What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose,

By any other name would smell as sweet…”

Ah, yes. The famed passage from Romeo & Juliet by poetic genius William Shakespeare, which states that one is not solely defined by their associated name.

Bill had a point. While things have changed quite a bit from 1597, modern nomenclature isn’t always an accurate depiction, especially in the digital age. The irony or humor that you might have intended with your email handle may not always come across as such to potential employers.

These days, every person is high-profile. There’s tons of information at your fingertips-and that includes personal information like e-mail address, phone number, and preferred laundry detergent.  And if it’s at your finger-tips, it’s at everyone’s finger tips. So, when you’re job-hunting, it makes sense to try and keep only the most professional appearance with accessible information.

One way to keep a great professional profile is to consider the e-mail address that you’re using. SassyGal69er@aol.com is not nearly as charming to a potential boss than it was to your 8th grade boyfriend. It’s imperative to have a handle that’s appropriate for the nature of your business.  So, what do you want to consider when changing your e-mail?

First, it’s a great idea to use your name, or at least your initials. The service provider you decide to use can run your proposed name through their database in the blink of an eye to make sure it’s available. If it’s not, try adding a number to it. It can be your lacrosse jersey number from high school, your anniversary date, whatever. As long as it’s something you’ll remember.

If you have a name that is unusually long or difficult to spell, it might be advantageous to shorten it, or just go with a first name and added detail, such as SteveWebProgrammer@gmail.com instead of SteveDomonigolutanis@gmail.com.

Secondly, consider which domain you’re using. Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail are three great free options.  There are pros and cons to each, but I prefer Gmail, myself. It provides a ton of free services, including a document-sharing program (much like an FTP site), which can be a huge advantage. You can post your resume and send a link out, or a schedule of your softball games, or a hilarious short story you’re trying to get published. Whatever you want, you can share it for free.

The other advantage to using a universally recognized domain is that it makes it very unlikely that you’ll have dropped e-mails. This is a key point, ESPECIALLY when you’re job hunting.  Obscure domains are not only less recognizable, but they might also filter out and spam important e-mails.

Lastly, check your e-mail daily. Yes, it can sometimes be a pain in the butt.  Yes, you might have to filter through spam. Yes, it’s difficult to focus on a job hunt while Groupon is tempting you with the deal of a century. But you never know what might come through that can change your career path forever!