What’s in a name?

Keep your professional name consistent across all business channels.


With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, Ladders 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 Use a professional email address that isn’t considered outdated, such as Gmail.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 Ladders’ study on first names.