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Do you use email in your job search ? How much thought have you given to your email address ?

Since the job application process is becoming more digital with every passing year, it is becoming more likely that employers form their first impression of job-hunters through the email process. Email has surpassed the face-to-face meeting and handshake in this regard.

Before an employer opens your email however, the first thing they will usually look at is your email address. Some job-seekers stubbornly cling to the same email account they have used since high school. Because of that, every day, employers receive resumes and cover letters from people who use email addresses like radicalpinkbunny1999 at yahoo.ca, superstar23 at hotmail. com & dusty420 at gmail. com. These are pretty mild examples of exotic email addresses. I have been helping job-seekers for decades and I have seen email addresses that were wildly inappropriate and in some cases, offensive. There’s nothing wrong with having a creative email address – unless it contributes to an employer’s negative first impression. In that case, it can be the deciding factor as to whether the employers opens and reads the email or sends it right to the trash folder.

Yahoo, gmail and hotmail (as well as many other email services) are free. Because of this, there is no reason to restrict yourself to having only one email account. A job-seeker can keep their long-held account, but use a new one for all job search activities. The second account should be firstname.lastname at gmail.com – if that name is not available simply adding an initial will usually do the trick. Some job-seekers make the mistake of including the year of birth in their email address. This is to be avoided if one is concerned about age discrimination.

Personal branding for job-seekers is becoming a trendy topic. I’ve seen articles that insist that even using a free email address is improper branding. People are instead advised to register a domain so that they can have personalized email accounts. This is probably a bridge too far for most of us and not worth the trouble or expense. Many job seekers do not need a blog or business card, but since the first point of contact is often email it makes sense to take the simple step of having a traditional (some would say boring) email address. It’s not very exciting, but it sends the right message and helps open doors.