A Note on E-Mail Addresses

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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: firstname.lastname@whatever.com. Recruiters and hiring managers favor that format for good reasons, Ryan told someone who wrote her saying, "my email address (thetechwriter56@gmail.com) 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 beerchampion2008@yahoo.com 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."