Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What A Candidate's E-mail Address Says About Them

 If you’ve dismissed a candidate because of your e-mail address, you’re not alone. From Let’s Talk Turkey (H/T Jay who found this on “Above The Law”):

When the Web first exploded, now known as Web 1.0, a candidate sent me a resume from the following email address:  My reaction was to throw it in the virtual trash…The reality is, this was probably just a kid straight out of school who didn’t think that her email address would have any effect on her job hunt. She was wrong.


Fast forward to today.  I’m currently working on a resume for a writer/editor who is in her early 50’s.  One of the biggest challenges that she’s having is that she wants to do more dot-com work but is afraid her age is going to hurt her…One of the first things I noted when starting her rewrite process is that she has an AOL email address. Even though AOL took Tim Armstrong out of Google, it remains to be seen how this makes AOL relevant today. It’s a dinosaur…If you’ve still got an AOL email, frankly, you really need to change it…I’m not suggesting that changing your email is easy to stomach. In fact, my client is distinctly unhappy, even though she recognizes that I’ve got a point


Obviously, those are only parts of the article, but you get the point. It’s not easy, but you need to change your e-mail address to better reflect the personal “you”. If you’re not applying to a job in technology, an AOL e-mail address may not hurt you as much. But it couldn’t hurt to have one that looks a little more personal and/or professional. It also depends on the job you’re supposed to be performing. From Simple Justice:


Esquire's Rule #1033. If your lawyer's email address ends in, or (or, find a new lawyer.


Is every profession going to be hurt by having or the like at the end? No. Are there times when having a unique e-mail address can help? Sure. My last name is “Katz” and my e-mail address starts with “elgato”. Why? Because when I was in 9th grade and in Spanish class, the teacher called me El Gato because of the likeness of my last name to “cats”. It isn’t for every job, but certain ones it allows me to have a personality and a great story for an interview.


But for more professional positions, I will sometimes switch to Why? For two reasons. It’s more professional and the HR professional is much more likely to remember my e-mail address when they’re corresponding with me. If I apply to finance jobs with I’ll seem very unique, but can HR really take me seriously for a finance job with that e-mail address?


I once got a resume that had the text “DMBfan” in it. I am also a fan of “DMB” (also known as Dave Matthews Band), but I knew that the person we would be hiring would have to act professionally in the setting and I didn’t know if their e-mail address was indicative of their nature. But I wanted to bring them in for an interview to see. When they performed well in the interview and we could talk about our DMB fandom together, I knew I had someone who was not only professional, but someone I would enjoy having around the workplace.


The key for candidates is to be smart about it and know who you are sending your e-mail address to. The key for Human Resources is to know that not all AOL or Gmail addresses are created equal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Stat Counter