When it comes to your personal and business brand, your professional email address may be undoing all your hard work. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of email addresses – and I’ve had a chance to make observations through the eyes of hiring manager, consultant, client, volunteer and colleague.
Your email address brands you, even when you’re not working
- Store owner who runs the mailing list for specials
- Yoga instructor who sends you a mailer on upcoming classes
- Meetup group you joined and never managed to attend
- Parent class rep at your kids’ school – and everyone on the shared contact sheet
- Dating site people you saw once
- Parent you met at the park and decided to join for coffee, since you both work in the same industry
- Friend you met at fitness class, who knows about how to set up that thing on the computer
- Guy you met at the charity event, who mentioned he could send you a discount code for an event at the art gallery
7 terrible secrets revealed by common email address mistakes
- Too flirty. You’ve got some flirty, cutesy or otherwise goofy email address, leftover from college, your Internet dating days or a drunken moment at Gmail - firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
- Shared with your life partner, meaning you have no separate identity, control issues, a domineering partner, computer skills too weak to manage your own account or some other “issue” people dream up – robandjulie@mytownslocalISP.com.
- Too generic. You put a date in your address to set you apart – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Make you look less than brilliant. Unless you’re flickr, a modified spelling looks like you either created your address in desperation or that you can’t spell – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nonsensical. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Unbranded. If you have a business or a professional career, it’s a mistake to use a generic email account, such as Hotmail or Yahoo – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Spam filter nightmare. Many email filters are set up to look for numbers, underscores, and superlative adjectives. Even if you can handle the branding issues, your email may end up in the junk mail bin – email@example.com.
5 remedies for common email address mistakes
Relax – there are several solutions for typical email address mistakes:
- Get your own email account, if you’re sharing one. Your ISP and gmail offer a variety of options.
- Change the name of your existing email account. Your ISP may help you. Or you can easily set up a new Gmail account.
- Set up additional profiles if you use Microsoft Outlook.
- Forward all your email to the account you check most, if you don’t know how to set up more than one profile on Outlook or your smartphone.
- Purchase a domain name and set up an email address to match. You can do this even if you do not run your own business. Consider firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, for example.