Last week, the world learned that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their newborn, North West. What had been rumored as one of the choices for their baby’s moniker was indeed true. North, or Nori as she is being called, will have the honorable distinction of having a name that will probably be fodder for late night jokes for many years to come.
Parents are entitled to name their children anything they want, but some don’t think of the long-term ramifications of such. Sure, North has parents who are millionaires, so getting a job probably won’t be a problem for her. But for most of us, our names can make or break our professional careers.
I have silently thanked both of my parents many times for giving me a name that can be easily pronounced. The spelling of it, however, has given me trouble in the past, since my mother had the best intentions when she changed the traditional spelling of Danielle to Danyelle. My maiden name Smith, replaced later by my married name Little made me potentially viable to recruiters and employers that were looking for a professional candidate. No matter how we’d like to think names don’t matter when it comes to finding a job, they actually do matter. Before a person is able to walk in for an interview, it is the name on a resume in which the employer first sees. If the recruiter sees that you have a strange, yet unpronounceable name, it can cause them to look the other way.
As a HR professional, I don’t think that is the right thing to do—the job should be based on qualifications, work history, past job performance, and of course, your skill set. In professional corporate environments, surface counts. A name can make or break whether you will get called in for an interview. Too many hyphens, apostrophes, etc. can land your resume at the bottom of the pile. And I can tell you firsthand that I didn’t call some candidates because their names were hard to pronounce and/or spell.
And it’s not just “professional” career in the corporate world. I’ve seen it in blogging too, where the name of the blogger has given some problems with working with brands. Your name, along with your brand, website URL, and overall presence means a lot.
When I named both of my children, I took in consideration their futures. I wanted them to be able to have a name that could be easily pronounced and spelled. Knowing that the name wasn’t just for the moment; it wasn’t a fad or a trend. It would be their life, and how others could potentially identify with them.
People do make judgements based off of names—this is sad, but true. While I think that having unique and personable names is important, so is having one that will transition to a professional work environment, should that be an option.
North West aka Nori undoubtedly won’t have a problem when seeking employment, since her parents are both richer than most of you reading this blog post. But for those not so “fortunate”, names matter.
Celebrity baby names like Blue Ivy, Tennessee James, Rainbow Aurora, etc. are all unique, trendy, and to some, an affront to the status quo. But for regular folk, names are important to your career. Whether you’ve got the skills or not.
What’s say you? Weigh in on names. Do you think they are important in order to have a successful working career?
Photo credit: US Weekly