents.
fitgirlFL fitgirlFL 9 years
My name is Patricia and I hate, hate, hate it when people call me Pat. I would actually prefer to be called Patricia, but I go by Trish simply to avoid having to deal with those people who just assume it's okay to shorten my name to whatever they want.
graduatedsqueaks graduatedsqueaks 9 years
My coworkers knew my nickname even before I interviewed with them... (it's squeaks, btw). It's a nickname from college that was included in my profile on one of the student groups I was in. They googled my real name, and found that... it's was a little weird when they asked me where my nickname came from... So, also a reminder to make sure you know what potential employers can find out online...luckily a silly nickname isn't too bad.
katie225 katie225 9 years
my given name IS a nickname! my parents considered giving me a more "professional" name, but i think it's perfect. luckily, in my profession we go by last names only (teaching).
jedimasterarmi jedimasterarmi 9 years
I don't even let my teachers and fellow student's know my nickname, much less coworkers. the only time i let a friend know my nickname is if i've known them for a loooong time and they are close to me.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Luckily I have no nicknames. Well aside of B*tch. I gave myself that one.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
I shorten my name on my resume, actually. It's really just because it's what I go by and it's what I'm credited as, so I don't want someone to mistake it and credit me by my longer, formal name. But then again, I work in a far more casual business where a resume is just a formality and most people will just look me up my credits rather than ask me to send a resume.
Angelica Angelica 9 years
I totally agree with you Savvy!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I never really thought about this.
linb linb 9 years
Thankfully I have never had to deal with this. My name is not easily shortened and I don't have a nickname. I used to work for a company with a man named Carl, or that's what we called him. His legal name was Carol - someone misspelled his name on his birth certificate and added the 'o'. He answered to both names.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
My name is Amanda and I go by Mandy. I would just say my name is Mandy...because it is.
millarci millarci 9 years
I hate it when people assume that since my name is Catherine that they can call me 'Cathy'. I hate being called 'Cathy' and I wish people would stop assuming...
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Most applications for jobs now ask for nicknames or what you prefer to be called. I remember at one job one lady name was Marie and she liked to be called Annabella ( a childhood name and no it was not her middle name).
skigurl skigurl 9 years
when i was born, my aunt told my parents they should consider a more "professional" name...she thought my name was too "casual" and when i grew up i would have trouble becoming a professional with my given name.... i wish i could go back to her now and ask if she's surprised that i graduated with a professional masters at 23, and into a job making near as much money as she is after 27 years in her profession
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