It might have been that when you were in high school that you had an email address like SkateboardKing4@ or Sweet16@. At the time, nobody like your family or friends thought anything of it. It was your "calling card" as to who you were and possibly what you had interest in. Now that you're an adult, maybe in college or have been out of college for awhile, do you still have SkateBoardKing4 or Sweet16 as an email address that you use? Like on your resume with your other contact information, or when you send your resume to businesses looking to apply for work? It might be that you have a personal business card that you hand out for people to reach you. How does that look if you have SkateBoardKing4 or Sweet16 as your email address, and your giving your card to say an Exec of a business? Not very mature, and it waters down your personal image and brand.
Additionally, your domain that you use your email account with shouldn't matter either, it's just a brand right? Today though, if you have an @aol.com account or a @hotmail.com account and you use it professionally, you might not be given the same kind of respect as if you use say you use a @yahoo.com account or a @gmail.com account. Especially if you're applying for a tech-related position with a tech-based company.
Have a good email address, instead of say a nickname or hobby that you're interested in can also apply to other accounts, like say a Twitter "handle". I you are planning on using your Twitter account to network with other professionals in the field of work that you're interested in, a good Twittter "handle" can mean that you're branding yourself in a way that will draw good attention to who you are and what you do, rather having a "handle" that is more humorous than serious. Have a good avatar too that shows you to be a serious person for them to consider working with you. Not an old baseball cap and a ripped T-shirt from a picnic that you went to 7 years ago.
One final thing to consider is a URL. More and more people are getting URL's to set up a portfolio page of say their web designing work, their photography work or other collections of work that would show off their abilities to do a particular field of work. This is another opportunity to show the level of seriousness and maturity that you behold, by getting a URL that is either your name or something that would look serious to an HR department. A little humor doesn't hurt though, and it may even help you stand out a bit from the rest, but too much humor can take away from your talent and weaken your brand or image. Get some advice from someone who's opinion you trust.
Companies aren't the only ones that brand themselves and create an image for others to be drawn to, so do people. So when creating your image online, (via email, URL, Twitter handle, etc.) be sure to give it some thought because it can either help you or hurt you.
Let me know your thoughts on this topic by tweeting me at @JoelECarlson or by leaving a comment at the end of this blog posting.
Account Executive | Agency Couture
Web. Design. Search. Marketing. Mobile.
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