One of the easiest things to do at the start of your job search is to sign up for a new email address. Your don’t have to abandon your old one, of course, but there are good reasons to consider getting a new, clean address that doesn’t come with any of the baggage of your current one. Here are three reasons you might want to set up a clean email address before you start your job search.
1. Replace your cheesy email address with one that sounds professional. You don’t want to use an email address like “bigcheez420” on your resume! This sounds like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised how many resumes are out there (even resumes for lawyers and law students) with embarrassing email addresses on them. Your technical qualifications may be great, but sending out a resume with an unprofessional email address on it signals to law firms and other employers that you suffer from bad judgment. Get a new email address. Just stick with your name, or some variation thereof, and leave the creative addresses for your personal business.
2. If you’ve been using your email address for a long time, you may have left a trail throughout the internet that’s just waiting for a potential employer to discover it. Take a moment to think about it. Did you use the same email address in a forum five years ago? To register for social media? Posted it anywhere? If you have, thorough searches using your email address may reveal a lot more about you to a legal recruiter, prospective employer, or your current employer than you realize. A clean email address has no trail to uncover and follow.
3. Eliminate photos and personal profile information. Email providers often allow users to upload a photo with their email profile. For example, Gmail may show your photo to your email recipients. Your photo might have been perfectly fine when you were only using your email account for personal reasons. But once you use that email for professional and job search purposes, you have to reconsider. Is this a photo you want to recruiters, employers, or others to see? Take the photo down or switch it to a professional one. Is the automatic signature appropriate to your job search? If not, change it. Of course, a new email address has no photos or other information associated with it, and so you don’t have to worry about whether you’ve completely wiped out photos and other personal profile information.
Bonus advice: Sign out of chat and instant messaging options. Otherwise, you run the risk of having recruiter or employer try to engage you through these options. And you don’t want to be in the position of having to choose between chatting when you’re not ready to do so, or ignoring them. Eliminate the possibility of awkwardness by making your online presence invisible.
Once you’ve obtained a clean email address, don’t forget to check it every day! You may even be able to arrange email forwarding to reroute the job search email address to your existing one.