Your Name on a Resume– Formal or Informal?

National Experts in Resume Writing & Career Coaching

Your Name on a Resume– Formal or Informal?

The very first thing someone sees on your resume is your name and the way you put it subtly positions you. For example, do you put Donald L. Goodman or Don Goodman at the top? Here’s some schools of thought on that question.


Very senior executives and those in academia should generally use a formal notation as it befits their stature in an organization. However, for everyone else, I recommend the informal approach. Remember this truth – people hire people they like. So your goal is to build rapport with your interviewers and get them to like you and want to hire you. Since the only person who calls me Donald is my mother (usually when she’s mad), I would put Don on the resume. Some people even put their nicknames – Charles (Chip) Smith – which is particularly good if you have an unusual first name. This approach subtly indicates you are a down-to-earth person and one that builds relationships easily. So my advice is keep it simple and friendly and put the name that people call you on the resume.