May 2, 2011
Could your name predict your profession?
[Photo by Swift Benjamin]
LinkedIn data analysts evaluated more than 100 million profiles on the business networking site to suss out the most common CEO names.
The top name for women CEOs? Deborah. And for their male counterparts? Peter.
Here are the female runners-up: Sally, Debra, Cynthia, and Carolyn. And here are the males: Bob, Jack, Bruce, and Fred.
According to LinkedIn, the study found that U.S. CEOs often have four-letter names -- Bill, Jack, Fred, and the like. (I don't see any four-letter names on the list of top female CEO names, but maybe LinkedIn's analysts temporarily forgot that women run companies too.)
In the United States, LinkedIn analysts say, it's not just CEOs whose name corresponds with their job title. Salespeople often have clippy, four-letter names (think Skip, Chad, and Rich), say the LinkedIn folks. Many engineers have longer, six-letter names like Andrew, Rajesh, and Donald. And, LinkedIn says, food and restaurant industry workers "tend to have longer French names" like Philippe and Laurent.
LinkedIn notes that male CEOs and sales pros may be more likely to use a choppy, monosyllabic nickname (Dave, rather than David) because it sounds more intimate and chummy. On the flip side, LinkedIn says, female executives tend to use their full first name (Judith, instead of Judy) because it sounds more professional.
What do you think? Have you noticed a pattern of first names among specific roles at your organization? Have your shortened your name to sound more friendly and accessible, or ditched your nickname in favor of your full first name to sound more no-nonsense? How about ditching your first name in favor of your middle name in the interest of sounding more professional?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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