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Does a Lame E-Mail Address Really Matter? 1049

Posted by kdawson
from the america's-oldest-luddites dept.
theodp writes "Over at the Chicago Tribune, freelance writer Nancy Anderson makes an embarrassing confession. It's 2010 and she still has an AOL e-mail address. 'You've got to get rid of that AOL address,' her publicist sister told her five years ago. 'It's bad for your image.' Image, shmimage, Anderson thought. 'If I do good work,' she asks, 'does my e-mail address really matter?' Good question. Would an AOL e-mail address — or another 'toxic' e-mail address — influence your decision to hire someone?"
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Does a Lame E-Mail Address Really Matter?

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  • hell no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:09AM (#30721846)
    --
    turdeater@sexual-perverts.net
  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:09AM (#30721852) Journal

    but it sure will make you look a bit dopey if you're still rolling with hotmail or aol.
    I see usa.net is still around too, I had one of those a long long time ago too.

    Now if you're not rolling your own domain, gmail or at least a respectable ISP in the very least your co-workers will give you a bit of shit.

  • by weave (48069) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:10AM (#30721856) Journal

    If it's a technology person, that's a red flag. I'd expect them to at least have their own domain name. It doesn't cost THAT much and looks far more professional.

    Heck, even my cat has her own domain name.

    If it's a non-tech field, meh, I don't care that much. But I have to chuckle when I see a small business with a website and their own domain name, but still using @comcast or @aol on their business card for email.

    • by gorfie (700458) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:18AM (#30721960)
      Given the cost-cutting trend we've seen in IT over the past decade, would the image of someone that spends additional money/time on unnecessary technology be appealing? I'm just playing devil's advocate here as I don't have a preference one way or another. That said, it could be that there are extremes in both directions and it's safest to sit in the middle.
      • by weave (48069) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:25AM (#30722046) Journal

        Given the cost-cutting trend we've seen in IT over the past decade, would the image of someone that spends additional money/time on unnecessary technology be appealing?

        A domain name and simple email plan from most registrar's is less than $40/year. That's hardly extravagant.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by chthon (580889)

          And I would rather use 40$/y for a subscription on a magazine.

          When I ran a couple of years ago a small, single-person company, I had a domain name. It is interesting because it is deductible.

          However, as a private person, I pay my internet subscription and as part of that I get up to five (familial) email addresses without hassle. Why should I invest in a private domain name ?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Skater (41976)

            However, as a private person, I pay my internet subscription and as part of that I get up to five (familial) email addresses without hassle. Why should I invest in a private domain name ?

            One huge advantage is that you can keep the same email addresses even if you change ISPs.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by xaxa (988988)

            My real-name domain costs much less than that.

            The .uk domain is £3.50 (ish) per year.
            Many registrars provide free DNS, mine doesn't so I use everydns.net.
            Google Apps for personal use is free.

            Total cost: £3.50/year -- roughly the cost of a drink in a nightclub (round here).

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by KronicD (568558)

            Because it allows you to change ISP without issue. I've had my email addresses professional & personal for over a decade. I would hate to have to have to ask everyone to update their contacts whenever I swaped ISPs.

            You can do this for less than the $40, I get mine from http://rofltron.com/ [rofltron.com] and host the email with google apps, but they include free email forwarding if you'd rather just keep receiving mail at your ISP address.

            The advantage is portability. I know people who are still paying ~$10 a month to

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jank1887 (815982)

          but its unnecessary if webmail serves your needs perfectly well.

    • by alen (225700) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:21AM (#30721988)

      what is the point of your own domain name? i've seen plenty of good IT people who almost technologically illiterate in some areas. most of our devs don't know a single thing about administration of systems

    • by fl!ptop (902193) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:23AM (#30722008) Journal

      But I have to chuckle when I see a small business with a website and their own domain name, but still using @comcast or @aol on their business card for email.

      i can go one better - an attorney client has on his business cards name@laywers.com. except that the correct domain is lawyer.com. so every time he gives out a card he takes a pen and scratches out the 's'. yeah, that looks professional.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:34AM (#30722880) Homepage

        Most lawyers are not only uneducated in technology, but they are also raging cheapskates. They make wheelbarrow loads of cash compared to the typical worker yet they refuse to throw away a $25.00 box of incorrect business cards. Hell one I did work for refused to buy real network gear but complained that his network needed to be reboot regularly because the power in his shitty office was so bad it locked up the network gear. My cheap solution was a $129.00 UPS on the networking gear. He flipped out at how expensive it was. This was in line with every other lawyer I did work for. Some of the scummy ones will try and bully you into doing things for free. I ran a HDMI from his closet to his TV on the wall. Then they guy called back a year later threatening to sue me because he could not get composite video from his 8 year old VCR he brought from home to the TV. I told him he needed equipment to do that, he threatened to sue me because I listened to him when he said," No I only want the cable box on there, do not run any other wires." I reminded him of the documentation I had with his signature, plus emails, and I would gladly welcome his lawsuit.

        I don't do any work for Lawyers anymore. They are some of the most unreasonable people on the planet.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:12AM (#30721878) Journal
    They will make judgements based on email addresses. They may be able to rationalise them. The rationalisations may or may not make sense but they will still make judgements.

    You can either change human nature or change your email address.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tnk1 (899206)

      You are 100% correct, which is why I use a gmail address on my resume. It also helps that I joined early enough to get firstname.lastname@gmail.com so it looks pretty professional.

      However, while I will change myself to suit stupid human nature, I will lose a lot of respect for anyone I discover is foolish enough to discard a resume based on email address unless the actual email address is indecent or completely unprofessional. That's like judging people as being your inferiors because they happen to have

  • by dr2chase (653338) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:12AM (#30721880) Homepage
    It will be totally retro, like bell-bottoms, hip-huggers, wide ties, and beehive hair-dos.
  • Maybe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:12AM (#30721884)

    Am I looking for a Cobol programmer or a .Net developer?

  • Not the domain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:13AM (#30721896) Journal
    Domain? No. Username? Yes.

    I really don't care if someone has an AOL email address, though I work in a non-tech industry, so it may be different for me. However, the username is important. Here in DC, if you're straight out of an internship and you still have an email along the lines of drinkingfiend01@gmail.com, that's a negative mark. Similarly, a friend of mine who works in HR in San Francisco gets resumes all the time with emails the likes of johnissogay@whatever.com. Yeah, it's SF, but that's still not work appropriate.
    • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:18AM (#30721956) Journal

      Actually, the best example of this I've heard didn't come from an application I was processing myself. It was one my dad received, for an engineering position in his small business. The e-mail address was cokefiend@isp.com

      Needless to say, the applicant didn't get the job. However, this being a small business (where people tend to worry a bit less about form and procedure), the rejection letter included the following line:

      "PS. I prefer Pepsi myself"

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cerberusss (660701)

        However, this being a small business (where people tend to worry a bit less about form and procedure), the rejection letter included the following line:

        "PS. I prefer Pepsi myself"

        Talking about worrying less about form and procedure.

        When in college, I got a job offer which looked a lot like spam, including sentences like "an offer you can't refuse". Being the spontaneous type, I replied with a courteous: "Quit your spam, you ****sucking dope-snivelling ass*******".

        I received a courteous reply back, saying it concerned a genuine job offer which ended with a "PS: we've got a big black man waiting for you in a dark closet".

  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:14AM (#30721904) Homepage
    I was talking to a company about a semi-technical consulting job and their CTO pointed it out. I think he was semi-serious. We ended up not working together. Of course, this was 10 years ago and I had and AOL address because of their big dial-up network. That made sense given that I traveled a lot. How hard is it to sign up for g-mail?
  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:15AM (#30721918) Journal

    Depends. I've done a good few external hires over the last few years, and while I'd never actively sift on the basis of e-mail addresses, there's no denying that an outlandish one can make an impact (and probably not the sort you wan to make).

    I wouldn't particularly care about an AOL address. I don't honestly think that any address which conforms to the firstname.lastname@isp.com format (or any other varation including initials, dots etc) will set any alarm bells ringing for any sensible employer.

    However, there is one type of e-mail address that does cause me concern. This is the obvious "naughty" one. I've actually seen job applications listing addresses like partychick33@... or drunkenmick@... These do not give a good impression. Is it unfair? Probably. After all, there's nothing wrong with going out and enjoying yourself. However, using that e-mail address for a job application does imply that you have a problem when dealing with boundaries.

    To sum up; a potential employer is far more likely to be put off by what comes before the @ in your e-mail address than by what comes afterwards.

  • hey! (Score:5, Funny)

    by potaz (211754) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:27AM (#30722070) Homepage
    Hey, I've actually done a comic on this subject [qwantz.com]! I'm firmly in the "I'd rather you have a cool email address then a suck-up one" camp.
  • Username matters too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brandee07 (964634) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:32AM (#30722122)

    When I'm looking at a resume, I don't want to see RoxxyFoxxy@somewhere.com. Or something completely weird and difficult to decipher and type out. It's not hard to maintain a FMLastname or Firstname.Lastname@gmail.com and direct it to an address that expresses your individuality or whatnot.

    Basically, I'm looking for professionalism. That means a resume with no typos or obvious errors/exaggerations ("Proficient in C, C+, and C++" is a gem that springs to mind), and appropriate attire at the interview. Having some kind of in-joke or bizarre reference or obscure handle as your username on the resume is kind of like wearing a tshirt with a weird slogan on it to the interview, although certainly not so severe.

  • "weave"
    there isn't a joke that hasn't been made about girls with weaves

    "RogueyWon"
    you're roguey? is that like sarah palin being mavericky?

    "thepainguy"
    hello mr. S&M. go spank behinds somewhere else

    "Southpaw018"
    ah yes, the proud left handed type, always announcing his left handed status without prompting. almost as annoying as the proud "i don't watch tv" type so damn proud of what nobody cares about

    "91degrees"
    makes me think of that lame pop band 98 degrees

    "Pharmboy"
    do you spam c1alis emails? or do sell adderall on your local college campus?

    "MistrBlank"
    i'm sorry for your reproductive issues. in vitro fertilization offers wonderful outcomes nowadays

    point being: prejudice is ignorant, all-pervasive, and easy. the idea is not that you should conform your email/ nickname to such small minds, but that if you lose a contact, or a job, due to such small minds, you should consider yourself LUCKY for the loss of contact with such mediocre people

    i know well-respected medical doctors with aol addresses from the 1990s. because they don't have time to play mindless little image games like this one. this whole issue is stupid

  • Absolutely not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:02AM (#30722440) Homepage Journal

    Why should i care about what service provider they are using?

    What is next people? Are you going to check also if they are using an iPhone or not? The kind of car they drive? The newspapers they read?

    Unless the email address is obviously offensive, I see no reason whatsoever to even be thinking about it.

    Those people saying that IT people should have their own domain, honestly, get a life. Have a domain and associated website if you want to, but it is outlandish to suggest it should be a de facto thing.

    I personally invest enough hours at work doing technology stuff, I have no need or inclination to be running a website at home. It is called balance, something some people around here should be aiming more for.

    Personal domain a must?! For bunnies sakes ....

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DragonTHC (208439)

      If the job entailed cars or phones or newspapers, then yes, I would hope potential employers would choose to hire someone with an actual interest in the work rather than not.

      If applying for IT and you give an AOL email address, you probably aren't very attuned to IT.

      I have a client who is a mortgage broker and keeps using his aol email for business. I keep telling him to use his business email. He really can't afford to lose business over an email.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tnk1 (899206)

        If applying for IT and you give an AOL email address, you probably aren't very attuned to IT.

        All I get from that statement is that you believe that being "attuned to IT" means that you need to be fashionable in some non-practical way. Until I hear that AOL email actually ceases to function as an application that you can send to and receive email from, I don't see anything wrong with it.

        To my mind, you are not very "attuned to IT" if you think it is a good business practice to jump between email providers like a crazed monkey whenever you think it stops being fashionable. For one thing, moving pro

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:17AM (#30723386)

    Even if you happen to hang on to your AOL e-mail address because you don't want to change it, there's no need to put it on your resume.

    The professional societies to which I belong -- IEEE and ACM -- as well as my alma mater, offer e-mail forwarding addresses. So I can set up a respectable-looking e-mail address, such as sirgarlon@alumni.almamater.edu, and have that redirect to the address I actually use. Who cares if that address is doofus123@aol.com? My business associates ain't gonna know.

    I would be quite surprised if societies for other professions, such as law or medicine or even journalism, don't have similar services.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:34AM (#30723592)
    Would an AOL e-mail address or another 'toxic' e-mail address influence your decision to hire someone?"

    .
    If you make hiring decisions based upon unrelated-to-the-job things like email addresses, then you deserve the level of employees that you get. What's next, not hiring someone because the name of the street they live on is dorky?

  • by peter303 (12292) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:46AM (#30723746)
    I could use my stanford.edu or mit.edu alumni forwarding addresses in a job search. But I have been pretty lucky and haven't needed to cold-call a job app in a couple of decades.
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:57AM (#30723898)

    This is why I maintain a relationship with a good headhunter. The idea of trying to deal with the "random filter of the week" person staffing the HR desk at any moment in any company is just depressing. Oh no, this one used dots instead of dashes for list bullets. Must be a drug user. Oops, this one didn't embolden the section headers. Obviously a lazy worker.

    Hey, Yossarian is looking at the resumes today. Death to modifiers!

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