What's in a name?


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Posted Online: Oct. 06, 2011, 5:00 pm
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Dawn Klingensmith CTW Features

As a self-described “skinny kid with a funny name,” Barack Obama says he’s living proof that America has a place for everybody.

But Obama used to go by the considerably more mainstream “Barry” and, in fact, the job market does not have a place for everybody, as evidenced by the national unemployment rate, which stands at 9.2 percent.

That’s why a marketing professor at Pace University, New York, recommends that college grads with funny names consider adopting a nickname before they enter the job market.

To employers screening résumés and looking for any excuse to weed people out, a hard-to-pronounce name might be reason enough for disqualification, says Larry Chiagouris, author of “The Secret to Getting a Job After College” (Brand New World Publishing, 2011).

Using a nickname “can help remove an obstacle to getting an interview,” he says.

“I know political correctness tends to bury these kinds of issues,” he adds, “but it’s better to tackle them head-on than ignore them.” Not everyone agrees with Chiagouris. An unusual name is memorable, and can make it easier for employers to find a candidate online – an advantage provided a search turns up positive information as opposed to a trove of party pictures on Facebook.

“I definitely think, in the age of Google, that having a unique name has helped more than hindered my career,” says Atlanta-based writer Acree Graham, a contributor to The Next Great Generation, an online magazine about growing up in the information age. “In the creative field especially, I find that my friends with ‘normal’ names are switching them up in order to snatch that unique URL or make their application more memorable.”

Unless done so legally, last names can’t be altered, Chiagouris says, but if a candidate advances to the interview phase, an unusual name might be advantageous: “When there are a lot of candidates meeting the prospective employer in person, the people with bland or overly familiar last names are more likely to blend together, whereas the person with a hard-to pronounce name stands out.”














 




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  Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.




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