What’s in a name?

Posted by Amanda Augustine

02:00 AM

Keep your professional name consistent across all business channels.


With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, TheLadders conducted a study that will give soon-to-be moms and dads something to think about when naming their children.The study showed that on average, the shorter your first name, the more you will earn. In fact, every letter added to your first name accounted for a $3,600 drop in annual salary. There’s no rule of thumb about using your nickname versus your proper name, but if the results of this study are any indication, ‘Roberts’ may want to consider going by ‘Bob’ or ‘Rob’ professionally.

However you choose to represent your name, make it consistent across every business channel, including your professional online profiles, resume, business cards, and email signature. Here are three tips to polish your professional brand across every channel.

Online presence

A Jobvite social recruiting survey found that 85 percent of HR professionals and recruiters said that a positive online presence has influenced a hiring decision. On the flip side, 70 percent have turned down a candidate based on something they found about them online. Clean up your online presence and utilize social media to build a professional online brand that supports your job goals by highlighting your relevant work experience and skill sets. If your name is fairly common, like Mike Johnson, consider including your middle initial on all of your branding materials.


Make it easy for recruiters to contact you by including only one phone number and email address on your resume. I recommend using your cell phone since you have control over the voicemail, who picks up the phone and when. Use a professional email address that isn’t considered outdated, such as Gmail. Steer clear of cutesy, offensive, flirtatious or sexual addresses, or addresses shared by family members, as they send hiring managers the wrong message. Include links to your professional profiles in your resume so recruiters don’t have to guess or mistake you for someone else.

Business cards 

If you’re currently unemployed or searching on the sly, I highly recommend creating business cards that use your personal contact information. You can get a nice set from companies like GoPrint for less than fifty bucks, or opt for a greener solution by downloading an app to digitize your business cards. Keep at least five cards on you at all times – you never know when an impromptu networking opportunity might take place.

As a job seeker, you instantly become a marketer and salesperson. Your online presence, your resume, and how you represent yourself during networking opportunities are all part of an effective advertising campaign. Actively monitor and manage your brand to ensure consistent positioning, whether your name is Benjamin, Bradley or Bob.

Click on the following link to learn more about TheLadders’ study on first names.

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TheLadders Ask Amanda AugustineAmanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice. 

Topics: Ask Amanda, Personal Branding