Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Importance of Spelling Names Right

A lot of advice for job hunters, writers, journalists and, well, anyone sending a professional message to another professional, is to make sure that you get the name right of whoever you are sending whatever it is to.

I live by this credo, and I avoid using names if I'm not sure how to spell it, and I even avoid asking how to pronounce someone's name. Because I remember in Kindergarden, getting an award for something or other (being a nice person, I think?) and they spelled my last name wrong.

On my award it said 'Samantha Gordon'. I could not stop crying.

I don't remember anything else about the award. I don't remember if they fixed it or who had mispelled it, but I remember thinking that the award wasn't for me. Despite that they meant to put my name on it, and it was just a typo. Despite that being quite some time ago, I still get annoyed at my name being misspelled. For example, my first name? Samie.

A very unusual spelling of my name, and I tend to be pretty lenient with people about how they spell it if they've only heard it or don't know me very well, but I get a little irked when I send someone an email, ending it with the proper spelling of my name, and they respond with it misspelled. I find it a little lazy, to be honest.

It always makes me wonder how much they read of my email if they misspelled my name. Especially if I introduced myself at the beginning as well as ending it with my name. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the biggest reason that I believe that it is a horrible idea to misspell someone's name.

It's insulting. Going back to being a child and not feeling I deserved the award, that really is the most basic way of describing it.

We define ourselves, in part, by our names, and if someone cannot take the time to spell our name right, they obviously do not think we're all that important in general.

Whether it's the person you're sending the resume to or the person you're sending your pitch to, if you don't spell their name right, they don't think that you are considering them important, so why should they take their time to even attempt to elevate your importance?

While not everyone will get upset about it, while I no longer will begrudge someone too much when they spell my name wrong, it still bugs me. One of my best friends does it, and while I tease him, I otherwise don't mention it to people.

But if I had to hire someone, and two people had similar credentials, spelling my name wrong may end up making the difference between hiring one person over the other.

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