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I've read that it's not recommended to use a work email address on a resume, but if I own a company and have an email address under the company's domain, would it be appropriate to use that? Or should I still stick to a Gmail address?

EDIT: This resume will be used to apply for contracting positions. The domain of the email address is that of a company under which my freelance work would be released and through which I would be hired.

  • What do you mean by own a company? – Dipan Mehta Apr 25 '12 at 3:19
  • I would rather want to learn -What are the factors that suggests that i should NOT be using company email address for my personal use and thereby on my resume, before asking this. – Dipan Mehta Apr 25 '12 at 3:21
  • @DipanMehta: "Own a company" means that I independently run my own web design company. – Purag Apr 25 '12 at 3:25
  • Sometime own a company means more or less you have worked as a freelancer/independent person and called it a company (more like you described) so when you change job, the parent company goes to be packed up. Sometimes, own a company could actually mean you are founder and hold a majority stack in an incorporation where the company is going to further advance after you exit. In the former case, it really doesn't matter. In the later case you should keep it much as any other company. – Dipan Mehta Apr 25 '12 at 3:34
19

In my experience (within the US of A) using a company email address has all of the connotations that have already been mentioned, plus two that haven't been addressed:

  1. If you are currently self employed, but you are also searching for a job as an employee, you are by default giving mixed signals. Yes, transitioning from one method of acquiring currency to another method will be necessity have a period of transition. However, don't make it more confusing than it already has to be. A person seeing you use your company email address as a primary contact on a resume that is ostensibly to become an employee of another organization, may start to wonder "Does this person intend to leave their own company? Are they really interested in working for someone else? What the dilly, yo?!"

    • Also note that if you currently run your own business and you are looking to settle into an employee position, your potential employer will be concerned that you will not do well with "taking orders from someone else" or "not being your own boss anymore." Anything you can do to remove any blatant reminders that you are currently self-employed is a good thing.
  2. If you are not self employed, and you use your current employer's email domain, you are throwing off an air of disrespect. It's basically two-timing your employer to be using their equipment to find another job. No matter how evil they are, don't use their equipment to find another job. Potential employers, at least ones that have decent emotional intelligence, will see that and pick up on it. "If he can sneak around behind his current employer's back, he can do it to us. His character isn't strong. This cat be faker than a three dollah bill, holmes!"

    • Even if your current employer approves of you using your work email address (stranger things have happened), don't do it. The recipients don't know the situation and the time wasted on explaining that arrangement in an interview is wasting time reminding them that you are currently employed. You don't want that.

Let us hear the end of the whole matter

Go register a domain that includes your name in it. FirstnameLastname.com, FirstInitialLastName.me or something similar. I like .me or .info regardless of if the .com is available since it makes it obvious it's your personal domain.
Set up a small, single page informational site on that domain that links to your LinkedIn account and has a downloadable resume on it. Include your name and current employment status. Use that domain as your email address for things like job hunting. That way people don't see your employment, they see you. And you're dang spiffy.

  • Hrm...what if I intended for the website of my "company" to be my freelance hub? I definitely want to refer people to the domain my email address is on as my personal online portfolio. Would that work out? I only call it a company because I'm just trying to brand my freelance career--so sites I design personally with my own two hands will be branded with this "company" name. – Purag Apr 25 '12 at 4:19
  • @Purmou It all depends on if the job you're looking for is a contract position or an employed position. If you want an employed position, no, don't use your company website as an email domain even if what you do as a freelancer is what you will be doing as an employee. You need to give off an air of "I want to work as an employee" not "I've already got a gig, but I might be interested in working for you." – Wesley Apr 25 '12 at 18:38
  • Excellent post. I work for a small company, and I do a lot of pre-employment screening (you wear a lot of hats in very small companies), and self-employment is usually a red-flag for us: Are you, the applicant, going to be working on your own projects on company time? Whether you answer yes or no, who are we to know your character based solely on your carefully worded résumé? YourName@gmail.com may not be the most professional email address, but it's so common you're less likely to be judged by it. – stslavik Apr 25 '12 at 22:32
  • Wait...if I intend to use this resume for contracting positions, wouldn't it make sense to direct them to my freelance portfolio online? And, in that case, would it not be appropriate to use my company email address? Keep in mind, this is for contracting. – Purag Apr 26 '12 at 0:05
  • @Purmou For contracting, yes, use your company email address. However, your original question is not clear that you are a contractor and your resume is being reviewed to win contracts. It sounded like you own your own company but were considering working as en employee separate from your company. – Wesley Apr 26 '12 at 0:14
13

The common advice against using a "work email" is usually along the lines of "You're using company resources to find a new job, and that's (probably) not kosher according to your company's internet use policy." -- If your boss finds out (or IT finds out and rats you out), it could be very detrimental to your career.

In your case, being that it's your domain, I don't personally see a problem with it, but be aware of two things:

  1. Your prospective employer will judge you by the image your company's site presents.
    john.doe@gmail.com doesn't stand out. A domain they've never heard of does. Expect them to visit your site, and have a placeholder or something nice to look at.
  2. If your email breaks that's BAD.
    If GMail, Hotmail, or a big ISP has an outage, everyone knows it's not your fault.
    If your system blows up, you look bad; especially if you're applying for an IT job!

Also pay attention to AlanBarber's advice about making sure your email address looks/sounds professional. I've seen some awful things that got an express trip to the shredder...

  • My email address is my first name followed by my company domain (name@domain.com). Would that be professional enough? There will absolutely be something waiting for them when they visit it. – Purag Apr 25 '12 at 3:24
  • 1
    @Purmou depends on the domain name, but first.last@company.com is almost always "professional enough" unless you happen to have a truly unfortunate first/last name like "Dick Hedd" (in which case you should consider an alternate email address convention, like DHedd@company.com) – voretaq7 Apr 25 '12 at 3:27
  • +1 for point #2. I never use my website's email on resumes or otherwise because I honestly don't trust my server all that much. It's just a cheap VPS that I screw around on, so chances of it breaking and me not noticing are much higher. – animuson Apr 25 '12 at 4:37
  • @MarkBooth, I had the edit tag, so I did the fix for you. – HLGEM Apr 25 '12 at 13:16
  • Thanks @HLGEM I've never noticed that before (in over 3 years on SO *8') so it has never occurred to me how multiple people editing the same question/answer was handled. – Mark Booth Apr 25 '12 at 13:25
4

This resume will be used to apply for contracting positions.

Your case is different than a hypothetical candidate working at Acme Software who sends his or her resume to Springfield Nuclear using a joe.developer@acme.com address. This is wrong on many levels.

Using your own domain will be an advantage in your situation. Almost every experienced developer and certainly most experienced contractors have and use their own domains.

Not only with this not be held against you, it is more likely to be perceived as more professional and business like than a gmail or hotmail account.

  • 1
    I have been doing consulting/contract work under the same business name for over 30 years. When businesses started to have a presence on the Internet in the mid 1990's, I registered my business name as a .com. (I later grabbed the same for other top-level domains as well, except for .net which was already taken). Since then, I have used my name@businessname.com on my resume, all contacts (and contracts), etc. I consider it part of my marketing -- since the domain is in my email, I hope people will go to www.businessname.com (I'm leaving off the particulars, but they are in my bio.) – tcrosley May 22 '12 at 10:05
3

I would say it depends on the type of company you own. Would the email address look unprofessional for the jobs you are applying for? If not then use it.

The big free email providers, gmail, hotmail, yahoo are all considered standard and a good choice.

Personally, I believe everyone should attempt to obtain a personal domain and email. It's good branding strategy to have your own website.

  • It's a web design company and I plan for the resume to focus on my web design career (and will most often be used for IT-related or web development jobs). – Purag Apr 25 '12 at 2:39
  • That would work perfect then. – Alan Barber Apr 25 '12 at 3:14
  • What is meant by email address look unprofessional? I have never seen an email address that look unprofessional. – Dipan Mehta Apr 25 '12 at 3:22
  • 1
    +1 for making sure your email looks/sounds professional. I have shredded resumes for the email address. (@DipanMehta - HottieMamaBootyLover142@kinky.com would be a contrived example of a spectacularly unprofessional email address. I've seen some almost as bad as that in real life.) – voretaq7 Apr 25 '12 at 3:24
  • @voretaq7 - ok got it. I think OP was fighting more about the domain. Obviously Purmou@kinky.com doesn't sound unprofessional right? – Dipan Mehta Apr 25 '12 at 3:26
3

One point I haven't seen the other answers mention is that choosing an email address is choosing an identity. What messages do different choices send?

  • Joe@BigEmployer.com - your old job - says you're identifying with your old job while looking for another, which is always bad. (In addition to what others said, your old employer may be logging email and thus read your whole converation with potential new employers.)
  • Joe@IBuildGuitars.com - your hobby or side project - says you don't much care where you work, as long as it pays for guitar-building supplies
  • Joe@gmailhotmailwhatever.com doesn't say much one way or the other
  • Joe@lastname.com probably doesn't say much, unless it's impressive you managed to get that domain
  • Joe@HugeContractingFirm.com says you only want to talk to them through your agency and you don't have an independent existence (could be good or bad)
  • Joe@JoesownCompany.com says that's your primary identity even when you're working for someone else

I do the last one. I teach one course a year at the university, but my CV uses my gregcons (Gregory Consulting) email address and website. Almost all the email addresses I have forward there, and I answer from my One True Name. Choose yours carefully.

2

When someone corresponds with me with an email address that is from a company, my initial reaction is that this person is:

  1. He is not aware of simple confidentiality protocol by revealing who he is working for at the moment. Remember that I don't have any idea that he owns the company. This would have to be make clear in the initial contact.

  2. He wants to come on board as a consultant or contractor.

  3. He is looking for jobs during his worktime, do I want someone like this on my team?

I suggest that getting a gmail, hotmail, yahoo or even one from your local ISP.

  • The solution is simple. register a domain with your name in it, or make it clear in your communication, that you own a web design company. In this case he was looking for contracting work. – Ramhound Apr 27 '12 at 13:36

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