June 4, 2011

You've Got (Embarrassing) Mail!

Have you ever been told to not judge a book by its cover? Well as trite as that advice is, most recruiters (sadly) don't abide by this. So today we're going to talk about How Not To Look Like a Fool on Your Resume. Aka: your email address is embarrassing.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I have an "embarrassing" email account. It's a non-professional address and I've had it since 2006. (I had another, less professional account before that, as well.) I love this email account. Gmail doesn't delete anything, meaning I can search for photos my friends emailed me in high school, chat logs dating back to when Google Chat launched, and my college application essays.

That said, when I made myself business cards (something we'll talk about in the future) I knew that putting this email address on the cards just wouldn't be appropriate. So I made a new address -- the address I blog with, no less! -- and put it on there. I honestly didn't use it for much else, but it existed.

Gmail (and, frankly, most email clients) has nifty features, like mail forwarding and linking accounts. This means that while I don't have to sign into three different email accounts constantly, I still have 100% access to my more professional account at all times. Furthermore, I can send emails from my less-professional account as my professional count. I even had my mail rigged to auto-reply as the professional account to emails sent to that address, complete with a custom signature specific to that account.

More than one recruiter/professional has gone on the record and said that your email address matters. It's right there at the top of your resume, it's how recruiters contact you about job opportunities and/or interviews, and it's your "face" in their inbox.

Which is why sports_and_ladykillah4418@hotmail.com (dear gods I hope this isn't a real account) is really not going to cut it. Aside from Hotmail pretty much being the worst online mail client ever (in my opinion), would you hire someone whose mail handle was that? I'm going with no.

Look, setting up a secondary email account -- and for heavens sake, please check it regularly if you aren't going to sync it up with another account -- takes fifteen minutes, tops, and Gmail went into open beta years ago. Invest in a professional email address, and don't rely on your university email forever. Eventually, your school will shut it down, and you're better off having something for the long term. If not for your own personal edification, then to save yourself the expense of reprinting business cards.

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