Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Email Address Stigma?

I don't do hiring, of course, but this article about email address stigma is far too extreme and somewhat shallow. If someone has an AOL or Hotmail address, I might think that they were somewhat behind the times, but to imply that would be the soul of professionaisml is a bit of a stretch. An email domain like that might strike one as self-aggrandizing puffery. (Or just evidence that you have an uncommon name---that particular one belongs to an actress who hasn't worked since 1996, not me, frex.) Any other kind of personally registered domain is going to look like you're involved in some other venture, which potential employers probably don't want.

It's easier for relatively recent grads to skirt this issue, since most of us have some address that we can put down, even if it just forwards to a webmail account and shows up as a reply-to. But most of us lose our other email addresses when we switch jobs, so it's useful to establish some webmail base camp to use when looking for work. If older workers without alumni email privileges have somehow managed to keep a usable, spam-free toehold in a venerable account, why dock them for being a reliable user of a service? As long as someone knows not to put or* on a CV, cut them some slack. I know there's a recession on and people are just looking for ways to eliminate the mass of applicants, but blackballing someone for a email domain is just silly.

* Okay, so there was this snooty clique of high school girls who threw themselves "Temptress slumber parties" where they ate strawberries and whipped cream and gave themselves faux-elegant "Temptress names." A friend and I quipped that we should set up a rival organization, the Seductresses, with the motto "we get results!" (Never set up an email account based on a joke.) But of COURSE I did not put this email address on a resume. Even at 17 I knew better. And Hotmail eventually ate it anyway.
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