Do you insist on people calling you by your full name or do you encourage colleagues to keep it casual and call you by a nickname? Your choice could be worth thousands of pounds…
Last month we looked at a batch of CVs that had been uploaded to ValueMyCV to see which names were worth the most – our unique CV tool estimates your market value based on your education, work experience and skills, so it’s a good indicator of how much people earn.
While finding out which names were worth the most was mildly interesting (Phil, Jim and Mike for the boys, Michelle, Kate and Andrea for the girls), we were a lot more fascinated by a recurring pattern: people who used a shorter version of their name had higher values than people using long names. So Steves (£49,303 on average) were more valuable than Stevens (£37,556) while Kates (£34,652) were worth more than Katherines (£29,787).
But why is it that Matts have CVs worth £10,000 more than Matthews? Why is the average ‘Dave’ CV valued 25% higher than a ‘David’ CV? And why is a CV belonging to your average Phil worth £55,000 compared to your average Phillip at £45,000?
By the time we’d gone through the entire list of male names and found that the only case where a long name was worth more than the short name (Oliver, in case you were wondering), it became clear that this wasn’t just a coincidence: using a short name on your CV could help you earn more money.
Why do shorter names have more valuable CVs?
One theory is that giving someone permission to call you by a nickname or informal version of your name allows them to form a more emotional connection with you that insisting on the full-length version of the name prohibits.
If you can build better relationships faster with colleagues and managers, it’s likely that you’ll also gain opportunities sooner, allowing you to quickly acquire more of the high-value skills and experience which make a CV more valuable to employers.
Then there’s the fact that choosing to use a short name on your CV can also show confidence – there’s no need to try and front up with false formalities. Other people might recognise this confidence and trust you with more responsibilities, or it may simply be that a more confident person will push harder for these responsibilities, and the promotions that usually follow them.
Still not convinced? A study by Dr Simon Laham and Dr Adam Alter found that people with easy to pronounce names, such as shorter names, were favoured for job promotions over those with harder to pronounce names.
So, will using a shorter name earn me more money?
Suddenly changing the name on your CV from Steve to Stephen isn’t going to magically inflate your pay packet. Opting to use your shorter name – when you introduce yourself to new colleagues, when signing off an email, and yes, when writing your CV – might just increase your earning potential over the course of your career however.
For women the picture is less clear. While there are examples where short versions were more valuable – Becky, Kate, and Jess were worth more than Rebecca, Katherine and Jessica– this wasn’t always the case, which could be because some successful women use their full name to show they take the workplace seriously.
Regardless, the evidence is clear – your name has an impact on your salary. Choose it carefully.
To find out if you’re being underpaid, and how much your skills and experience could be worth to employers, upload your CV today to ValueMyCV.
Difference in value between short and long names
Top & Bottom 10 Male & Female Names
Notes on the study: The study analysed salary data collected from 280,000 CVs uploaded to Adzuna’s ValueMyCV tool to find the average value of a name. Names considered for the top 10 tables had data from at least 100 CVs, while additional names used in the shortened and full comparison had data from at least 20 CVs each. Unisex names were omitted from the study to prevent making unfair comparisons.
How we determined value: ValueMyCV estimates the market value of each CV by using a unique machine learning algorithm, which takes into account factors such as skills, work experience, job title and education, and was trained on hundreds of thousands of real CVs and salaries. In addition, the tool uses live salary data collected from the 1 million plus job ads hosted on Adzuna. Name is not a factor that affects the valuation.