Sunday, October 16, 2011

Having the wrong email address is like showing up to an interview in a bathrobe and backwards hat

How is having the wrong email address is like showing up to an interview in a bathrobe and backwards hat?

It's funny, awkward, and TMI.

I run a college e-mail list and I cannot tell you how many or email addresses I see. And while it often provides a good laugh, I know these e-mails are not beneficial to students - and I want to help. 

If you are still rocking your e-mail from high school (or middle school for some) it’s time to let it go and tell the internet world that – while you may still be hot n sexy and eat cookies - you have grown up.

Your e-mail is a first impression - like what you wear on a job interview. It's not everything - but it does make a difference. 

But before I tell you how to make the right e-mail first impression, I realize many college students do not check their e-mail all that often. I recently heard only 25% of students were checking their college e-mail account. This is bad.

I know it’s hard because e-mail may not seem as important in your lives right now. But trust me – it is and will only become more so. And I find the most successful students (and the ones for whom I am more apt to write stellar recommendation letters for and bend over backwards to help) are the ones who check their e-mail every day and usually respond to my e-mails within 24 hours. These students are superstars and I naturally perceive them as more organized and responsible. If I hear of a scholarship or job opportunity, who do you think I’ll think of first?

You can be that superstar if you’re not already.

And even more importantly, while in college you are receiving vital information about when to register, when to check financial aid, when to apply for graduation, etc. The students who keep up with this kind of information daily are the ones who will succeed. Even if you’re a star student the internal college process is complicated and the e-mails your college sends are meant to make it less so.

Students who don’t check their college e-mail often don’t get the classes they wanted because they didn’t register early, miss out on financial aid, sometimes get their classes dropped, and sadly many miss out on graduating on time.

It happens every day.

So what should you do to avoid this? It’s actually quite simple. And the habits below will serve you the rest of your e-mail life.

1. Set aside specific time (10-20min) to check your e-mail at least once per day every day.
2. Delete quickly and unsubscribe from everything that is irrelevant.
3. Read and respond to each e-mail that is left. If you can’t attend to it at that moment add the task to your to do list or calendar and file the e-mail away in the archives.
4. File away all the rest in appropriate folders/labels.
5. Have a clear e-mail inbox at least once each day.

Now back to your e-mail address identity. 

What does your current e-mail address say about you? If you walked into a room and you were a visual representation of your e-mail address what would you be wearing? What would you look like? What would people be thinking?

If it makes you laugh than it’s time to get a new e-mail address.

This is daunting for some because you think of all the information that is already being sent to your current e-mail. It feels like having to get a new cell phone number.

But trust me it’s much easier.

You can get your old e-mails forwarded to your new professional email account. You can direct your school e-mails to this portal as well. I am sure many e-mail servers can do this but I have found the best and easiest is Google Mail.

You can sign you for a free Gmail account here (and no Google has not paid me to say this – I wish! – I just seriously think they are the best).

And below are the 4 quick and easy steps to enter into the land of e-mail adulthood.

1. Use your name as your e-mail address
I recommend using your first name and last name (e.g. If that is taken try using a period or underscore in between (e.g. or You can also try using your middle name (e.g. If you have a common name sometimes you have no choice but to add numbers at the end, but try to avoid that as much as possible. 

2. Forward your old high school e-mail AND your school e-mails to that new account
Google explains it best but if you want further help feel free to e-mail me at

Also be sure to check the box that allows you the option to also send e-mail with the forwarding addresses so that when you receive an e-mail in google from your college you can also email the college back using your college email to ensure it doesn’t go into a professor’s spam folder.

3. Never give out your hotnsexy305 email again.

4. Set up a professional signature at the bottom of your e-mail like:


First Name Last Name
Student, Awesome Community College*

*If you have a prestigious leadership position share that here as well. For example: 
Vice President, Student Government Association
Awesome Community College

Now when you walk into someone’s e-mail inbox what will they think about you? They will know your name. And that is good. 


  1. Good advice & I agree with this. What if someone has a long last name that is usually misspelled? Would it be good for someone named "Lindsey Kathleen Quinerteyziskipeckoloritz" (yeah, obviously made up, mine is shorter and more likely to be spelled correct but usually isn't!) to put "" or maybe throw in their birthday with their name/initials such as ""?

  2. Very good advice for young people!

  3. In terms of a longer complicated last name I think initials are a great alternative. I would avoid using any numbers if at all possible :)

  4. Thank you for your help on that Isa :)
    It was a 1hr worth of time!


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