You already (hopefully) know that the email address you created in high school or when first discovering Hotmail is not appropriate for your professional resume. Fortunately, most IT contractors we work with are not using email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. They have switched to a more professional format like email@example.com.
But, did you know you might still be hurting your job search with a free email, school email, or the email address supplied by your ISP? A smaller proportion of applicants are differentiating themselves and their emails by investing in a custom domain like johnsmith.com and using it to create an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are just some of the benefits you can get from it:
It looks more professional than a free domain or one supplied to you by an Internet Service Provider or school
Emails coming from a custom domain appear more credible and are less likely to end up in a spam folder
If you host a website at that domain, a recruiter will easily find it for more information about you
You gain more control in choosing a service provider because you don’t get tied down to an ISP (ex. Sympatico.ca).
It is an extra expense to claim in your business
It makes it easier to separate the emails from your personal and business life
Investing in a custom domain shows you’re serious about your business
How Can You Create an Email Address with a Custom Domain Today?
Find the Domain
Purchasing a domain can costs around $15-$30/year on average. If you already have one to host a website, great! You can use that and proceed to the next step. Otherwise, perform a detailed search to learn what’s available. You can do so through any website that registers domains, and we recommend sticking with one that you can also use as a host. Popular ones like GoDaddy or Bluehost are often a go-to, but a quick Google search will display a number of options.
When choosing a domain, it’s recommended to stick with something simple like firstnamelastname.com; however, if you have a common name, there is a strong chance it is no longer available. Instead, try searching for the same name at a different top-level domain, such as .ca, .net, .me or .info. You might also use your company name or add a description to your domain, like firstnamelastnamePMP.com or lastnameprogramming.com. It is not recommended to add numbers or hyphens to your custom domain.
Decide on an Email Host
The majority of the time, the registrar of your domain will also offer hosting for both websites and emails. Some will even offer free email hosting for a period of time. Otherwise, you can shop around to find an email hosting service that works for you. Considerations when deciding on the right host should include security, dependability, convenience, support and cost (remember to read the fine print, often times prices shoot up drastically after the first year or two).
Create a Mailbox
Now that you have a domain and an email service, the next step is to decide on a mailbox. Common formats are email@example.com, FirstnameLastname@yourdomain.com, or Firstinitial.LastInitial@yourdomain.com. We recommend avoiding names like, “info”, “contact”, or “jobs”. These are more likely to be caught in spam filters and should be reserved for aliases and forwarding.
Aliases do not have their own mailbox, but instead forward to other mailboxes. Create that “info” address by making an alias like firstname.lastname@example.org that forwards back to your main email address. It is easy to remember and provides a generic email address to put on a website. Or, an email sent to email@example.com may automatically go to a folder in your inbox and to your bookkeeper.
While aliases can be helpful, we caution their use because it gets confusing for both recruiters and yourself. A recruiter who saves your alias may miss your response when it comes from your primary inbox. Aliases are also a sure way to end up with 2 or 3 profiles in one job board or staffing agency’s database. Not only will a recruiter consider this sketchy, but it leaves you wondering why you got emailed three times from the same recruiter for the same job opportunity!
Choose an Email Client
There are a number of options for choosing an email client, the program from where you will read and write emails. Most hosts provide a webmail service that you can use; however, they tend to be clunky and inconvenient to access. Instead, you can use credentials provided to set-up your email on your phone, a more common tool like Outlook, and/or connect it with your favourite webmail application like Gmail.
The fact is, if you’re skilled in your technology and a reputable IT contractor, no recruiter is going to turn you down based on your email address, even if it’s ridiculous. They will, however, judge your professionalism, even if subconsciously. When you’re in tight competition for a gig or negotiating your rate, that subtle detail will make a difference.