A strong correlation exists between the perceived quality of an applicant and the email address used. Think of your email address as an online business card. It is a vital piece of personal information and a primary means of contact. An email address is often seen as a reflection of professional identity, so it is worthwhile to consider how it will be regarded by others. Using a non-traditional address as your first touchpoint for employer interaction could directly impact your credibility.
When two people are equal in terms of background, experience, skills, and education, other fine points will be scrutinized – and that snazzy email name could be the deal-breaker! Bottom line: a person using email@example.com may not be taken seriously or get the job. In my role as Director of Career Services, I have seen some cringeworthy name creations. I am baffled every time. A keen job seeker is best represented by an email address that is not overly “creative.”
While an email name is only a small part of the totality of your credentials and candidacy, it has great potential to impact your chances of getting hired if it is poorly conceived. There is a continuum from unprofessional to just not well done. Many job seekers overlook this important detail. They may lose first impression power simply by failing to integrate a respectful level of professionalism in their email name.
Emails, in any business setting, are a way to initiate, build, and maintain relationships. If you are seeking employment or advancement, networking for more meaningful career opportunities, or trying to expand your professional or business contacts, the contents of your correspondence should demonstrate that you are serious about your goals and aspirations – this includes your email address. It will be attached to every communication you send. Email addresses are included on resumes and cover letters and passed out socially. They become part of your public record and may be forwarded. They should always be respectful, well-envisioned, and showcase you favorably.
A professional email address should be made up of a first and last name (or initials) or some combination thereof, otherwise, it is not appropriate for business interactions. Do not use any email address that might have negative connotations or make you look foolish, disreputable, or worse. It is good practice to refrain from any combination of letters, numbers, words, or symbols that might come across as biased, suggestive, flirtatious, or comical.
To inspire and motivate professional interest, avoid the following features:
- Emojis, images, or special characters in your display – 👑 💕
- Nicknames or alter egos – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Slogans or references to religion, politics, hobbies, personal interests, animals, sports, drugs, body parts, profanity, or sex – email@example.com
- Any initial and name combo that spells something questionable – Paul Arty would translate to firstname.lastname@example.org or Cary Stewart would translate to email@example.com
- Untraditional fonts, highlights, or colors
- Random strings of letters or numbers
- Anything distracting, puzzling, or requiring interpretation
Hiring managers examine every communication to curate applicants and schedule interviews. They assess all information made available to them to select the best candidate. An email address is a powerful tool, but it is also possible for subjective judgments to be made based upon them. Don’t give a potential employer any reason to question your professionalism by using a controversial one.
Center for Advanced Legal Studies can help you transition from campus to career with a professional email. Enrolled students have a firstname.lastname@example.org email address associated with their Office.com accounts, which they can access and utilize in business endeavors during their program and after graduation. Contact us today at paralegal.edu to learn more about our resources, accredited paralegal programs, and class start dates!
Director of Outreach and Career Services
Tami has an extensive and varied professional background that spans criminal justice, paralegal education, and international school marketing and communication. Her career has been guided by a focus on developing strategic partnerships that facilitate school growth and student opportunity. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Texas State University.