There are about 5.59 billion active email accounts, each of them having a username as unique as the person who uses the account. Although an email address may seem like a great place to show off your creativity or a special characteristic about you, when it comes to your job hunt, that creativity can work against you.
The username (and domain name) of your email can tell employers more about you than you may realize, and that can impact your employability and professional presentation.
Does your email address help you lead with your best foot forward?
Here are 4 best practices for creating a professional email address for your job hunt:
Use Your Name!
The goal in any job outreach is to have a potential employer remember your name.
What better way to do this than build an email address that uses your name? The rule of thumb is that someone needs to hear or see information 7 times before it sticks.
By making your email address your name, not only will you build in another exposure point, you also make it easy for a hiring manager to associate your email address with your name and resume.
- Admittedly, if you have a common name this can be tricky; you may need to try putting your last name first, adding an underscore, or incorporating a middle initial to find an account that isn’t taken.
The message your email address sends is just as important as the message your email contains.
If You Can, Avoid Numbers
As mentioned before, if you have a common name and the email address you want is already taken, it may be tempting to slap your birthday on then end of your username and call it a day. The problem with this is it gives too much information to potential employers--and hackers.
Aside from an email address comprised of Personally Identifiable Information, we live in a world where there are biases against different age groups, and it is probably best to sidestep any generation bias where possible. If you have the skills and experience to perform a job well, it shouldn’t matter if you’re Gen-Z, a Baby Boomer, or somewhere in between.
You may think that adding a few numbers after your name to find an unused username is the solution, but the more numbers you have in your email address, the more likely it is someone will think your email is spam. If you want your job application to be taken seriously, its best to avoid numbers where possible.
Choose Your Domain Wisely
Throughout the history of the internet, different email host providers have ebbed and flowed in popularity. Depending on the email service provider you are using, it can carry some bias about how tech-savvy you are.
For example, AOL and MSN were popular domains in the early 2000s, but have since fallen out of fashion.
- To show you are up to date on tech trends, you may want to consider creating a Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo account specifically for job searching.
Think About the Recipient
You may think if you are extremely qualified for a job, an email address like [email protected] shouldn’t make a difference, but tiny details go a long way in your professional presentation.
You don’t want to risk sending the message that you are not taking a job opportunity seriously. When you use an email address that features your favorite band of yesteryear or is a nod to your favorite sports team, you risk having a company recruiter think that you are more passionate about these things than the employment opportunity you applied to.
- Put yourself in an employer’s shoes: If you received an email from an email address that was something like [email protected], or [email protected].com how would you feel?
- Before even opening the email, are there any opinions you have formed about this person’s work ethic/ professionalism?
- Do you even open the email?
The Bottom Line
Just as it is important to be professional in the message of your email, the message you’re sending with your email address is also important. The golden rule for professional email building is to keep it simple and keep it based on your name; be sure to use a well-recognized and current, email service provider, too.
Avoid any superfluous information that would potentially lead an employer to form any opinion of you other than that you are the most qualified person for the job. By building an email address using these guidelines, you will rest easy knowing that your job application is formatted for the inbox, and not the trash can.