I’m sure most people have heard that the area in front of the ‘@’ in an email address that’s being used in a professional setting should be appropriate. It shouldn’t reference your age, birth date, or personal interests. The best bet is simply your name in some form, like jdoe123@emailaddress.com. An address like ilovekittens@emailaddress.com or shorty1982@myemailaddress.com is likely to put you at the bottom of an employment list.

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However, the email domain, or the words after the ‘@’, can also affect your view in some employer minds. Email addresses that end in @gmail.com or a personal domain may be viewed in a different way than @hotmail.com, @yahoo.com or @aol.com, especially if it’s being used in the technical field. Why? Hotmail and Yahoo and especially AOL are seen as outdated by many hiring departments. AOL was originally marketed to non-tech savvy users, so holding on to that domain especially can hurt. Hotmail and Yahoo are also viewed as older domains and the user may be seen as someone who is resistant to change and not tech savvy.

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Does this seem silly? Maybe. Is this viewpoint accurate? Surely not. I’m sure many AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo users are tech savvy. But remember, sometimes employers are looking through hundreds, maybe even thousands, of resumes and are looking for a quick way to narrow down applicants. If they feel someone is not good at keeping up with changing technologies or is resistant to change, the applicant will likely be pushed down the list of candidates. While it may sound silly to you, it happens. Kogan, a leading online shopping retailer in Australia, states that if an applicant has a Hotmail address, they are out, and even admits to seeing what browser the application was submitted from as something they look into when screening applicants.

I would assume this not apply if you’re looking for work at Microsoft. Though they might like to see that MSN, Outlook.com or Livemail address switched to Outlook.com.

There are some solutions, even if you don’t want to give up your comfortable domain. Your best bet is to open up a Gmail account, but set it up to forward directly to your Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL email. This way, you can apply or send out resumes using a Gmail account, but still use your familiar email to open any responses. You can even set up your responses to also come from Gmail but use your other email to send it. If you feel comfortable enough, you could even just open the Gmail account and simply try it out for only business use, just make sure you remember to regularly check it! If that doesn’t work out, set up the forwarding.

Will using an older domain automatically place your application in the trash can? Not at a large majority of businesses. But depending on your employment field and how many other applicants there are, it could affect how you are viewed. This means it’s always something to take into consideration in a competitive job market.

~ Audra