I’ll pretty much answer to anything – Info Yenta, Data Diva, jw, Joanne.
I never really thought of my name as being that difficult, but the increase in being referred to as “Joanne” is having me rethinking this issue.
I’ve been called by the wrong name much of my life. When I was in High School, I even had my name spelled three different ways incorrectly in a programme. Perhaps this is my destiny.
My email address is my last name followed by my first name, and my name — along with my email address and twitter handle — accompanies each email I send out at the bottom in my signature file. Come to think of it, my business cards pretty much have it spelled out clearly as well.
Just for the record, my name is Joanna Wolfe – that’s Joanna with an “a” and Wolfe with an “e” at the end of each.
You may be thinking, so what’s the big deal? Why even bother to bring it up?
Well, in a job search, where you are trying to making an impression and make yourself memorable, the last thing you want to be is remembered for a name which is not yours.
Having lived with being called by the wrong name and having my named misspelled much of my life, I’m constantly challenged on how best to address the issue.
You want people to remember your name, not someone else’s name.
Think about it. You would never want to address your potential new manager by the wrong name or spell it incorrectly in an email or thank you note.
But the if the tables are turned, how do you correct the interviewer, screener, or recruiter?
I struggle with the amount of people who call me Joanne, address me as Joanne in emails, and introduce me as Joanne – and these are people I’ve known for a fair amount of time, in some cases years. I mean, it sounds pretty ungrateful for me to correct these people. After all, they’ve taken the time to contact me and speak to me. I don’t want to offend them or come across as difficult – but I’d like to claim my name back.
William Blackmon, who teaches the LinkMeIn* course at Wake Tech, actually has a novel way of approaching this issue. He suggests for names that are misspelled that you actually list the common misspellings of your name in the Summary statement in your Linked In profile. That way if someone is searching for, say “Joanne Wolf”, they are presented, not only with the Joanne Wolf’s of the world, but (in this case) me as well.
Mike Komives, who runs the St. Thomas More Jobs Network, and teaches the workshop Networking and Job Search Strategies for the Mature Professional at Durham Tech**, suggests spelling out your name when introducing yourself or making an elevator speech.
Me, well, I’ll just keep introducing myself as Joanna, or as I have taken to when being introduced by others “Joann-NA“, and hope people will remember the “a”. After all, it is “a” little thing.
How do you approach problems you may encounter with your name?
* The next LinkMeIn course will be given on Friday, October 22nd at Wake Tech’s West Campus in Cary (Kildaire Farms Road between Penny and Ten Ten). There are two sessions: Basics 8:30am to 11:30 and then Next Steps & Advance 12:30pm to 3:30pm. To register, send an email to email@example.com. This course is free to folks who are unemployed.
** The next Networking and Job Search Strategies for the Mature Professional will be begin on Tuesday, October 19th at the OCSDC Job Skills Center, 503 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. The class runs 1:00 to 4:00 PM. No pre-registration required. Attend one of the first two sessions to register. Questions? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.