Are email addresses stereotyped? You bet they are. Whether you’re using email for personal or business communications, the person on the other end can’t help but try to decipher your personality just by looking at the email address.
It is hard enough to communicate online without the benefit of body language or voice, so don’t let your email be a downfall.
Let’s break it down by domain names
Let’s take a look at a couple and gauge first impressions:
@yahoo.com — What’s google?
@aol.com — What’s this thing you call “the internets”?
@localCableCompany — For example @comcast. It is not ideal because you don’t control the email domain. If you stop using their services, they could potentially take your email away from you. Secondly, the receiver might assume you’re working for the company, or he just might have had bad luck with his cable bill. Why bother when there are other better alternatives.
@university.edu — This is actually a good domain name if you’re still an active student in college. The problem comes when you are applying for jobs and the recruiter thinks that you’re still taking classes or barely out of school. You’ll lose this email address once you’re out of school.
@gmail.com — This one is fine to use if you don’t own your own domain. From what I can tell, it does not bear negative stereotypes (as of writing this in 2014), and would be fine to use for business or personal email addresses.
@outlook.com — Another great one to use from Microsoft because it is neutral.
What are some guidelines for creating your name before the @domainname.com? Let’s take a look at doing it wrong, and then doing it right.
The prefix before domain
Doing it Wrong
xxLuvBunny5xx — Shows that you had this email since the age of 12.
TerminatorJoe54 — Unless you’re an exterminator, this one suffers from the same fate as above. Also, try to avoid putting numbers in the name as they are less memorable.
JohnSmith1974 — Do you want everyone to know your birthdate?
Doing it Right
johnsmith — try to get first name followed by last name, or the reverse.
Jsmith — first initial of the first name, followed by last name, or reverse.
contactjohnsmith — if your name is very popular, the two choices above might not work. Try to put a word behind your name.
painterjohnsmith — If you have a specific business, putting the profession before or after the name is an okay thing to do. But remember, if you make this your personal email and you switch professions in the future, this email will make little sense.
Lots of options, lots of choices.