“I haven’t opened emails that later turned out to be from people I do business with because I thought the emails were spam – based on their addresses. I missed some important information.”
A director of a national organization expressed the above frustration after my talk on etiquette at a recent conference.
Your email address is important. It can convey a lot of information about you, including your name and where you work, and even your age range – think about the difference in your responses to those who use gmail.com (mostly millennials) versus people using aol.com (probably boomers).
The goal of a good address is to identify you to the recipient and to have that person open your email promptly.
If you are employed by a company, you will use its address format for work. But most people have additional email accounts that they use for personal communication and certain work-related business, such as a job search. Other individuals may be in business for themselves, or they may be recent graduates who need a professional address to connect with the world. Take note of these 6 tips before choosing your email address:
1. Use your name in your email address. People will know immediately who has sent the email. Use either your full name or your first initial and last name (email@example.com). Avoid using just initials. People may not recognize that “BHP” stands for “Barbara Hope Pachter.”
2. Do not use a cutesy name in business. Yes, there may be exceptions if you are in marketing or an unusual field, but in most business situations, using something like “sexydiva109@” sends an unprofessional message.
3. Get creative if your name is already taken. You may need to add your middle name, middle initial, or a number to your name.
4. Be consistent with your address. Some people have multiple addresses, using myriad variations of their names in them. It can be confusing to others if one day you are sjones@ and the next SusanJonesSmith@. Also, if you are no longer a student, it’s time to replace your university address. You want to be recognized, and your new or potential colleagues may not know that you are firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Have your own domain. If you are in business for yourself, consider using your business name as your domain. For example: Tom.Jones@xyzconsulting.com. It lends substance to your business.
6. Let people know if your email address changes. Send an email to everyone on your mailing list. Also update your social media sites.
Additional information about email can be found in my new book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success. (www.pachter.com)