Like most important things in life, during a job search the devil certainly can be in the details. Take the email address you choose to use—or even accidentally use!—in your job search correspondence, for example. Don’t think it really matters all that much which one you use, as long as you just use one? Think again. The email address you use during a job search can irrevocably (and quite unnecessarily) brand you as someone or something far removed from the professional image I’m sure you want to project!
Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and if you use an email address that suggests anything other than total professionalism, you certainly won’t leave a good first impression.
Over the years as a professional “headhunter” I have seen email addresses used by potential candidates that, at times, absolutely flabbergasted me. I simply couldn’t believe—and still can’t believe!—that a candidate, any candidate, could be so completely oblivious to the image(s) such email addresses were likely to project to hiring professionals.
And in the event you think the email addresses I feature in the headline to this post, i.e., BeerGuy@myisp.com and PartyGirl@myisp.com, were just fabricated to make my point, let me assure you they were not. These are actual email addresses used by two real candidates who submitted applications for positions our recruiting firm, The Hire To Win Group, was attempting to fill for our hiring company clients! What’s more, these are two of the tamer email addresses culled from our candidate files! (After all, this is a “G-rated” post!)
For further illustration, here are just a few more email addresses from our archived candidate files (I am NOT making these up!):
- LazyDad@myisp.com (What company wouldn’t want to consider hiring such an apparent ball of fire?!)
- GolfNut@myisp.com (Unless he/she is applying for a golf pro position . . .)
- FrazzledMom@myisp.com (Who wouldn’t want to work with this woman?)
All of this, of course, begs the question as to why in the world any candidate would choose to use such an email address during a job search. Was it one they used during their college days, or perhaps during their pre-professional days? Maybe. Did they simply “forget” to change their email address to a more professional one? Or, had they been using the email address so long that they simply didn’t “see” it any longer? Who knows. Could be for any variety of reasons.
Regardless of the reason(s) for continuing to use such email addresses, the fact remains that using one during a job search today can certainly start the potential candidate off on the wrong foot.
Recommended, Professional Email Addresses
So, what type of email address is recommended to be used during a job search? It’s certainly acceptable to have some fun and select one that suggests your professional strengths, or one that emphasizes the positive professional image you want to project to potential employers. For example, the following email addresses would fall under that category:
In nearly all cases, such email addresses would certainly be acceptable and would indeed project a professional image. When in doubt, however, the email address construction I usually recommend to candidates we groom to present to our client hiring companies is the following:
Why do I recommend this construction? Easy answer: Because I know this email address is virtually always acceptable and poses no risk of projecting a negative image! Normally, you will have little, if any, difficulty registering this type of email address on your ISP (Internet Service Provider), unless, of course, you have a quite common name, such as “Tom Jones,” “Susan Smith,” et al. In that case, you usually are given acceptable options, such as Tom.Jones1234@myisp.
I know what some of you reading this post may be thinking at this point. Is the email address you use during your job search really such a big deal? Or, to borrow a phrase from Old Bill Shakespeare, is this issue merely a “tempest in a teapot”? For those of you who may indeed be thinking this, I refer you back to the paragraph above about getting one chance, and one chance only, to make a good first impression.
Certainly, a well-designed, professional email address will not get you an interview or a new job offer. But I can absolutely, positively guarantee you that one that conjures up all kinds of negative (or less than positive) images, whether accurate or not, definitely has the potential to sink your job candidacy before it ever gets off the ground!
Why would you even want take such a risk?!
This post is a modified excerpt from Skip’s latest book in the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets Career Development/Management publications series, Career Stalled? How to Get Your Career Back in HIGH Gear and Land the Job Your Deserve—Your DREAM Job!
For a “Sneak Peek” at the first THREE Chapters of Career Stalled?, email Skip’s editor, Michael Garee, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “CS? Three FREE Chapters” in the subject line. NOTICE: Offer ends Oct. 8, 2014!