How and Why to Set Up a Job Search Email Account

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When you're looking for a job, it can be a good idea to set up an email account just to use for job searching. That way your professional email won't get mixed in with your personal correspondence.

It's important to keep your job search activities separate from your work activities. It's always smart to job hunt as discreetly as possible when you're employed. You don't want your boss to find out that you're job searching, and using your work email address to apply for jobs might get back to them. Many companies monitor workers’ email and internet use, so it’s best practice to keep your job searching and your work email separate.

There’s also always a chance that you’ll accidentally forward or copy someone from work on a job search related email. Looking for work is hard enough without committing these kinds of unforced errors. Save yourself some embarrassment and headaches and set up an email account for professional use, separate from your employer-provided account.

Get an Email Account Just for Job Searching

It's quick and easy to set up a new email account. There are a variety of free web-based email services, like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo that you can use. Most phones and tablets will let you access your personal email via app, which will make it easy to check and reply to emails on the go – important when you want to jump on a job opportunity.

Assign a name to your email account that is appropriate for business use, e.g. firstname.lastname@gmail.com, hannah.smith@hannahsmith.com, or m.wilson@outlook.com rather than cutegirl@hotmail.com or beachboy@aol.com. Using your name or as close as you can get to it always works well.

The email handle you use is one of the first things that an employer or business connection will notice, so be sure it reflects the professional you, not your personal or family life.

Skip anything that might give the hiring manager pause, such as cutesy nicknames or pop culture references or anything that’s not safe for work.

Ideally, your email address should stick in the hiring manager’s mind just long enough to contact you… but not stand out for any other reason.

Add a Signature to Your Messages

Once you've got your email address ready to go, set up an email signature including your contact information and add it to all of the messages you send. Your signature should include:

  • First and Last Name
  • Physical Address (optional)
  • Email Address
  • Phone
  • LinkedIn URL (if you have one)
  • Social Media Handles (if you use them professionally)

Once you've set up the account, send yourself a few test messages and replies to make sure you can send and receive mail. Don't forget to add this email address to your LinkedIn profile, website, and any other professional social networks or online portfolios.

Then use this email account for all of your job search communications: to apply for jobs, post your resume, and connect with your contacts.

Be sure to check your account frequently so that you can respond immediately to employers who are interested in hiring you. There’s no sense in setting up a separate email account for your job search if you don’t check it often. Aim for at least once a day so that you don’t miss out on time-sensitive messages.

Don't Use Your Work Email Account

Again, many companies monitor email communications and usage of company-owned computers and devices, and you don't want to get caught job searching from work.

Don't use your work email address for job searching or networking. Don't send resumes and cover letters from your work email account or use that email address when you apply for jobs online. Avoid using company computers or networks to job search or contact hiring managers.

Remember to Use Appropriate Job Search Email Etiquette

It's important that all of your communications with prospective employers and networking contacts are professional and business-like. Proper job search email etiquette dictates that job seekers:

Format the email correctly. Job search emails are similar to a business letter, and should be structured and formatted accordingly. It’s also important to use the right font. Use a basic, easy-to-read font like Arial, Times New Roman, or Cambria.

Follow directions. Include your resume and any other materials requested, make sure to follow the job listing or description when highlighting your experience and skills.

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Ask a trusted friend to review your email for errors, including misspellings of company names. Then, send yourself a test message to make sure that the message comes through as formatted.