Use a professional email addressThursday, 23 February 2017
Let's talk about the email address you use to apply for jobs, is it appropriate and could it be hurting your chances of getting the job you want.
The several emails I created during high school are not the email address I list on my resume or use for professional communication today. They don't look professional, some of them are embarrassing, and I don't want assumptions made about me based on what my 14-year-old self, thought was cool at the time. If you're too embarrassed to say your email address aloud, that's a good indicator that you shouldn't be putting it in on your resume or using it to email potential employers.
Deciding what to use
The good news is that it's easy to create a professional looking email address. Keep two things in mind when creating an email address.
- It needs to be easy to read and write, thus making it easier for people to remember. If your email contains a string of 10 numbers at the end, that's going to be a challenge for anyone to remember.
- People will associate whatever you use with you. Using [email protected], would make you sound desperate or demanding. Using [email protected], could make the reader wonder if you're some sort of wild party animal
By using a combination of your first name, last name and initials, you should be able to create an email address that is easily identifiable as yours.
For example, using my name I could create several emails,
With the amount of combinations, you can create; there isn't an excuse for using an inappropriate email address.
The question of which email domain to use comes up next. Should you use a free service such as Gmail or Hotmail, or should you pay money to have the domain name of your choice? I say, save your money. If you are a consultant that goes from client to client then having that name recognition would be useful, otherwise as long as the name before the @ is professional, you'll be fine. Gmail or Hotmail are very common address so it won't seem out of place to use either of them.
You don't have to give up the email address you've been using up until now; in fact, it's a good idea if you don't. Keep your primary email for personal correspondence and signing up for services, and use the new email for all your professional correspondence. This way you can keep both worlds separate and you'll know the context of an email straight away based on which account receives it.
What to avoid
There are things you should avoid using in your email address that go beyond inappropriate topics. Much like a resume, you don't want to include anything that would cause the reader to discriminate against you. Don't include your age or the dates of important events that could give away your age, such as graduation date. Avoid using anything that indicates your race or background, and unless you're applying to work for a political or religious organisation it's best to not indicate your religious or political beliefs. These things may have no impact on your application, but in front of someone who is going to discriminate, they can be the thing that ruins it. Don't take the risk.
Remember to check it
An email address you create for professional purposes needs to be something you plan to have for some time, something you're not going to forget about or throw away anytime soon. This is because some companies keep your resume on file so they can contact you at later date when they need to hire new staff. If you're unreachable at the email address you gave them, you'll miss any opportunities they have to offer.
To ensure you receive and respond to emails in a timely manner, check your email on a regular basis. Some things won't be time sensitive, though you may not be looked upon favourably if it takes you a while to get back to them. Other things will need a quick response though, and if you don't respond within their time frame, the assumption will be that you weren't interested and they'll move on to another person.
For those of you resistant to the idea of having a second email address because you think it's too much of a hassle to monitor multiple accounts, well there's a solution to that. You can setup email forwarding from your professional to your personal email, this way you only need to check one account.
Emails that are memorable, but for the wrong reasons are what you want to avoid. For the sake of a couple of minutes setting up a new email, and the few minutes it takes you to check it, you can avoid hurting your chances of getting a job by using something inappropriate.