I loathe wearing name tags. 

The adhesive ones can leave behind a residue. The ones with pins or clips create holes or creases. And the lanyard ones hang so that readers have to crane their neck and/or stare at my chest…not exactly the way I prefer to meet a professional contact.

But when it comes to networking (at events like ASK Night or the Career Fair) a name tag is a necessity. Anonymity is not to your advantage in these situations. Worn properly, a legible name tag helps people remember your name and then quickly move on to exchanging information with you.

A poorly located, illegible, or absent name tag can cause consternation, and even embarrassment. A name tag should make it easy for people to meet and greet you without having to gaze at body parts other than your face. Wearing your name tag correctly demonstrates your etiquette and networking savvy.

Queen of Etiquette, Emily Post says: “Although it is easier for right-handed people to put a name badge on the left side, they correctly are worn on the right side so the person shaking hands or greeting has easy eye contact with both you and your badge as a way to help remember your name. This is the purpose of wearing the badges in the first place.”

Future employers may ask that you wear a name tag elsewhere in accordance with company policy. But if you want to improve your chances of becoming their future employee, the ideal placement for your name tag is your upper right shoulder.

So ladies, please don’t wear your name tag in such a manner as to draw attention to your chest area. And gentlemen, please keep name tags off of your belt or waistband. But do wear them. When recruiters meet you, let their gaze be drawn up your right arm from your handshake to your name tag and face…and then on to your qualities as a candidate.

© 2011 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound
Photo: CES