Your email address says more about you than you think

Your email address says more about you than you think

Summary: The email address you use shows more about you than you think. There is a psychology to everything, and using the 'wrong' email address could cost you an employment opportunity or more.

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It sounds simple enough, but I do worry that many of my generation don't quite see things from a prospective employer's perspective. I can, in all honesty, because to me an email address guarantees somebody's relationship with a company, and can be used to prove an identity on behalf of an organisation.

Email has not gone out of fashion with the younger generation. Devices such as the iPhone and the BlackBerry have brought email directly into the hands of already-digitised young adults. Social networking increases, but email has remained steady and will increase exponentially throughout their university timeline - and onto their careerpath.

It’s the first thing they see

But more often than not, when you apply for a job, your name won’t stick out but your email address will. It’s the first public information they will see and first impressions count more than most would lead you to believe.

Email addresses can be used like social statuses. To have a *.gov.* email address signifies political importance, whereas certain *.edu addresses can automatically show academic credit. The domain you use shows who you are and what you do. If you’ve worked hard to get to the position where you have such an email address, then use it to your advantage.

Your email can pre-determine the outcome

There is no doubt you would have experienced the, “oh, you only go to Yale? Yah, darling, I go to Harvard Law” (and it by no means just applies to the products you use or buy). My university is a world leader in criminology and my degree will be far more in credit than its counterpart degree from Oxford, but Oxford has an international name for itself and trumps pretty much every other university in our meager little country.

Email addresses are the same. My *@kent.ac.uk email address may not compare to one of *@harvard.edu but it will. Harvard will take precedent over Kent, UCL or even NYU and Yale. It’s not to say everyone will act in the same way towards a person’s academic institution; but the one point of information will increase your chances.

It’s a university email address. That automatically shows a level of education that so many still don’t achieve. Any email address associated with a university or academic institution by *.ac.* or *.edu makes you look good from the word go. It can tell a lot about you without having to say a word.

But if you graduate from a lesser-to-a-higher institution such as NYU to post-graduate study at Harvard, use the Harvard email address when sending your resume. It looks better from the start, but don’t miss anything off your resume. The person about to employ you might have graduated at NYU themselves, for example.

Personal email accounts just look trashy

But they do!? The Oatmeal has a hilarious yet true insight into how email addresses translate your computer literacy. I agree in that Gmail accounts do look best from a personal perspective, and Hotmail does look a little bit “I still go on MySpace”, but as I’ve said before, if you wish to overcome the *@hotmail.com stigma but still use the service – get a *@live.com or *@live.co.* address which can also signify your citizenship status (ie. *@live.co.ca for Canada).

Seeing as your email address can identify who you are and who you work for, or rather which organisation or institution you are associated with, those with their own-domain could be at an advantage if you are trying to make an impression.

But your own discretion is important. Identify who you want to work for, the type of people you are applying to, and which account you should use. It does make a difference, and it takes an element of common sense and third-person perspective to determine which email address to use.

And one last thought; if you are using your work email address to pursue other employment opportunities, make sure your current employer cannot read your email. It’s happened, and people can end up losing out altogether.

Topic: Collaboration

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67 comments
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  • @gmail also means cheap

    Almost without qustion, all my friends with a gmail account are amazingly cheap and tight as well as belive software, music and media should be free.
    Bruizer
    • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

      @Bruizer
      While talking do they also shout advertisements in between ?
      mKind
      • Too true.

        @mKind I like my Gmail, and I don't shout advertisements. I sometimes forcefully recommend things, like Apple products, websites, applications, and the occasional food, it's not quite as random as AdSense.
        Ktroje
    • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

      @Bruizer...i don't think it's so much about being cheap as it is that a gmail address shows that a person is FULLY aware that virtually ALL software, music and media IS free...lol...my email? vaprtrail@gmail.com...lol
      kaoscoded
  • Domains? Really

    Two things:
    1) All that money you spent on your cherished education from Kent and your major worry is an email domain?! Go get your money back from Kent - they haven't taught you anything of use.

    2) Any employer that bases a hiring decision on an email domain should be avoided...period. Finding good candidates for a job is hard enough; knowing how to interview them well to get the right info out for a decision is even harder; elevating the minutia of email domains to a position of prominence is just pure silliness.
    bhaydama
    • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

      @bhaydama It's not hiring per se, it's about attention and grabbing it. A bunch of CV's/resume's will come in via email and if you're presented with a bunch of Hotmail/Gmail email addresses and one from Harvard - you're going to look at the Harvard one first. Tell me you wouldn't consider looking at something if it stood out from the crowd?

      It's the first step that counts, that's my argument. Forget everything else; we're in the digital age now. It's not what you know but who you know - and if you're proven to be from an intellectual powerhouse like a major US university, that's going to stand out like a sore thumb.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

        @zwhittaker
        You will probably want to contact me as I now own ZackWhittaker.com
        For just $7.67 USD, it can be yours.
        Dave@BarnesFamily.com
        davebarnes
      • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

        @zwhittaker You may have it backwards actually. I don't know if you've ever worked with a resume management system or just managed a jobs@... email address. Those emails coming from harvard.edu are more likely to be viewed as spoofed or spam and gain no precedence. In fact most resume systems catalog the incoming resumes and don't even display the "from" address prominently. Also keep in mind that Outlook typically shows the display name prominently and the email address may or may not be seen at all.
        And truthfully, gmail/hotmail/live/yahoo are all pretty much on par. It's the @aol.com @rocketmail.com or @juno.com addresses that really flag someone without a clue.
        hawks5999
      • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

        @zwhittaker <br>actually, speaking as someone who has waded thru resumes, the only time i or anyone in HR looks at someones email is to either contact them, or its because their address is something like babybooty@whatever.com, and we worry a little about professionalism. You are looking to hire someone for a job, an email address doesnt tell you anything at all about a person. You look at their education, their work experience, their skills, any place that is going to make a determination on someone based on the domain of their email address is a company that will not last long.

        this article says more about what you dont know with regards to HR, hiring, etc. Keep working for a few more years, you will understand how the real world works.
        tiderulz
      • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

        @tiderulz thank god...because all of my emails are like vaprtrail, kaoscoded, teknalchemist, puppetear, viralstalker...hell, i think guacamole is in one of them...what the hell would a psychiatrist say? holy crap...;)
        kaoscoded
    • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

      @bhaydama +1
      IgnorantBugger
  • The Oatmeal is spot on

    Our family owns BarnesFamily.com and that is good enough for personal emails for my wife and I. But, I bought a domain name (a whole $10 USD/yr) for my daughter so that she could be Banana@BananaBarnes.com and look more professional when sending email.

    I tell everyone they should own their own domain name. After all, when you change ISPs you don't really want to have tell everyone that you have a new email address. Or when your ISP changes (e.g., ATT to Comcast).
    davebarnes
    • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

      @davebarnes, you are so right. Owning your own domain is so cheap, I bought mine for the next 10 years.
      colecrew
    • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

      @davebarnes
      people still use the email addresses given to them by their isps?

      i hope your being ironical about bananas looking professional. your daughters email address sounds like an excerpt from a gwen stefani song.
      eric.canham
      • Kendall

        @eric.canham@...
        Kendall@
        "also used as girl's name Kendall, is pronounced KEN-dal. It is of Old English origin, and its meaning is "the Kent river valley". Place name: a river in the west of England. Also possibly "bright river valley". Used as a given name since the 19th century."
        davebarnes
    • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

      @davebarnes And no, I don't want your domain name. I have zackwhittaker.co.uk and that suits me just nicely.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

        @zwhittaker LOL...good to know you can still laugh...my daughter's is impixiedust@gmail.com...guess she's a shoe in at the keebler factory, eh? lol...
        kaoscoded
  • Really quite simple . . .

    . . . if you're gonna be so picky about my email address, I didn't want to work for you anyways.

    Yeah, I have some good email addresses, and I'll certainly try to be professional about it, but there's no way I'm gonna be hyper-competitive about it. Either a company accepts me or they don't. And if they don't, I just keep looking. Not a big deal, it's not as if there's a lack of businesses in the USA.
    CobraA1
    • $%@(@azzfuk.fu means you are not working for me

      You don't have to be hyper-competitive about it. Just use a more professional email address for professional usage.

      A sexually explicit email address means a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. A liability for any company. A dumb-azz user name, can means a not so bright worker. Etc.

      If you want to be looked as a professional, you must act like a professional at all times. Your resume is what a possible employer will look at 1st .... your only chance to make the 1st good impression. Why blow that out with a stupid email address??? When you get hundreds of applicants with similar qualifications, and L&F of an email address can be a factor in the final selection.
      wackoae
      • RE: Your email address says more about you than you think

        "If you want to be looked as a professional, you must act like a professional at all times."

        I didn't grow up with dreams of being a "professional" - I grew up with dreams of doing what I do best.

        Of course I'm not gonna do anything stupid or worthy of a lawsuit, but all things being equal, I would certainly want to work in a casual atmosphere rather than a formal atmosphere.

        I do have email addresses that are "professional," so this is mostly a hypothetical argument for me.
        CobraA1