Justin Duino / How-To Geek

When crafting a resume or building a personal website, you may wonder if your Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, or Gmail address doesn’t look professional enough. Depending on who you are and what you’re doing, it may in fact be time for an email upgrade.

Does My Email Address Look Unprofessional in Resumes?

As a working professional, you may consider replacing your free email address with a custom email domain. You might be a job seeker, freelancer, or contractor without a company or domain of your own. In this case, free email services are perfectly fine, but you must be aware of how certain domains can appear.

If you’re applying for a job or a freelancer position, a Gmail.com or Outlook.com address is generally fine. There aren’t many cases where it wouldn’t be okay to use one. Many businesses today rely on Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace for their online operations, so those addresses can actually show that you’re already familiar with those companies’ suites of apps.

In contrast, an address with domains like Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL does run the risk of appearing outdated. There’s nothing wrong with using these for personal use as long as they serve you well, but for a resume, we recommend getting either a Gmail or Outlook address to help you put your best foot forward.

How to Get a Free Email Professional Address for Job Applications

If you want an address that will look good on a resume, it’s easy to sign up for a Gmail account at Gmail.com or an Outlook (Microsoft) account at Outlook.live.com. They don’t cost a dime and they come with access to many additional free apps and services like Google Docs or web versions of Microsoft apps like Word and Excel.

When signing up, you should be thoughtful about how you craft your email handle (the name that appears before the @ symbol). For instance, try to use your full name, not a nickname or flip phrase. You’ll look much more serious if you’re applying for a job using the address bill.brown@outlook.com than if you use iLikeBeer@outlook.com.

Also stay away from random numbers and characters in your username. If you’re a freelancer contacting a client, you’ll look more professional with the address JaneDoe@gmail.com than Jane21_xoxo@gmail.com. Your name may already be taken, though, in which case you can try inserting something like an underscore, like “Jane_Doe@gmail.com”, or the work you’re in, like “JaneDoeWriting@gmail.com”.

Does My Business Need Its Own Domain Name?

While free email services are fine for personal use, for a business, an email address should instill professionalism. Seeing an address like BestTreeService@yahoo.com gives most of us pause. You’d probably wonder if the business was legitimate, trustworthy, and reliable. In fact, there are several reasons to spring for a custom domain.

Your Own Domain Name Promotes Your Brand

If there’s one thing a business needs to promote, it’s its brand. Marketing companies go to great lengths to help businesses grow their brands into easily recognizable representations.

Most companies create a website to market their product or service, and some take the extra step of selling to consumers on that site. By creating an email address that ends with the domain name, you’re not only using a professional address, but displaying your brand at the same time.

You Should Invest in Your Company

If you take your business seriously, you want your potential clients and customers to do the same. When you came up with the name for your company, you probably spent time brainstorming to find the perfect reflection of your product or service.

You should invest the same time and effort in making sure that you represent your company in a trustworthy and reliable way. This includes your email address.

It’s often about perception. When someone sees your email address as SuesCandy@hotmail.com they may think you aren’t sincere about your business or planning for it to succeed. After all, if you can’t take the time to set up a professional email address, maybe you’re not sure if your business will stick around.

Additionally, a professional email address lets people know you’re organized, have a communication system in place, and are ready for business.

Custom Domains Help in Hiring Staff

You may start out as a small one-person show, but if you expand and hire employees, do you want them using their personal email accounts for your business?

If you set up email addresses using your domain name, then you can provide your staff professional accounts with that address. Again, this can not only help promote your brand even more but also makes your business appear more substantial and that you have staying power. And of course, your employees can keep their personal accounts for their personal lives.

RELATED: The Best Places to Buy a Domain Name

You Can Lessen the Risk of Spam

Not only are free email services at risk of receiving spam but can come across as spam to your recipients. Don’t run the risk of your marketing message being sent to your customer’s spam folder. Not only will your message be missed, but if you’re marked as spam, it can damage your reputation and affect future marketing messages you try to send.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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