How to Include a Name Change on Your Resume
What should you do with your resume when your name has changed? People change their names for all sorts of reasons, from the mundane to the off-beat.
Regardless of why you've changed yours, a name change mid-career comes with a whole new set of complications beyond updating driver's licenses and credit cards. For example, you need to figure out what to do with your resume.
It's not a rare problem these days. Harvard Business Review reports that just 8 percent of brides in 2011 kept their birth names, as opposed to 23 percent in the 1990s, and 6 percent of those who changed their names either hyphenated or created a new one with their partner.
It's harder to find statistics for the percentage of men who take their partner's name. But, name changes, in general, seem to have gained popularity in recent years for every reason under the sun, including mimicking favorite pop stars or just ditching a moniker that never quite fit.
Regardless of why you've changed your name, you have to figure out how to deal with it on your resume.
Do You Have to Include Both Names on Your Resume?
Why not just slap your new name on your CV and go about your merry way? Well, for one thing, personal branding is important in this day and age, and even if you've decided to tweak yours by altering your legal name, you want your accomplishments to follow you.
Beyond that, it's important that your resume matches your employment history so that hiring managers and the people who conduct your background check can easily track you from Point A to Point B and know that you are who you say you are.
So how should you list a name change on your resume? Here are a few options, which work for resumes, cover letters, and job applications, plus an example of a resume including both a current and a former name.
Options for Mentioning a Name Change on a Resume
When your name has changed, due to marriage, divorce, or another reason, there are a couple of options for including the change on your resume.
You can list both names on your resume. Either put your former name in parentheses or list both names, with your previous name in a smaller font:
Nancy (Smith) Simmonds
First (Maiden) Last
formerly Nancy Smith
In the resume example below, the job seeker has put her former last name in parentheses.
Resume Example With a Name Change
This is an example of a resume with a name change. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Resume Example With a Name Change (Text Version)
Katherine (Smith) Applicant
123 Main Street
White Plains, NY 12345
BOUTIQUE SALES MANAGER
Creating top-notch clothing boutique stores through solid management
Respected Sales Manager with 10+ years’ experience in managing staff, payroll, scheduling, creating sales reports, overseeing inventory, and maintaining a clientele book seeks a position with a top boutique.
Key skills include:
● Integrating New Register Functions
● Training and Overseeing Sales Staffs
● Placing Orders and Restocking
● Designing Boutique Windows
● Merchandising High-Ticket Items
● Handling Receiving of Weekly Merchandise
Panorama Specialty Boutique, White Plains, NY
ASSISTANT MANAGER (February 2014 – Present)
Manage payroll and scheduling, create reports, handle inventory and emails, maintain clientele book records, place orders to restock merchandise and handle receiving of products.
● Extensive work with visual standards and merchandising high-ticket items.
● Designed over 25 boutique store-front windows, helping to double sales over two years.
BLOOMINGDALE’S, White Plains, NY
SALES ASSOCIATE (June 2008 – February 2014)
Set up trunk shows and attended monthly clinics for new incoming fashion lines.
● Collaborated with tailors and seamstresses to arrange fittings and ensure customer satisfaction.
● Oversaw and provided feedback on new sale associates’ private shopping appointments.
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
RAMPO COLLEGE, Arlington, VA
Bachelor of Arts in English (Minor: Business; 3.75 GPA; Honor Roll Every Semester), 2008
Certified Sales Associate (CSA) • Member, National Retail Sales Federation (NRSF)
Microsoft Office Suite, Including Excel • Proficient in Cash Register Software, including Nextar
A Few Words of Caution
Consistency is key when presenting any materials for a job application, which is one reason why so many job-search experts recommend securing an email address in your name. (The other, of course, is that "creative" email addresses often seem less than professional.)
It's not uncommon now for married women to have a number of different names, depending on the situation and the circumstances. Take, for example, a married writer with a byline, a legal name, and a birth name.
Although she should be prepared to provide a list of all three variations to her prospective employer in order to assist in verifying her identity and background, her application materials should reflect one, consistent name – to go with the one, consistent message she's hoping to convey as part of her personal branding strategy.
The goal is to express in as few words as possible who you are and what you've accomplished, without making the hiring manager dig around for information. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking like you've changed your name in order to hide from creditors or the law, instead of getting married or ditching a hated surname or even just adopting a chosen name that sounds more like the person you feel yourself to be.
Mention It to the Employer
Don't worry about an employer having difficulty checking your references or your work history because of the name change. You can let the prospective employer know that there are employment records in your former name.