Dear Matt: My first name is “Milissa”, not “Melissa”. I’d like to know if employers will not look at my résumé because they may think I have a typo in my name. I could use “Missy”, but I don’t think that sounds very professional. I had a co-worker look at my résumé for typos — and that is the first thing she pointed out.
Matt says: There are a couple of good lessons with this question. The first shows how important it is to have another set of eyes review your résumé. A fresh set of eyes is always a benefit to proofing a final version. Second, it brings up the importance of detailing the little things in your résumé and cover letter. Even if it’s not a misspelling, other typos or grammatical errors can derail your job search.
There are more unique and creative spellings for first names than ever before. I know first-hand. My daughter’s name is traditionally spelled with a C, yet we spelled it with a K. We are constantly correcting people. But if that’s your name, you should be proud of it and not try to hide it.
To avoid confusion, a good way to overcome that is to include two other points of reference with the spelling included, says Jennifer Brigham, Vice President of Marketing and Recruiting for SEEK Careers/Staffing (SEEKCareers.com), a company that placed over 7,500 workers through its 14 offices in Minnesota and Wisconsin last year.
First, you could create an email address (through Gmail, for example) with your full name included in that address. When your email comes across, it will read as being from Milissa, validating that spelling.
“Having a separate and professional email address is recommended for job seekers, and having one with your name spelled out would reinforce that it isn’t a typo,” says Brigham.
Second, create a LinkedIn profile URL with your complete name and include a link to that profile, showing the spelling. For example, the URL for Brigham’s LinkedIn profile is www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferbrigham. When you are on LinkedIn, you can go into settings-public profile to edit your own to be simple like this, including your correct full name.
Editing the URL can also help eliminate extra characters from your URL, making it clean and concise to use in places such as your résumé or email signature line.
“If you add these two additional links that verify your name’s spelling, it has the added benefit of giving a professional edge to your résumé,” says Brigham.
These little steps should help you avoid any second-guessing by the recruiter. They will also take the focus off your name and instead direct their attention to the skills and abilities you can bring to the company.
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