What's in a name?


Share
Posted Online: Oct. 06, 2011, 5:00 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
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.”














 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




(More History)