Research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, suggests that using a middle initial increases people’s perceptions of your intellectual capacity and performance. In one study, students were asked to rate an essay with one of four styles of author names. Not only did the authors with a middle initial receive top marks, but the one with the most initials, David F.P.R. Clark, received the best reviews.
If you are a woman with a gender-neutral name, you may be more likely to succeed in certain fields. According to The Atlantic magazine, in male-dominated fields such as engineering and law, women with gender-neutral names may be more successful. One study found that women with “masculine names” like Leslie, Jan, or Cameron tended to be more successful in legal careers.
Lastly, professional women at the top are more likely to use their full names. LinkedIn researchers found that the most common names of female CEOs include Deborah, Cynthia, and Carolyn. Unlike the men, women may use their full names in an attempt to project professionalism and gravitas, per this report.
Will the future for Millenials mean that name changes are strategic or will the norm in the board room become Emma, Lily or Grace? There are no hard and fast rules to apply, but adding your middle initial immediately is an easy way to step up your game and judge the results yourself. Try it!