Over the course of a job search, it’s not uncommon to meet a bunch of new people. Just think of the amount of people involved in networking events, phone interviews and in-person interviews – and that’s all before the first impression marathon that is the first day at a new job! Unfortunately, without preparing for this onslaught of information, well meaning job seekers who forget the names of their new connections can appear unprepared or, worse yet, rude.
If you’re having a tough time playing the name game, don’t sweat it! With these easy to remember memorization techniques for job seekers, you’ll be greeting decision makers and new colleagues with confidence:
Write Until You’re Right
One simple steps towards better memory for names is to write them down. While job seekers do need to write plenty of things – resumes, cover letters, applications, etc. – many of these activities take place online. However, the physical action of putting pen to paper while consciously thinking through the information can make the details stick better. According to Psychology Today, “…don’t just copy the list of facts you’re trying to learn but actively recall each item you wish to learn and then write it down again and again and again. In doing this, you are, in effect, teaching yourself what you’re trying to learn.”
To put this method into practice, make an effort to write down each person you’re connected with along the job search, along with their job title and company. Then, before an interview or other interaction, return to your list, then write, write and rewrite until it’s all committed to memory! When it comes to remembering names, sometimes the simplest memorization techniques can have the biggest impact.
Read, Speak, Repeat
To take your memorization to the next level, it’s time to move the words from the paper to your mouth! Reading aloud has been found to be an excellent tool in aiding information retention. It’s not just because people love hearing themselves talk; reading aloud requires multiple mental tools, including mouth-to-brain motor processes and auditory processing. Adding these extra layers of work for your brain creates more lasting memories!
Get past the awkwardness of talking to yourself and speak up! In addition to running through your list of names and titles aloud while you’re alone, this method can also be practiced while meeting individuals in the moment. Make a habit of repeating your new contacts’ names when you first meet them, and as often as possible (without making it weird) throughout the interaction.
Method of Loci
The final of the memorization techniques for job seekers takes memorization outside of the box and applies it to locations (thus the “loci” in the Method of Loci). Sometimes referred to as the “memory palace” this method involves associating ideas to be memorized with memorable scenes imagined to be at well-known locations. For example, while a shopping list can be a pain to remember, if the same list is applied to a visualized walkthrough of a familiar location, like your home, it can be easier to keep in mind.
For example, “There is a gallon of milk on the counter. When I walk down the hall, I notice there isn’t any hand soap on the sink. As I move towards the bedroom, I step on potato chips spilled all across the floor!” According to the New York Times, “Using the approach, people who could remember only a handful of numbers — seven is the norm, give or take a few — were trained to recall 80 to 90.” Just think of the number of names that could be remembered with the same method!
To apply the Method of Loci to your job search, start visualizing the names of your new contacts applied to a visualized walkthrough of a location you know well. It can be as simple as thinking to yourself, “Dave from Accounting is the guy I met next to the big red sign. Cheryl, the Marketing Manager, shook my hand next to the loud coffee machine.” Giving yourself extra context beyond a name alone can be extremely helpful when trying to recall information.
If you’ve been playing the name game and feel yourself losing, it’s time to try some memorization techniques for job seekers! Do you have any tips and tricks for remembering new names? Share your skills in the comments below to keep the conversation going!