6 Tips for a Professional for Creating the Best Email Address
by Robert McNicholas on February, 24 2017
Is your email address creating the right impression? Find out what you should and shouldn’t do when using email for business.
Your email address is your virtual business card. Like it or not, we all form judgements on someone based on their email handle. Whether you’re trying to score an interview or trying to attract new customers, you need to create a strong first impression.
And yet, email isn’t something that we talk about much. It’s just sort of there, and everyone is expected to know how to use it appropriately. Let’s stop the madness and start talking about what your email address should be saying.
Creating the Best Email Address
A good email address is simple, no-frills, and grown-up. John.Taylor@email.ccm is a nice start. There’s no reference to sports team, religious beliefs, or any kind of nickname. Perfectly fine, as far as it goes. But it’s not a great email address. Here’s what you need to make your email address worthy of pro status.
- Be professional, not anonymous. While JTaylor, Taylor_John, and John are all fine for the “name” of your email address, a job title is not. The obvious exception here is for a large company, who can get away with using “sales”, “help” or “customersvc” as email names because we rather expect them to be impersonal. You’re a small business, so go for the personal touch.
- Business Owner? Get Your Own Domain Name. For about $75 a year, you can get your own business domain name. This is good for your website, which automatically becomes more professional. If you spring for an extra monthly fee of $5 or so, you can get Google-managed emails with that domain name. This basically says “Yes, I am a business. Take me seriously.” in a way that a free email service can’t match.
Seriously, getting your own domain name is one of the best budget marketing tips around. Hint: .com extensions are still the gold standard; . net will do; avoid .org unless you’re a non-profit, and avoid many of the newer extensions (.biz, .info) if possible; they still carry a whiff of spam.
- Employee? Pick a Modern Email. Although the price point certainly makes it a possibility, few hiring managers expect candidates to have their own branded business email. And while I’ve never heard of anyone getting passed over because they had an AOL or Hotmail email address, these don’t exactly imply you’re keeping up with the times. Rather, it’s more of a “haven’t brushed up my skills since 2003” vibe. Instead, opt for a Gmail or Outlook email; these suggest a more up-to-date mindset.
Incidentally, you should also avoid using your Internet service provider (ISP) email account as your professional account. There’s nothing inherently unprofessional with using “comcast.net” or “charter.net” as an email address, but what if you switch providers? You’re guaranteed to lose some contacts, even if you send out change of email address notices. Some people just never update their email contact lists. I know this from experience.
- Don't share email addresses. This shouldn’t even have to be said out loud, but it does happen, so we will say it: Don’t share a professional email address with your spouse, partner, parents, dog, or whatever. If you must, share your personal email account. But not your business account. If they work with you, give them their own business email account. The exception here is if your assistant has to have access to your email, but even then I’d recommend routing as much as possible to their inbox.
- Have a separate personal email address. Again, this is basic. If you absolutely must call yourself FluffyPoodleGirl@email.ccm, go ahead and do it on your own time. Besides, it’s best to have work and personal contacts separate.
- Consider readability. Finally, double-check your email name for readability and ease of typing. JohnTaylor@techcompany.ccm will have no problems, but what about his colleague, Avtandil Dadeshkeliani? It’s okay to abbreviate; Avtandil or A.Dadesh would work nicely. Just make sure you’re not accidentally spelling out (or nearly spelling out) something with an unfortunate meaning. Also, avoid incorporating long strings of numbers into your email name, even in a free email account; they’re hard to type and look spammy.
Your professional email address is small, but it can make quite an impression. Manage it wisely, perhaps using Google for Work, and you’re one step closer to creating the right image for your company or career.