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A Note on E-Mail Addresses

You know better than to send out resumes showing an email address of mrticklemonster@hotmail. But what about bondmaven@verizon? Or mandalaw@gmail?

Ditch those too, urges syndicated workplace columnist Liz Ryan. In her view, your email address will actually impede your job search unless it looks like this: Recruiters and hiring managers favor that format for good reasons, Ryan told someone who wrote her saying, "my email address ( is part of my job-search brand."

Here's her reasoning: Whenever you e-mail anyone, your e-mail address gets automatically recorded in the recipient's system. If she wants to send you an e-mail later when your original message is no longer on her screen, all she need do is type in the first few characters of your address and the e-mail program will automatically fill in the rest of it.

If she can easily remember your e-mail address, that is. But if your e-mail address is not based on your name, a decision-maker who had a favorable first impression of your resume probably won't remember the address a few days later when time comes to contact you. She may try typing in your first name, or first initial and last name. When that fails, the decision-maker may get annoyed. "Jane could lose the job opportunity because her non-standard email address makes it just a little bit harder than expected to reach her."

Simplicity Eases Communication

Ryan concludes that a simple first-name-last-name e-mail address "moves communication along," while an "odd or unexpected" string can impede communication. So, she advised her correspondent to stop using "thetechwriter56" as her job-search address and go with the supposed standard.

What if your first name, last name combination isn't available? Don't stick a numeral after it like most users do: that's "reminiscent of boot camp or prison," Ryan says. Instead, make your name unique by adding a middle initial with dots on either side.

A Recruiter's View

But is the firstname.lastname@anywhere truly standard in the hiring world? A financial services headhunter we spoke with isn't so sure. "It is important having professional-sounding e-mails," observes Darin Manis, chief executive of RJ & Makay, a recruiting firm in Colorado Springs, Colo. "So is not a good idea. But it may be a little bit of overkill" to get rid of all other address types, Manis adds.

For one thing, "Most of the businesses I know of they don't use Outlook as their database for storing" job-seeker information. "They have a database that they use and import the resume information into. There's not too many decent-size businesses or decent-size recruiting firms that rely on Outlook for their resume data storage."

Still, even if the employer places incoming resumes in a separate database, having an e-mail address that's clearly defined and professional is important. "In general I agree" with Ryan's preference for the firstname.lastname formula, says Manis. "I just don't know if I agree with it for all the same reasons."

AUTHORJon Jacobs Insider Comment
  • rj
    3 September 2009

    Not everyone can get a "clean" name e-mail address. Imagine how many "John Smith" listing there might be?

  • ad
    28 August 2009

    well of course email addresses like wouldnt be intelligent but equally you dont want to be if u werent the lucky first to grab the name.

  • ha
    28 August 2009

    This is a very useful post! We should also be careful in that e-mail addresses can also be typed in by hand, particularly when someone passes on your business card..

    I've found that people will misspell names that are not common and will get confused by longer and foreign addresses. Believe it or not, many people drop the "harvard" in "" and send the e-mail to "" Similarly, I have been asked more than a few times whether "" was in California. Which is a shame, since I like to use a prestigious e-mail account.

  • ap
    27 August 2009

    I read an article saying a recruiter threw out any candidate who had an AOL address, so I don't know what to believe...

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