A few years ago I was sitting in a coffee shop with my mentor. I had made the decision to stop freelancing full-time and wanted to pursue a position working in the agency world. However, I quickly discovered I was having a hard time getting any leads or replies to my applications. My inbox was empty and i was feeling frustrated.
When my mentor asked to look at my resume and cover letter, she took one glance and laughed.
“Well here’s your first problem! You have a Yahoo email address.”
One of the last things I ever considered was just how much what comes after your “@” can affect how you are perceived within the professional world. I had become so focused on crafting the perfect resume that I did not realize I was sabotaging myself with one little domain.
Don’t make my mistakes. Here are some email address username and domain lessons I have learned the hard way:
Leave College in the Past
Each day after graduating you run the risk of the university deactivating your email account and usernames, which could be detrimental if you are using it for regular communication.
Although your school may have an outstanding reputation, using a university email after nabbing your degree can make you appear young and inexperienced. This, in turn, may cause recruiters to feel hesitant about your qualifications for a position, especially if you are applying for something more mid-level.
Get With the Times
Think of email domains like the fashion industry – keep up with the trends or stick to the classics and don’t be caught dead in outdated designs.
After my email address snafu was caught by my mentor, I became very curious if this was in fact true. Do businesses really judge applicants by their email domain? I reached out to a marketing industry group I was a part of and asked this question and I was met with an overwhelming response that she was right.
There are two reasons why many resumes with outdated email domains (such as Yahoo, MSN or AOL) wind up in the trash.
The first reason is due to the fairly common occurrence of spam accounts created on these sites. More and more recruiters are receiving emails from individuals who appear to be candidates, but in the end wind up being fake or spam, which ultimately results in wasted time. To eliminate that risk, a handful of recruiters are choosing to filter out resumes and emails that include those domains.
Second, many companies are in pursuit of individuals who keep up with the latest and greatest within their industry. They want modern thinkers who are up-to-date and informed on every new announcement and update. At the end of the day, a dated email address makes you appear stuck in the past, which turns off recruiters.
Keep Your Username Boring
When it comes to email names, try to be as dry as an unbuttered slice of toast. I know, we all love to express ourselves creatively and show some personality, but try to keep that creative focus somewhere else.
It may come to no surprise that with a username like “email@example.com” you probably won’t be taken seriously if you apply for an accounting position. Always keep it professional, and try to select a basic username that simply contains your first and last name. If you have a fairly common name that tends to already be taken, add some numbers or punctuations at the end to help you claim your account without compromising your professionalism or integrity.
Email addresses tend to be much more complex than they appear. When applying for a position, they are the true first impression and will play a part in determining how a business perceives you. Keep it simple, up-to-date and professional, and your domain woes will be gone for good.