Your email address is part of your brand and your professional identity.
Is your email address cryptic like some vanity license plates?
What goes through your mind when you drive behind a car with a license plate that says HVABEER? SXYBLND?
I am not against vanity license plates. They are fun! I have one as well! Deciphering them can be a great pastime, especially on long car rides or in traffic jams.
Bumper stickers and T-shirts with slogans are other great options for personal expression.
However, unprofessional or unbranded email addresses are not a great way for job seekers to make a positive impression on a federal government employer.
What Impression Does Your Email Address Create?
Do you want to be at the TOP of the employer’s mind –Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA), or is your résumé and other marketing materials in a coma?
You want to make it as easy as possible for the employer to associate you with what you do!
What do you think about the email address IHearVoices@gmail.com for a nurse in a mental health facility? Some may find it comical, but do you think a prospective employer would find it funny? Or, would they question your professionalism?
What do you think about firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com? How about firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com? Or maybe firstname.lastname@example.org? These are not cryptic or unprofessional, but will they associate a name that is easily remembered with the job seeker in each case? No!
These are common examples of emails that are not effective in creating that TOMA that will help the employers, recruiters, and other hiring professionals connect you to the job you are vying for at the moment!
Criteria for Choosing an Effective Email Address
Think about how your email address represents you. Put yourself in the position of a potential employer reviewing information of a job candidate.
Follow this advice when choosing an email address for your job search:
- Your email address should not be suggestive, flirtatious, generic, silly, or funny.
- It should be professional and easy to remember and create awareness.
- It should include your name, preferably first name and last name.
- It should be a personal email address, not one shared with a spouse or family.
- Try not to use numbers or underscores.
In particular, avoid including the year of your birth. It’s very easy to guess the probable age of Mary.Jane.Smith79@whatever.com.
- If you cannot obtain your email at a “leading” email service such as Gmail, try your name at another email service so you can use your first name and last name.
- Make it easy for prospective employers to find “‘you” in their inboxes.
Remember that anytime you give your email address to anyone, that person becomes a member of your professional network. From your fitness instructor who sends you class schedules to the parent of your son’s friend from school, your email address is representing you.
For job seekers, the answer is simple…use your name! If your name is Mary Jane Smith, you might choose email@example.com. If it is not available, try variations that include your first and last name.
I know I wrote earlier not to use numbers. Depending on what you choose, numbers could be construed as the year you were born, or your age. Do not give them a reason to wonder what the number might mean. Read
If you have a common name, you could associate your name with your profession or the position you are targeting like this: MaryJSmithArchitect@whatever.com.
Or, if you must include a number, use a telephone Area Code (for your current or your target location) or Zip Code (again, current or target).
I recommend you have a separate email for job search purposes only. Have one email that you use for all your job search communication. If you knew Mary personally and you knew that she loves baseball, firstname.lastname@example.org could be a personal email address!
Make it easy for the hiring professionals to find you and remember you. Make it easy for them to connect your email with your application or resume. Keep this in mind — How do you want to be branded in the eyes of a potential employer?
More About Email and Job Search
- Killer Tactics to Get Your Resume Read
- Personal Branding with Your Email Signature
- Making Email Work for Your Job Search
About the author…
Job-Hunt’s Federal Job Search Expert, Camille Carboneau Roberts, established CC Career Services in 1989 to provide total career management services to help clients land jobs faster. Expert services include federal resumes, private sector resumes, military-to-federal resumes, and social media resumes and profiles. Contact Camille via email at Camille@ccCareerServices.com, through LinkedIn, Twitter (@CamilleRoberts), or Facebook (CC Career Services).
More about this author…