An outmoded service provider or inappropriate email can be detrimental to your personal brand. No doubt about it – a tarnished brand will negatively affect your career. If you are clinging to your email address because you’ve had it for years and don’t want to hassle with the change, it is time for you to assess your email address for its relevance. The effort to change to a new email is nothing compared to a lost career opportunity.
Your email provider is an indication of your ability to make wise choices and demonstrates your connection (or lack thereof) to contemporary technologies. Nothing screams, “stone age,” like an AOL or Earthlink email address. An AOL address brings back memories of the unnerving sound of signing on to a dial-up connection – not an association you want with your brand. The other reaction may be, “Is AOL still around?” Besides being out of date, AOL has recently been the center of stories regarding security vulnerability. Yahoo! and Hotmail have a similar reputation for security breaches into email accounts.
Gmail is the email of choice. It is not just about the cool factor. Gmail easily integrates with many smart phones. Gmail also has superior security controls. A prestigious alma mater email is another excellent choice when used for job search. Got Harvard.edu? That sends a message.
It is not just the service provider than can leave a negative impression. Consider the address carefully. Whimsical names such as LivetoSurf@hotmail.com or AceAccountant@earthlink.net are inappropriate. Avoid your work address; using a work address tells a hiring company that you are using company time to conduct your job search. You also don’t know if email is being monitored. Keep your job search on the downlow, done on your own time.
If you are a careerist looking to get ahead, don’t let a bad email brand you a bad candidate. Leave your email address from when you “partied like its 1999” behind and create a more modern, professional identity to establish a tasteful and professional brand.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.