How to Make Your Email Address Work (And Not Work) for You

Much a buzz about email addresses on resumes. The email provider listed in your email address can have positive, neutral or negative effects on how a hiring manager starts to read your resume. After all, the email address is placed right under your name in the top third of your document—the prime real estate spot on your resume.  How do I know this matters? As a search firm recruiter for 13 years and having the input from a robust network of recruiter friends, I can tell you how this small piece of information can possibly set the stage for your first impression and how your information gets read by recruiters. Here’s how you can make your email address matter:

(1)    Your College Email Address (

This can be one of your best marketing tools. If you went to a top tier undergrad school, graduate program or an establishment with a robust alumni base, I implore you to use your college email address at the top of your resume—no matter how long you have been out of school.  If you went to Stanford, Cornell (Go Big Red!) or Syracuse, why have the reader wait to the bottom of your resume—or, worse the end of the second page—to see that you attended this fabulous school or that you both went to the same school. Let the hiring manager see it immediately after your name and digest all of your subsequent information within the context of you graduating from a high-caliber institution. If you are a graduate from 2007 or 1967, you have a school email address—so contact your alumni office to get yours—after all you paid a hefty tuition price tag for it. Use it!


(2)    Your Own Domain  ([email protected])

This is the ultimate way to communicate to a future employer that you are tech-savvy and ahead of the pack in this area—no matter what your discipline. Having an email address that utilizes your name can enhance your candidacy if you are a technical, marketing, or communications professional, specifically—shows that you walk your talk in technical and branding know-how.  Providers like GoDaddy or HostMonster can help you secure your own domain—and you can even use this to start to set up a web resume that can help recruiters find you online outside of traditional social media, job board and other online channels.


(3)    Gmail

Didn’t go to a super fab school or not interested in setting up your own domain, no worries!! A Gmail account is a solid, universal way of communicating you are up-to-date with current communication tools and relatively savvy with progressive mass medium tools.  With a Gmail account, you are certainly not a technophobe and you communicate that you embrace the latest technology tools available to the mainstream.


(4)    Telecommunication Provider Emails (i.e.,,

This is where we start to enter into neutral territory. Using the email provided to you by your telecommunication or cell phone provider is not a bad option at all. While it will not convey anything negative about your application, it will also not garner any positive vibes either. If it is what you are most comfortable with, by all means proceed. With a neutral stage set, know your resume will have to do all the work to impress that employer.



We are still on relatively neutral ground here. Hotmail and Yahoo! email address suffixes can have one of these effects based on the content of the resume/social media profile: If you have a contemporary-formatted resume with progressive language and experience, having a hotmail or yahoo email address can enhance the impression that you are experienced, been current with technology for over a decade and see how technology enhances productivity—or at least not bring about any negative impressions.  However, if you have a dated format or a non-achievement written resume, having this email suffix can support the image that you are dated and do not have relevant expertise for the role you are pursuing.



Danger! We have treaded in to negative territory.  AOL launched under its current name in 1992. So by having an address, you could be subliminally communicating that you probably have at least 20+ years experience (even if you have not been on it that long), resistant to change (especially if you actually have using AOL email that long) and possibly a technophobe. This is simply not a good message to send to prospective employers as a first impression.  If you have this email address, with a dated resume layout, job description based bullets and an absence of achievements outlined on your resume, you might as well pack up your toys and go home.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer


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