Could An Email Address Cost You A Job?

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 An address like or is likely to put you at the bottom of an employment list.


However, the email domain, or the words after the ‘@’, can also affect your view in some employer minds. Email addresses that end in or a personal domain may be viewed in a different way than, or, 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 Hotmail and Yahoo and especially AOL are seen as outdated by many hiring departments.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.


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, or Livemail address switched to

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

9 thoughts on “Could An Email Address Cost You A Job?

  1. This sounds silly for sure but I can see what they mean. It took me awhile to go to gmail but now I like it!!

  2. I’m too old to be looking for a job, but if I weren’t, I still wouldn’t have a gmail account. Why? Because, in general, I don’t like Google. It’s way too snoopy and intrusive. I understand privacy is gone, but we don’t need to encourage its loss. I use Google search and Google news, but I don’t use any of their other services, and I don’t have a Google account. I religiously delete regular cookies, Flash cookies, and whatever other tracking I learn about. I don’t currently have or need a smartphone, but if I did, it wouldn’t be an Android.

  3. I am chuckling as I write this – I do get it, I guess. But while I have gmail and use outlook at work, I love my AOL email account. I have had email as long as we have been able to have email (yes, I am that old) and have probably tried them all. I am pretty tech savy but still think AOL has the best email program of all of them. It’s definitely easy to use, easy to find things, easy to sort things and well, you get the picture. Years ago my son told me that I needed to move on and use gmail so I set up an account. I really don’t like it, I do use it when I need to (or think I need to – Linked In and business emails), but for personal use, I always go back to AOL.

  4. I have always suspected this especially when you give your email address to someone in person and they look at you like the black sheep of the family when you say “AOL.” That being said, I have tried gmail and others, but AOL is the best,
    hands down! Who says simple has to be inferior?!!? Thank you for confirming my suspicions, lol.

  5. I have been friends with a couple of HR people. They have described various other “silly” ways of weeding out applications, so using this as a “criteria” does not surprise me.

    On the other hand, if HR is willing to be “optimistic” rather than “pessimistic”, then they could consider “older” email IDs as a sign of experience and maturity. Someone who is not “jumping on the newest fad” … .

    Of course, that is just my silly optimism showing through …

  6. I think there is something to this. The one different email would stand out from all the rest. I love AOL but use my internet providers free email address for business.

  7. Having been a long-time employer for a multinational firm, it is disturbing to learn that there are other employers so discriminatingly judgmental as to actually consider a potential employee’s email domain name. Who would actually want to work for such a shallow-minded employer? Minds like that surely will find other petty “offenses” to use in discriminating, mistreating and imposing unfair employment practices on their employees. This surely stinks of a very real civil rights violation in employment.

  8. Absolutely ludicrous. Why change a perfectly functional email address – and tell God knows how many contacts?. There is nothing wrong with Hotmail. In fact I have both Hotmail and Gmail but use the former as my primary account. Gmail is there for backup in case Hotmail goes down or there is a security issue. Being “tech savvy” has nothing to do with it whatsoever. Do you keep changing your car every year just because a newer model is available? I would not want to work for an employer who has such a weird attitude.

  9. I love my AOL…I have three computers, I now teach computer, and photography
    editing- I smile when they frown…and say ” I have never had a problem””…have
    you?”…..NEVER give up my clean, efficient , AOL….since ’95 !! AND I was self taught…
    Thank YOU!!

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