If you are seeking a new job, even your email address can help or hurt your chances of getting a job.
Your email address can tell a lot about you, or give employers assumptions about you that may or may not be true. It happens more than you’d like to think.
Here’s what your email can say about you:
(Note: I hope these are not actual emails)
@aol.com. The average AOL user is a woman in her mid-fifties. She’s had this email for close to 30 years and it’s what she uses to keep up with her quilting club and send funny jokes to her church group. She’s not very tech savvy, and is resistant to change. AOL, Hotmail, and even Yahoo email addresses can date you – they were the first non-ISP providers of free email, and the early adopters are “of a certain age” at this point. Yes, its discriminatory but you’ll never be able to prove that’s why you didn’t get a call for a job.
SteveJones67@. Most likely, Steve was born in 1967. Its ok to have numerals in your email address but be careful with ones that could broadcast to everyone how old you are or when you graduated. Again, setting yourself up for age discrimination.
JoannielovesChaChi@ I’m glad you are in a relationship – but this is unprofessional.
StevieB420@, hotpants69@, cookiemonster2000@ or other ridiculous emails or drug references. Stop it. If you were blessed with a nickname that you go by like Turtle or Bubba, use your full name.
loseweightwithheather@ aka The Side Hustle Email. If your email is for your side hustle, whether it’s selling art on Etsy or your consulting business, you can send the message that you are not going to be “all-in” in your new job.
The Work Email. We often see people’s work emails on resumes. “Oh, they don’t mind” or “they’ll never check” is usually the excuse. Work emails are property of your employer and subject to reading at any time. Some companies can put keyword filters like “resume” that flag employee emails. Worst case is you get fired for “inappropriate use of email” or least case Jerry in IT is reading your email. Because he is. It also comes across as unprofessional, like you are job-searching at your current employer’s expense. This is also applicable to .mil addresses.
thesmithfamily@. Using a shared email box with your spouse can tell a company that you are not an independent person. Heaven forbid your spouse in their eagerness to get you a new job replies back to an employer, telling them how much you NEED this job and ruining your negotiating power. It happens.
.edu . If you are +/- a year from graduation, having a .edu email from your school is ok, but after that, it’s time to grow up and get your own email not the one they issued you when you were a freshman. @alumni..edu emails, are fine.
@yourname.com. If you have your own webpage domain, ex. @richardnixon.com, either 100% dedicated to your job search, or a web page applicable to the jobs you are applying to (like a graphic designer having a portfolio) is ok. Having a personal web page can show some level of tech savvy and if the kind of job you want would help if you have a portfolio, go for it. Like this guy’s interactive resume. If they go to the @firstnamelastname.com and sees your erotic Star Trek fan fiction, not so much.
No email at all. A resume without an email will probably end up in the "no" pile. Don’t make people have to hunt you down via phone, text or LinkedIn. Email is still a primary means of communication and it is non-negotiable for job seekers.
Usually when I ask a job seeker to get a different email, they get defensive – “But I use that email for everything.” While that may be true,if your email could be sending the wrong message about you, I’ll tell you to create one for your job search.
A service like gmail is recommended and free. The best practice is some combination of your first and last name, and if that email is already taken, add some numerals that don’t have obvious meaning behind them it. Not a date, 666, 420, 69, etc.
Here is the catch – if you do create a separate email for your job search YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT, often. If you only check it once a week, chances are you've missed opportunities.
TL:DR Version: Get a simple Gmail account for your job search.
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