For newly met acquaintances, deployment of a single lexical term, an emblem such as tech or finance , signals where one stands in the professional universe and points to any manner of traits and characteristics or a certain type of person. This positioning and evaluation has pivotal real-world implications for occupational attainment as people decide whether a conversation is worth continuing and a contact worth advancing. This study examines self-presentation sequences at a professional networking event in Hong Kong. In the interactions at these events, professional emblems serve to locate people amongst different taxonomies, such as hierarchies of eliteness, and invoke various traits. But in highly diverse, globalized contexts like this one in Hong Kong, what happens when shared knowledge of emblems is not readily available, and how do participants negotiate this? This study seeks to answer these underexamined questions, acutely relevant in particular social circles nowadays, focusing on misrecognized, vaguely recognized, semiotically transposed, and spuriously recognized cases. It also introduces advanced visual depictions of the indexical maps that participants hold, in all their complexity, drawing both from interaction, where there are some hints of emblem uptake, and subsequent interviews, where emblems’ indexicalities and their social value to social actors are made explicit. This study fills a gap in how people with diverse biographies ‘cobble together’ indexical meanings in the moment to position their interactants within their conceptions of the world and ascribe social value.