What’s Scarier Than an Unprofessional Email Address?
An outdated or unprofessional email address can really spook a potential employer. Read on for more info on how to create a polished email address for your job search.
By: Ashley Dolar | Resume Writer for Let’s Eat, Grandma
What was your first email address? It likely had something to do with your local sports team, favorite animal, birth year, or some other delightful combination of personal interests.
While “PenguinsFan4Life” might have been a head-turning screen name in 1998, it is not going to cut it in today’s job market. It’s time to leave the relics of your AOL Buddy List in the past and commit to charting a new path.
Want more job search tips? Sign up for our newsletter!
After all, your email address is at the top of your resume, and it’s your primary means of contact with potential employers. You want it to give them a glimpse into your technical prowess and professionalism — not scare them into running away.
Here are three steps to ensure you have a professional email address that doesn’t give anyone a fright:
Step 1: Choose a Modern, Trustworthy Domain.
Don’t show up to the party in last year’s costume. If you still hold an AOL, Hotmail, or Juno email account, you will probably want to open a new one with a more modern service. While these domains are still perfectly functional for paying bills and chatting with long-lost relatives, they aren’t the best way to communicate with potential employers.
For starters, they scream ageism. Employers want experience in their workforce, but they also want to build nimble teams that can adapt to new situations. By switching to a more modern email domain name, you are showing them that you are up-to-date and technologically savvy.
I find Gmail from Google and Outlook from Microsoft to be the most professional-looking right now. They both offer free email addresses, and they are easy to navigate. However, if you are an executive or particularly invested in your personal brand, you may want to purchase your own domain name. More on that later.
Step 2: Create a Personal and Professional Handle.
This is important — there are some ghoulish email handles out there. Anything too cutesy, political, or outlandish is not going to get you an interview. I’m talking to you, Hacker24_7@email.com.
As a general rule, you want to use your first and/or last names and avoid numbers, if possible. That might be challenging with more common names on a planet of seven billion people, so I’ve compiled a list of examples to get you started:
Play the Professional Name Game
- Simple: JaimeGrante@email.com
- Sleek: JGrante@email.com
- Punctuated: Jaime_Grante@email.com or J.Grante@email.com
Add Relevant Information
- Degree: JaimeGranteMBA@email.com
- Certification: JGranteCPA@email.com
- Profession: JaimeGrante_LifeCoach@email.com
As I mentioned earlier, if you are an executive or in a career that places an emphasis on personal branding — like a photographer, entrepreneur, or opera singer — you might want to personalize your domain name as well. That usually comes at a slight annual cost, but it can help you stand out from the crowd.
One of our very own resume writers, Marina, shares her one-of-a-kind domain name success story:
My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org (actual address retracted). I got a lot of feedback suggesting that I change it to something more professional and easy to spell. But I decided to keep it on my resume.
When I interviewed with a semiconductor chemicals company, the hiring manager pointed out my unusual email address. It segued into discussing my artwork and side hobbies. From there, we built a great rapport. I landed a second interview and eventually the job!
Step 3: Update Your Professional Documents.
Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to go trick-or-treating for jobs.
You need to make sure your professional documents are updated with your new, professional email address. Both your resume and your cover letter should list your email address (and your phone number!) at the top of the page. A live link is also helpful — that way all a hiring manager has to do is click to contact you.
Your LinkedIn contact information should be updated, too. Approximately 87% of employers use the popular networking site to check out candidates, so it’s a good idea to make sure they can get in touch via your new professional email address.
Need more help with your job search? Let’s Eat, Grandma is your next stop. We’ve helped hundreds of clients fine-tune every last detail of their resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, and we can’t wait to do the same for you.
Want more job search tips sent straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here: