We are updating this with new sample data. As readers know, around August 2016 we analyzed 100 emails that were sent to us and we determined that as many as 26% of them have an email address that is either unprofessional or it could be close to it. We were curious and ran this test again over the last couple of weeks, and now the percent of unprofessional emails is about 30%! The statistic is alarming in that not only may a potential employer just skip over an applicant with using a certain type of email address, but some charities and other groups that offer financial aid may also screen the request for help.
The two tests (recent and the older one) still confirm that 1/4 to 1/3 of people (at least on this site) are using unprofessional email addresses. While the process is somewhat arbitrary, we feel it can be as high as 30% of the email addresses could fall into this category. Even if we were to reclassify a few of them as less questionable based on some other opinions that we have received, we are very confident in saying that at minimum 25% are unprofessional. But as noted, this serious issue could impact as many as 30% of senders.
We are very confident as to the 26 to 30% number. After all, no one can argue that “sexyms…”, “silliemomma…”, “OneShortASixPack…”, “Cutebabeknockout”, “blackmamba”, or that “…browneyes69”, “musclejoe” is inappropriate! There are a number of email addresses that fall into this outrageous category.
We actually wonder if one of the root causes of someone being working poor or low income (as many users of the site are) is there lack of self-awareness and/or professionalism? Or maybe the working poor flat out lack proper communication skills, maybe from the lack of educational opportunities or access to quality of schools? Maybe they were never taught what to do or not to do when it comes to presenting themselves? All of that and more may be true, or not…as we always say, the root cause of issues like these can vary and are not clear cut.
That being said, we thought it should be common sense to not use an email like that in any form of professional communication…and really should even be done in “personal” communication. As someone that worked as a director at a publicly held company and has hired dozens of people over the years (as well as managed dozens and promoted a number of employees), I can tell you that people using these types of unprofessional email addresses will almost always be bypassed for job opportunities (or promotions), which then leads to a lower income, increases chance of financial hardship, etc.
Downsides to an unprofessional email address
There are many. To name but a few, using these types of unprofessional email addresses will almost guarantee that a potential employer will never look at a job cover letter or resume. Almost every human resource professional will disregard that client as soon as they see that address. Some automated systems that are now used by many companies to search and scan resumes and/or applications may even screen those applicants out so no one even sees the clients job application and/or resume.
Now, the person may still be able to get an often lower paying retail type job or some position that is not a “professional role”, but anyone that wants a decent paying, skilled job with a company will never get one using those email addresses.
Not only may someone not be able to get a job, but many social service agencies more than likely will not take their request for financial aid seriously. It is also hard enough to get help for paying for medications or housing, and when someone with an email of “blacknightqueen…” applies, do people really think that will help them in their quest? So these 30% of people are putting themselves at risk to getting help for their basic needs.
A case manager at most of the charities (and even a Department of Human Service office) will think the person applying for aid will have extreme difficulty in getting a job as well. And since no charity or financial aid program is entitled to be some never ending entitlement (but they are meant to fill short term gaps) a social service agency may pass that person on and instead help someone that they think is more serious about resolving their financial situation.
A poor email address tells any professional that you are dealing with that you are not serious. The 30% of people that are using this so called “clever” or “joke” addresses make a terrible impression when applying for a job or anything for that matter. People that use that approach are telling others that they are serious about themselves or their situation and they are also saying they lack knowledge over acceptable norms.
What to do?
It is simple. Get a new email address. Use your first and last name (or shorten it by a few characters). If that email address is not available, every single email service (such as gmail, yahoo, etc. ) will recommend a variation of it. That is available. Use that recommendation. You can use this new address for any future professional communication done, or even better yet, use it 100% of the time and cancel the old, obnoxious one. If you need more information on what employers may or may not be looking for, getting free advice on job finding programs or professionalism, or need other support, there are many non-profits and even government job programs from one stop centers that can help.
Then, tell your friends, family, and others you deal with your new contact information. Use it going forward in any communication, especially with employers and businesses. You need to change your email address immediately to prevent any further damage from being done.