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Name confusion

Q: My resume does not usually include my writing for a special interest literary magazine. However, if someone Googles me, they will most likely find another woman with my same name who also writes on the same topic. Her work if far more explicit! I have landed two good jobs in the last eight years and some lesser jobs, but I do wonder if Googling has lost me any opportunities. I realize times have changed and maybe I should add my affiliation with the magazine. It is volunteer work. On the one hand, writing is tangential to jobs to which I apply (office management) but on the other hand, I'm proud of being a published writer and writing is a skill that is valued by many employers.

A: How wonderful that you have found an interest which is enjoyable and relates to your career! I can understand why strong writing skills would be related to your profession and make you more attractive to an employer. Writing skills, especially in office management roles, are becoming increasing important. It is not unusual for a department manager to ask an office manager to draft a memo or contribute to a newsletter. Plus it probably makes your job more interesting.
Here are a few suggestions on ways you can separate yourself from that other writer:
- Research what names the other writer uses. If she signs off with the name Patricia H. Sinacole, you could use Pattie Sinacole or Pattie Hunt Sinacole. Or if you have a middle name with which you are comfortable, you could consider P. Hunt Sinacole. In short, try to use a different version of your name.
- On your resume, you could add a section called Publications. This would certainly differentiate you, in a positive way. Included in this section would be a short list of some of your articles. This would help an interviewer understand what published works belong to you. It doesn't matter if it is a voluntary role or not because it is still valuable experience.
- During an interview, the topic of your writing may surface. Be prepared to discuss your writing, perhaps discussing your most memorable articles. It might also be wise to talk about the other writer, who writes far more explicit articles but has the same name. If you confront it proactively, there is less of a chance that confusion will occur.

by Pattie Hunt Sinacole

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