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How Professional is Your Email Address?

Can your email address affect your chances of being seen as a potential contract candidate?  Definitely!  Does your email address tell hiring managers and recruiters that you are a professional independent contractor?

With many talented and capable individuals crowding the marketplace, every single element of your personal branding toolkit can have both positive and negative effects on whether you are perceived as a serious contender.   Why risk the chance of being negatively branded by such an easily avoidable blunder?  Be sure to create a professional email address that says the right things about you to clients and recruiters.

There are countless articles and blog posts about creating a professional email address.  One that we have found to be straight to the point and helpful is Andréa Coutu’s post called 7 terrible secrets revealed by your email address (and how to fix them).

Below are three basic questions to ask yourself when creating/changing your professional email address:

Is my username personal and professional?   The local part of your email address (preceding the @) should be personal, professional and preferably easy to remember.  The easiest and best way to accomplish all three is to use your name.  Whether it is your first name, your last name or first and last name, it’s best to avoid cutesy names or phrases and shortened words that are hard to remember.  If your name is unavailable with your current domain you may want to set up your own domain name as detailed below.

What domains should I stay away from?  Many independent contractors choose not to register and host their own domain.  If you are in this group then be sure to stay away from domains with bad reputations.  We also recommend that you avoid having a professional email account with a generic domain or your internet service provider.   This may be subjective, but domains such as AOL, Yahoo, and to a lesser degree Hotmail are a bit dated (Hotmail will soon be redundant as has been recently reported).  Some in the professional world may see these domains as a sign that you’re technically out of touch.  Gmail is probably the best bet for those not interested in having their own domain name.

Should I setup my own domain name?  As an Independent Contractor you should seriously consider the investment of creating your own domain.  When it comes to your professional email address nothing says “I’m serious about being a consultant” like having a domain that represents your independence.

When creating a domain name it’s a good idea to choose your name or your business name.  I see many contractors using their full name or just their last name.  Some go with “your name Consulting.”  Try to stay away from abbreviation but if you think the domain name will be too long make sure the shortened name is natural and easy for contacts to remember.

When choosing your domain it’s best to select a top level domain such as“.com” or “.net” as first alternatives.   There is a perception that a .com domain name means you have a serious email address which in turn denotes you are sincere about what you do.  A nation specific domain could be appropriate if it applies, but “.com” is easy for others to remember, is international and means commercial.

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