We began our class by soliciting what each student
wished to know and gain from the course. One
person with a concerned look on her face asked:
Should I change my first name to a name that
English speakers can say more easily, for my
resume, for speaking with people for jobs and
interviews and working? Some of the names
Mai (Egyptian, spoken as “May” as in month of)
One suggested changing her name on her official
documents. One thought of change his name on
transcripts and university registration documents.
So, my “cabinet” of expert consultants were
consulted for their recommendations. At the end,
I will summarize:
First of all, changing your name will not increase
your chances of landing a job, all agreed.
From Joel Shulman:
This is obviously a very personal question.
(1) If the student is comfortable being called
something other than his/her given name, I
would suggest picking up a nickname that
is very close to his/her real name. For example,
Jagadeswara could be called Jag
Daqian could use Dak
Jujie is easly pronounces (I think) and
could remain unchanged, or it could be Gene
(male) and Jean (female).
(2) A shortened form of a person’s last name
could be used, as well.
I would not change the name on any official
documents__ only for use when introducing
themselves to others and in parentheses on
one’s resume. For example,
Jagadeswara (Jag) Rajam
For official occasions and on publications
the first name would remain one’s given name.
But for social and job search situations, an
Anglicized name would make things
From Rich Bretz:
Sometimes students will try to
(3) translate their name into English.
For example, we had a fellow from
Africa whose name translated as
“Mr. Chicken”- he soon figured out a
From Louie Kirschenbaum:
Most of our Chinese students have already
picked an Englishname by the time they get
to graduate school. We seem to get a lot of
Amy’s and Wendy’s and they do list themselves
as in Joel’s example…
Indians [and other south Asians seem to] have
so many polysyllabic names that they need
to specify which one (or part of one) they
prefer in normal conversation.
(4) It is also common that they reverse their
names since the last name is given first in
some traditions. This is from a colleague’s
Murali Krishna Cherukuri
(Murali C. Krishna, in publications
In any case, I’d agree that changing a
name to get an interview won’t help get the
job. — Louie
- Be comfortable and consistent with your
- shortened version of first or last name
- last name
List the name on documents, as indicated in
(2) and (4), above.
Other colleagues contributed to this, thank