Email can be a great tool to assist you with your job search, but like your cell phone, it can also do you more harm than good.
Most people now include their email addresses in the contact information on their resumes, submit their resumes via email, or use email to contact prospective employers. But for all of its handiness, email possesses some often-overlooked dangers for job seekers.
What are those dangers, you ask?
The answer lies in three simple (and surprising) words: goats flinging poo.
The evils of email:
If “goats flinging poo” made you do a double-take just now, imagine my reaction when I received a resume from the email address email@example.com.
Okay, there’s no such thing as reallystupidemailaddress.com—I made that up to protect the identity of the owner of the actual email address—but the “goatsflingingpoo” bit is unfortunately all too real.
While it’s fine (but kind of icky) to have firstname.lastname@example.org as the email address you use with your friends and family, it’s a colossally bad idea to put it on your resume or to use it to contact a potential employer.
You are judged on every aspect of your interactions with a prospective employer. This includes something as seemingly small as your email address.
If you are using an unprofessional, offensive, or inappropriate email address, the best resume or the sharpest job skills in the world will be as valuable to you as, well, the stuff that the goats are flinging.
What to avoid:
- References to sex or drugs (that means no 420’s or 69’s)
- References to violence
- References to bodily functions
Use a professional email address:
For all job-related activity, use an email address that is based on your name. If you have a very common name, you may need to come up with a logical variation on it in order to create an email address that is not already in use.
You can do this by:
- Utilizing periods or underscores
- Playing with the order of your first and last names
- Using your initials
- Incorporating numbers
If you do use numbers in your email address, try to keep them to a minimum. The easier your email address is to remember, the better.
I don’t have any inappropriate references in my email address. Does this information still apply to me?
Harmless as they may be, even email addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org fail to reflect your professionalism.
As mentioned in the section above, the best email address to use for your job search is one that’s based on your name.
It may be boring, but it won’t raise any eyebrows, and it has the added advantage of being easier for employers to remember.
There are numerous free email services. Accounts take only minutes to create.
Some free email services:
A few other email pitfalls to avoid:
Checking your email: If you contact someone via email, make sure to check your email for a response!
Frequently, people email us their questions or resumes, but never respond to the replies we send them by email.
You should always assume that an employer may contact you using the same method by which you contacted them.
If you want to send a prospective employer an email, but do not wish for the employer to respond to you via email, simply say so! It is perfectly acceptable for you to include a statement that informs them of how you prefer to be contacted.
Don’t be overly casual: Though internet-speak is becoming more and more common, your email communications with an employer should always be formal in nature.
- Acronyms like LOL
- Emoticons (smiley faces)
- Widely used misspellings like “thru” instead of “through”
- Silly signatures
- Unusual fonts, graphics, or backgrounds
While there are many factors involved in a successful job search, something as little as an email address really can make a difference.
The few minutes you take to create a professional email account with one of the many free email services is time well and wisely spent. Don’t be a goatsflingingpoo!