International Man of Mystery: How to Remember Names While Networking

man with drink in tuxedo

We always introduce him as Jake,* International Man of Mystery, as if this was his job title. It was not. Jake is one of those tall, silent guys in a suit you see at conferences, cocktail parties, military balls and school kiss-and-ride lines in Northern Virginia this time of year. He is a member of my professional network.

He also might be a secret squirrel. Or he might write code for a bank in Topeka. Or he might be one of those back-end developers. No one knows. So we introduce him as Jake, International Man of Mystery. Everyone laughs nervously. Jake nods and looks mysterious. No one forgets his name.

So I was not surprised when I was introducing him to a job seeker at a party and she did not want to go back to my brilliant advice about her resume. "Wait, what?" she said. "International man of mystery? I want an introduction like that."

Shoot, everyone wants an introduction like that. Everyone wants to be remembered. This is especially true when you are a job seeker who needs to network everywhere you go. (I'm talking to you, transitioning service member and job-seeking spouse!)

As the transition master coach for's Veteran Employment Project, I can tell you that one of the hardest parts of networking is learning how to remember people's names. Some people are fantastic at this skill. I am not one of them. I think this is because I went to Catholic school and all the boys I knew were named Dave, Matt or Mike. It was hard to tell them apart.

That is why I am likely to introduce other people with a tagline to spark a conversation. A conversation helps you remember people while networking. I'll introduce someone with something like:

  • This is Jayden. He just finished his masters in geospatial something, right? I think he wants a job at NGA.
  • This is Chantal. She is the one who taught me how to keep an audience on track.
  • This is Brad. If you lean in close, you will be able to smell the sawdust wafting off his body.
  • This is Rachael. She just got back from an amazing trip to London. What an organizer!
  • This is Davy, who is still in the Navy. And probably will be looking for a job in February.

If you are the one introducing yourself and you are a job seeker, it is a little trickier. You need to be strategic and use social occasions to meet people, even if you hate meeting people. Social settings are a surprisingly rich source of job leads in the months before you leave the military. Taglines are a way to help people remember you.

Don't think that by "tagline," I mean you need to deliver your elevator pitch or recite your headline from LinkedIn in order to be "networking." (Find out everything you need to know to use LinkedIn on your veteran job search in our free master class Stealth LinkedIn.)

Instead, give the person you are being introduced to not only your name, but something about you that will spark a conversation that goes in the direction you want. "Hi, I'm Jacey, and I'm unemployed" is not a good start. Neither is, "I'm Robert, and I'm desperate to find a job."

You want to make your tagline positive, surprising or even funny. Or you want to make it something to get them talking about themselves. Spouses and kids can be especially good at helping you come up with a tagline. Try something like this:

  • Hi, I'm Jenna. I can't believe this is the last time I'm ever going to wear this uniform to a ball.
  • Hi, I'm Ailya. What a beautiful place. I've never been here before; have you? We just transferred from Stuttgart.
  • Hi, I'm Eric. Do you think I can include herding cats on my resume?
  • Hi, I'm Isaac. Did I hear you say you work for GD? What do you do there?

Your tagline does not have to be brilliant. It just has to steer the conversation in the right direction -- your job hunt. This is not rude. People want to talk to you when you are transitioning from the military or looking for a job, but they can't help if they don't get a chance to find out you are looking. After all, you are an international man or woman of mystery with so much to offer. Start networking now.

* Names have been changed to protect the mysterious.

Jacey Eckhart is's transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website, Reach her at

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Transitioning military, veterans and spouses may be qualified for the job, but they are missing the secrets of civilian hiring. Find out everything you need to know with our FREE master class series, including our next class. You can view previous classes in our video library. Questions for Jacey? Visit our Facebook page.

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