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Professional Email Addresses And Why They’re A Good Idea

September 2nd, 2008 · 13 Comments

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This is a general “getting ahead” tip as much as it’s a resume tip.

This weekend we were short of writers because, well, like everyone else, a lot of our writers were on vacation. So I filled in a bit and took some of the overflow clients.

Now, I realize what I’m about to offer as a tip can probably fall into the “no duh” category for most people.

Then again, as I learned this weekend… I’m not so sure.

The first client I worked with had an email address that wanted to advertise the fact (?) that he was a ladies man, in so many words. In fact, he was advertising that he was “hot” for a very specific subset of ladies. And it apparently hadn’t occurred to him that this was not appropriate to put on a resume until I pointed the notion out to him.

The second client had an email address that indicated he was a Star Wars fan. And not even a fan of the good Star Wars. The crappy prequel movies. And this guy insisted that there was nothing wrong with the email address. He wanted it on his resume because it “spoke a little” about who he was.

(Obviously, I have to be a big vague. Can’t use the real email addresses.)

So anyway, the “no duh” advice is this: any 21st century professional needs to maintain a professional sounding email address, separate from their work email address and separate from their personal email address.

You simply never know when the need for this “professional” email address might arise.

And it’s very simple to do this. I keep more than one “professional” email addresses in reserve. I use them for things like when I’m communicating with my children’s teachers or doing other personal business like dealing with our real estate agent or accountant. Or for letter-to-the-editor purposes.

There are a million places to go for a quick and free email address. I’d recommend trying Gmail first. Having a Gmail address shows you’re a bit more hip and up to date than people with a regular old or earthlink email addresses.

And even though I only use my “professional” email address sparingly, I don’t have to worry about missing emails. I simply set the system to forward all incoming mail to my primary personal email address. I get all the emails I need and when I respond, I go back and use the pro-address as the outgoing address.

I never worry about mixing business and personal emails. I never worry about embarrassing details leaking into my professional life. I keep the worlds from colliding, to paraphrase Seinfeld.

Furthermore, this is such a simple and key tool for a job search. For obvious privacy reasons, you don’t want to job search with your work email. And unless you’re as dense as the guy I describe above, you don’t want to put ‘SithLordSlevin’ on your resume.

I’d go to Gmail or yahoo or hotmail and try to set up an email address that incorporates your name as much as possible. I’m sure you won’t be able to get “” but you’d be surprised what you can do by adding numbers and a couple of letters. For instance, Jane Lawrence, a graphic designer might be able to nab something along the lines of ‘JaneRSmithGD1996′ thereby incorporating her name, initials for her profession and some numbers that are meaningful to her.

I simply feel that incorporating your name in your email address makes it easier for people to not screw up when they’re trying to remember it/typing it out.

Some people take the route of going with something like “”

I’m not against this exactly, but it does scream out temporary email address!

There’s no way for someone else to know that something like “” is not your main email.

Related posts:

  1. It’s A Good Idea To Shower Before Your Job Interview
  2. On Email Blackouts…
  3. Going Topless At Business Meetings A Good Idea For Productivity?
  4. Curbing Your Email Obsession On The Weekend
  5. Outlook Hacks For Email Nirvana

Tags: Getting Ahead · Resumes

  • Dee

    You made a good point about using Gmail vs. other email programs that other posts on this topic ignore.

    I would suggest avoiding numbers, if possible, since those are easy to confuse, forget, etc. causing employers to be unable to reach you. Adding a period or underscore, in my opinion, would be a better choice if your first choice is taken.

    instead of JohnSmith1, etc.

  • Rachael

    What about when your personal email address already uses your name? Is there a reason for me to create a new email address if I already use as my personal address?

  • Brian

    No. That’s the ideal email address if you ask me.

  • Tonya

    When I worked for a staffing agency and recruited for a local power plant, some of the applicants were in need of this type of advice. One applicant’s email, no lie, was “thongsong@(freemailprovider).com”. No, this person did not get the job, and for that matter, was not taken very seriously. A professional email makes a ton of difference.

  • Julie O’Malley, CPRW

    It never ceases to amaze me what incredibly stupid e-mail addresses people use on their resumes. There are the way-out ones like “” (yes, I saw it with my own eyes) but then there are the ones that are OK in general, but inappropriate for job searching, such as “johnsgirl” or “ashleysuncle” or “yankeefan” (which, in Boston, would be grounds for immediate removal from consideration ).

  • John S

    A truely professional email address should not be provided by a free email provider such as GMail. It just has become too easy and too inexpensive to not have a personal domain email for your professional contacts, i.e. for example. Once you start passing out your professional email address it is just too much trouble to EVER change, so keep it simple.

  • Mary R

    This may be a dumb question, but the one I’ve been using is

    like a bank deposit box, you know? Is this wildly inappropriate? My actual name is REALLY COMMON (there are over 6,000 people with my exact name in the US alone).

  • Kaeri

    Thanks! Exactly what I needed. Was becoming traumatized by other advice. Now am sane again!

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  • Rowena

    Thanks a lot for the great post on Professional Email Addresses And Why They’re A Good Idea. This is very helpful.