What Does Changing Your Last Name Mean For Your Career?
Posted August 16, 2019, by Elesha
To change your name or not to change your name?
In the digital age when personal branding is key for your career, that is the question.
Yep. Even if you don’t realise it, you have a personal brand. Go on, just Google yourself
**waits while you Google yourself**
See? If you have a name and a digital presence, you own a personal brand.
Now that's what hiring managers and clients will also see when they’re deciding whether to interview, employ or work with you.
So what does changing your last name mean for your career?
Writers, artists, designers, influencers - anyone who has built a brand and a business around their name will definitely be impacted by a name change. Studies have shown that those who are more professionally tied to their name are less likely to change it.
It’s something everyone should consider though - especially if your Google search results are an asset to your career.
If you do decide to change your name, below are a few pointers on how not to lose your career cred in the process.
Update Your CV With Both Your Current And Former Name…
The most obvious way to make sure markers of professional credibility (mentions in the media, articles you’ve published, etc) aren’t missed by a potential employer or client is to include both names - current and former - on your CV.
Here’s an example of how to present it at the top of the CV -
Kelly Carter (neé Fitzgerald)
7 Cypress Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Kelly Carter (previously Fitzgerald)
7 Cypress Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Both of these formats will work fine for resumes, cover letters, and job applications.
For any work or publications referenced in an application or CV under the former name, add a note next to the reference - “This work was published/authored under the name Kelly Fitzgerald"
It’s not just about preventing your past achievements from being overlooked, it also ensures continuity where references and legal checks are performed.
...And Your LinkedIn Profile Too
LinkedIn is a powerful personal branding tool and if you change your name, LinkedIn should be one of the first professional updates you make.
You want potential clients, employers and industry contacts to find you with your former and current name.
Your custom LinkedIn URL can have 5-30 letters or numbers - without spaces, symbols, or special characters.
It's a good idea to use your first and last name, all lowercase letters. As you can’t add a hyphen or special characters, you’ll need to make a decision on the best name to use - current or former.
When you're done here, see what else you can do to ensure you stand out in all the right ways on LinkedIn.
Create A New Personal Email
When emailing your application or CV for a role or pitching a client, consistency is important for all the information you provide.
You’ll want the email address you provide to match your current name - and it’s always best to use a professional sounding address. [email protected] might not give off the right professional vibe - unless of course, you’re in the business of sparkles and glitter.
Be Systematic (And Patient!) With Your Updates
Aside from email, social media and LinkedIn, there are often little corners of a professional web presence that can be overlooked.
Don’t forget to update all pages of your website and any other networking or directory sites where your contact information is listed.
If you’re employed, you’ll need to let your HR department know. They’ll help guide you on where your name change needs to be made anywhere else in the organisation - including payroll.
When you change your name, it’s a lot of work on the administration front - not just professionally but personally too. Make a list of everywhere you need to make the change and prioritise the most important updates.
Tackle those first and the and then systematically work your way through the rest. Don’t forget to update voicemail messages and business cards, too.
A Tip For Freelancers, Solopreneurs Or Small Biz Owners Getting Paid Via PayPal
If you receive payments for work completed through PayPal, updating your PayPal account with your new name isn’t a quick update.
Like a bank, you’ll need to provide valid and legal proof of identity to PayPal to enable the changes.
This process may disrupt your usual billing schedule to clients - so it’s just something to be aware of in advance. Basically, don’t embark on the name change while you’re waiting on an important (read: big) client invoice to be paid!
So, Will You Change Your Name?
Ultimately it’s a very personal decision - the choice is yours but make sure it is a thoughtful, independent one.