is your AOL or Hotmail address hurting your job search?

A reader writes:

Does it really matter which email provider you use to apply for jobs?

I ask because I was reading a thread on Reddit recently, and the people there said anything other than Gmail makes a candidate look computer illiterate and/or less intelligent. Essentially, according to this thread, AOL is for old people, dumb people, or people who can’t use a computer; Yahoo and Hotmail are slightly better, but not much; and Gmail is the provider of choice for intelligent candidates who are computer savvy. Recruiters there said they downgrade candidates who use anything other than gmail or an address with a personal domain. Is this true?

No reasonable employer is going to reject you because of your email address’s domain, but it does contribute to an overall impression of you. Using an AOL address does make you look way behind the times when it comes to technology. Yahoo and Hotmail also have a dated feel to them, but not nearly to the same extent. (AOL is particularly bad, because AOL originally marketed itself as a safe way for non-web-savvy users to experience the big bad web, in their own safe little AOL community.)

It’s not going to take you out of the running, but there absolutely are stereotypes about those email addresses, and you should at least be aware that you might get branded with them.

{ 430 comments… read them below }

    1. Brooke*

      +1 I totally look at the part prior to the @ rather than after.. I don’t think it matters where you get your email. I think it says SO MUCH about a person when they CREATE something like “bigghettobooty69”. And yes, I have seen some very tacky email addresses like this come through and most of the time, I don’t even bother. If they can’t even take the time to make a second email address that has a little professionalism and class to it, they probably are not going to put forth the effort to appear as such at their job. In my few years of hiring, not once have I ever checked the website that they receive their email.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Came here to say this. I’ve seen plenty of those too, as it was part of my job to clear out the saved resume files every six months.

        Yahoo and Hotmail is fine if you use your name, or something innocuous. If your name is Andy G. McDonnell, I wouldn’t flinch at something like agmcdonnell at But sexybeast156 at ain’t gonna fly. (I made those up)

        1. Brooke*

          Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously?? Who really thinks that is ok to put on a resume?? That is, of course, unless you’re applying to be in a XXX video!

        2. Andy Lester*

          My version of that: Wife-at-the-time taught high school English, and she got email from a student who was “poonmaster3@whatever”, which raises the question: Were poonmaster1 and 2 already taken?

            1. Kelly O*

              Okay, that has killed me dead. A third-generation poonmaster…

              I bet he’s a legacy in some fraternity…

              1. Anon*

                I like to think fraternities are more intelligent than that. At least the ones I know wouldn’t be quite that idiotic!

          1. Andie*

            OMG! I am so late to the game this week but that comment is hilarious!!! I so needed that laugh right now!

    2. DA*

      When I owned my own business, I was shocked at how many ‘bigghettobooty69’s’ were out there. People just don’t think.

      1. Anon*

        I wouldn’t hold an AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail account against anyone, if they want to get hacked all day every day, that’s their business. I would hold ‘bigghettobooty69′ against someone though. You are looking for a job – have a professional email address. Sheesh.

          1. EliseElise*

            Same for me. The spam even starts in a gmail account when you never use the email address to sign up for anything.

            1. Anonymous*

              Was it a common phrase or name? I think what’s happening is that spammers are just sending to a bunch of likely addresses and hoping some of it sticks.

              1. Elise*

                No, nothing any more common than any other email address I’ve used and it’s happened with more than one gmail account I’ve opened and not with any of the others (I tend to keep several accounts for different things). When you get spam after you use the email to sign up for any other site online, it’s not so odd. But the gmail spam starts day one before I’ve given it out.

                I’m wondering if it has to do with how Google tracks everything you access thru Google searches if you are signed into your account. When you are signed into a Google account and using a Google search that takes you to a website with Google ads all over…seems things might be a little bit too interconnected.

                1. OP*

                  Elise, I think the spam arrives so quickly just because Gmail is so popular–spammers send email to any handle they can think of @gmail, on the off chance the address exists. (My experience with my multiple Gmail accounts supports this–my firstname.lastname account gets much more spam than the account where my handle is a made up word, even though I only use it for job applications.)

                2. Liza*

                  Sorry, that “OP” there was me–I forgot it was still in the comment field from when I commented on a post where I was the OP!

          1. Natalie*

            I could be totally off base about this, but I suspect that what happens to most Yahoo and Hotmail users is actually phishing (using social engineering to gather passwords) rather than proper hacking or cracking. So if your wife is savvy enough to avoid phishing, it makes complete sense that no one has ever gained access to her account.

    3. Nusy*

      I did see a lady apply for a position with our (government, legal) office with an email that said “cullengirlfriend” at one of the above-listed “oldies” extensions.

      She also had a prom-type picture in the header of her technicolor dreamcoat of a resume.

  1. KC*

    For what it’s worth, you can find relatively inexpensive web hosting and if you can get your name as a domain name, you can have a professional email address to use for networking or job hunting. I think it’s worth the investment (domain is $10/year, hosting for me is about $90/year, but I have many domains hosted there). You can connect the email account to Gmail really easily, so you don’t need to log in somewhere else to have it. I have as an email address.

    Maybe it’s a personal bias as someone who was growing up during the Internet Age, but I definitely make pre-judgments about AOL email addresses. You get extra points taken off for ANY email address that isn’t It takes minutes to create a Gmail account with a professional version of your name. Do it.

    1. Juni*

      I definitely think that as hiring managers skew younger and more Gen-Xers and Millennials become hiring managers, we’ll see more outright dismissal of anyone with an AOL email address and the like. There is absolutely a generational element to judging email providers.

      1. A Bug!*

        Do millenials in general even understand the implications of an AOL address? It seems to me like it’d be comparable to a floppy drive. If one of these kids came across a computer that had a floppy drive in it (assuming for the sake of argument that the computer looked otherwise modern), the drive would be meaningless to them without an explanation.

        1. E*

          I think you have a slight misunderstanding of the age range of millennials! I was born in 1987 and would certainly be considered a millennial, and I used aol in middle school and used floppy discs throughout high school. Yes, many people also consider 15 year olds millennials, and they might not know what a floppy drive is, but I assure you 25 year olds do!

          1. A Bug!*

            Oh, clearly I do! Thanks for the correction; I was picturing kids born at or after the new millenium. I’m terrible with these generational markers!

            Thank you to everybody for setting me straight!

            1. Josh S*

              *Born 1946 – 1964: Baby Boomers
              *1964 – Late 1970s/early 80s (I’ve seen different years listed): Generation X
              *Early 1980s (again, dates differ) – 2000ish: Generation Y or Millennials
              *2000ish – Today: Generation Z … this hasn’t really been named/defined since most of the people here are still pretty young and haven’t formed individual/corporate identities or stereotypes yet.

              1. A Bug!*

                Thanks for this! I thought Generation Y and Millenials were different, and haven’t heard Generation Z until just now.

                I’ll just stick to “kids these days, yeesh”. Dialup internet = five miles to and from school uphill in the snow barefoot.

                1. Josh S*

                  LOL. Our parents talked about barefoot in the snow uphill both ways. We’ll talk about “land lines” and “car phones” and be seen as equally out of touch.

                2. Samantha Jane Bolin*

                  Love this! I explained to my 7-year old the other day about dial-up and long-distance charges. Then we had a discussion about “bag phones.” She was amazed. If I’d been smart, I would have kept mine as a souvenir.

        2. Juni*

          Oldest Millennials are in their early 30’s, like me. I remember when AOL started, I used floppy drives, and I watched the internet turn from Usenet and BBS into, well, the internet. Any Millennial who sees a floppy drive in a computer is going to know that you put media of some sort in there, it’s not a hard jump to make when you’re used to plug-in media. But I absolutely judge people with an AOL email, because I am familiar with it (used it as a kid) and know that those who use AOL for primary internet browsing are using a curated version of the internet in a bubble and thus are unlikely to have strong internet research skills and less likely to self-solve. Yup, that’s totally a stereotype. But when I’m hiring, the email address is absolutely something I look at and take into consideration, along with the meat of the resume. If I were hiring for a secretary, I wouldn’t care what your email address was. But if I’m hiring a researcher, grant writer, fundraiser, etc., I need someone who is, if not a digital native, someone who has kept up with the times.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I have a hard time with your assumption.

            I have a yahoo email. Do you think I go to the yahoo portal every time I go online? I don’t. I am not an IT person, but I do a huge amount of research and data analysis. I have an engineering degree and current experience with all kinds of software.

            While I can agree I might as well use my gmail address instead and represent that I *am* current, I think it’s weird to jump to conclusions about someone’s skills from their email address.

            Now, let’s say you’re hiring for some general office admin position, and my 60-year old aunt applies with a resume lacking in any computer or office experience, and an aol address, yeah, I can agree you need to fill in the blanks about her experience from the info you have and that shows that she is dated in her computer use. But when you have other info, why let an email address alone color your opinion?

            1. Juni*

              Well, no, I’d imagine that you wouldn’t like what I mentioned. I don’t use the email address to be my entire criteria for weeding out resumes, but combined with the rest of the resume, it tends to correlate with what’s on the resume. By saying that your 60-year-old aunt has an AOL account and applies for jobs without computing experience… I don’t need to fill in any blanks there. No blanks to fill. The email address on her resume just reinforces what her resume says about her. Your having a yahoo account may or may not correlate with what I see on your resume, but it wouldn’t necessarily knock you out of the running. To Millennials, AOL is a joke. A joke. It is like walking to school barefoot in the snow.

              When I have to sift through 60+ resumes for a prospect researcher position, it is a shortcut for me to just cut everyone with an AOL address, because in my experience, that field has correlated 100% with people who may be fine writers but have lower ability towards research tools, self-solving, and picking up new technology. Is it fair? No? That’s your problem, but it’s not mine. I’m not the only Millennial hiring manager who skips right over people if something in their resume conveys that he or she is not a “native speaker” of technology.

              It’s not weird at all to draw conclusions about someone’s skills based on their email address. It’s certainly not any weirder than drawing conclusions based on anything else in their resume, how they format their resume, or anything else they are using as a marketing tool to market themselves. I’m just not buying what they’re selling, and more and more Millennials who think this way are rising to the hiring manager level every year.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                FWIW, I’m a millenial by some definitions. I sometimes squeak under the first year.

                AOL is a joke? Yeah, I mean honestly, I didn’t really know that people were using it. As for my own use of yahoo, while I defend it here, I go 50/50 IRL. It’s on my linkedin, so if someone contacts me through there (which I’d think would indicate some degree of tech savviness), I don’t confuse them by switching to another email address that is identical, excluding the domain.

                I’m not a job seeker, but I get headhunter contacts regularly. If someone contacts me & I send my info, I haven’t NOT gotten an interview. I’ve managed my own career well enough that I don’t have to send my resume to nameless hiring managers and recruiters who will cut me based on my email domain.

              2. BW*

                Or it could be that person has been online since the beginning of time and just never changed their email address, like some people like to keep the same phone # when they move or switch providers, because it’s just less hassle.

                IMO judging a person based on their email provider isn’t any different than judging them based on their name or address. Heck, change it up sometimes and weed resumes based on area code. With the advent of portability, mobile phones, and VOIP, and the death of 7 digit dialing, what kind of old bumbling fogey still has one of those old useless local area codes, especially the ones that existed before overlays that have a 1 or a 0 in the middle. The horror! Get with the times already!

                1. Anon*

                  I’m in the “been online forever” camp. I’ve had a Yahoo email address since the mid-90’s, since I was in school. I have a gmail account, but I never use it, because I don’t want to bother checking two personal email accounts. (Plus the hotmail account I use when some site demands an email address, and I know I don’t want to hear from them.)

          2. Josh S*

            AOL’s webmail is entirely different from its service as a (curated, gated) ISP. The webmail service is free. The ISP is, well, an ISP.

            Don’t let someone’s email domain trick you into thinking that they use the service for their ISP (although they might, but that population is extremely small).

            1. Anonymous*

              I’m not sure if I’d agree with your second point. I don’t think there are many people who would sign up for an AOL email without having used their ISP services at some point

        3. AnotherAlison*

          Not necessarily. My son is 15. We had a Windows 95 machine when he was born & a Windows millenium one after that (someone gave me that as a birthday gift, ME sucked). Both had floppy drives. He played on them & would remember the disks kicking around the house.

          Now, my 8 yr old wouldn’t remember floppies.

        4. Laura L*

          Yes. Many of us even had AOL email addresses when were kids. We also used computers with floppy disks. In fact, I still have some floppy disks from middle and high school.

          1. Anon*

            I remember using AIM, I still have an AOL address from there. I am in the IT field and while I likely will switch to using gmail for a professional email when I graduate, I would say I do see Yahoo, AOL and hotmail as outdated email types. I used floppy disks when I was in 4th grade and I am early 20s now.

    2. Natalie*

      For job hunters it seems totally reasonable to me to have a professional sounding Gmail address, but I am continuously surprised at how many businesses use free email accounts (AOL, even) for their primary business email. And these are attorneys, CPAs, and medical professionals. Yeesh.

  2. Sascha*

    I’ve had this discussion many times at work, as an IT person. It certainly wouldn’t knock anyone out of the running for me, but it makes me wonder, especially if I’m hiring for an IT position. It may be silly, but my thought is, it takes less than 5 minutes to get an email address – why not get an email address that will make a better impression? That being said, I will still have a better impression of you if you have JaneSmith@aol, rather than SexxyMomma@gmail.

    1. Anonymous*

      Yes! It does matter – please use your name or a version of your name! Also, don’t use the email address for your spouse or family!

    2. ThatHRGirl*

      My favorite is when they use one that is CLEARLY not accurate, like “”. Really, Josh? You were THE FIRST Josh of all the Josh’s in the world to get that email address.

        1. nonegiven*

          And they could be some idiot that doesn’t understand how email works and keeps putting the address they want on things instead of one they have. Also ask anyone with a fairly common name that has how many wrong person emails they get.

          1. fposte*

            Now, that’s an interesting sub-topic. I misread your handle as “kristin” rather than “krist1n,” and I wonder if it wouldn’t be a little bit risky to have an easily mistypable handle like that (I know mostly people copy and paste or hit reply, but I’m sure there’s plenty of retyping still happening).

            1. kristinyc*

              Well, I was 8 at the time and wasn’t exactly getting many emails, so it didn’t matter for that one. :)

              I have a friend whose last name begins with an “I” (and is really hard to pronounce), and he CONSTANTLY has people thinking it begins with an L.

          2. Gene*

            Somebody has to be the first Josh.

            I had a three-letter AOL account name as I was one of the charter subscribers. I finally discontinued my membership about 3 years ago because I never used it anymore, but it was only $4.95/month for me.

            What I hate is something like ScottandElva@, or worse, TheSampsonFamily@ . My favorite of all time though was a friend who had :)

            1. Thebe*

              This actually brings up something I’ve noticed — so many of my married women friends have email addresses like TheHasslerHouse or SmithFamily or even just their husband’s name. I know there are probably good practical reasons — they’re the only one who checks the email address or it’s part of their package, but it rubs me the wrong way. Don’t these women have their own identity? I find myself censoring my emails to them just in case the husband or kids read the email.

                1. Wren*

                  I have my own account(s) too, but we do have a shared one that we opened specially for joint things. If we are looking for a plumber or contractor or signing up for a mailing list for something that we both would want to access, we use that one. I can’t imagine using it on my resume, though!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Wait, that confuses me. I’d be more inclined to assume it’s really their address and they just got it first, since there would be no point in using a fake email address on a resume…?

        1. Evan the College Student*

          Unless you’re just applying to check a box on your unemployment application and don’t mean to get the job…?

        2. Nancie*

          It’s more often a missed bit of proofreading or stupid software, than deliberately fake.

          Someone with the email address mike123@whatever probably won’t remember the specific number off the top of their head, since their browser autofills that field. So they type mike@whatever, thinking that they’ll correct it when they proofread. And they forget.

          Or they type mike123, and their word processor stupidly “autocorrects” it.

          1. kj*

            Wait… you’re saying there are people out there who don’t know their own email address off the top of their head?

              1. bo bessi*

                I have a friend like that too. A month or so ago, she got several rsvps for another Jane Smith’s wedding reception.

              2. Jen in RO*

                I didn’t think my email address was common (it’s an alternate spelling of Jenny), but I am getting a lour of email for more than one Jennifer. Stuff like info about kids’ kindergarten, a request for help with Immigration, info for a wedding… and weirdest of all, they sign up for websites with my email and their card details! I could have ordered myself a Nook with as woman’s money! As it stands, I reset the passwords to their accounts and removed their credit cards from the billing details. (There were two different names so I guess there’s at least 2 women who think my email is theirs.)

              3. Lindsay*

                My last name is Johnson and I get other people’s stuff all the time. There seem to be two main offenders – one in Florida and one in California. I was even getting email forwards from one if their families for awhile.

              1. Kay*

                I have my first initial, my middle initial, and my lastname at gmail, so if my name were Anne B Ears, the email address would be abears. (Name completely fictional.)

                There is a woman out there whose name is, in this analogy, Anne Bears, and I know when she got married (wedding registry e-mails), that she is expecting (Babies-R-Us registry e-mails), and all the details of her mother’s vacation photos and health because these people WILL NOT STOP sending e-mail to my address (she is actually a teacher and her actual e-mail is “abears” one of those accounts). For the first year I tried writing back to the personal ones with “You’ve got the wrong person, please stop contacting me” but that was three years ago and after that I started marking them all as spam. People really need to be more careful what they type where.

                1. Jen in RO*

                  3 years! Wow, I’ll never complain about my Jennifers (details in comment above) again, I only get a mail a month for them.I didn’t think this was so common!

                2. SevenSixOne*

                  Ha, my primary email address is (for example) MargeSimpson@gmail, but I also snatched up MarjorieSimpson, MargeBouvierSimpson, SimpsonMarge, MSimpson, and every other variation I could think of and had them all forwarded to the main address.

                  I was hoping to avoid emails like you’re describing, but I STILL get them.

            1. Meg Murry*

              I’ll admit to having gotten my email addresses mixed up, because my gmail account is meg.middleinitial.murry @ gmail , while my work email is meg.murry @ company without the middle initial, so its really easy for me to mistype it and I always have to double check that its correct. I’ve sent meg.murry @ gmail an apology for getting mixups, and let her know that if she ever gets email from people with [very unique lastname A] or [another very unique lastname B] its my parents and family and I’m sorry.

              1. A Bug!*

                Yes, absolutely. My ISP e-mail is, but when I signed up for Gmail someone already had taken it. So I tried it without the period, no dice, my full first name, nope, and finally had to start bringing in my middle initials. By the time I found an unoccupied version of my name I had brought in both my middle initials so it’s (A Big Damn Bug, at your service!)

                Because I don’t enter that e-mail in many forms I always worry that I’ve got the wrong iteration of my name, and have to go sign into Gmail to double-check it out of worry that I’m signing a stranger up for all the egregiously nasty mailing lists I like to peruse at work.

                1. Josh S*

                  FYI — GMail ignores dots in the local portion of the address, so
                  A.Bug (at) gmail is handled/delivered to the exact same person/address as ABug (at) gmail.

                  You can also add ‘Address Tags’ to GMail addresses. So if you typically wanted to use ABug (at) gmail, but wanted to put a different email on the AAM blog for the sake of avoiding spam, you could do ABug+AAM (at) gmail, and it would be delivered to you.

                  It’s a good way to find out who is selling your email or using it for spam or has bad security on their customer/user database, and it makes it easier to filter those out. If, somehow, Alison decided to start sending spam (NEVER!), you could automatically send all email sent to ABug+AAM (at) gmail direct to the trash bin without ever hitting your inbox.

                  GMail has so many useful tools!

                2. Anon*

                  I’ve apparently worked in hospitality/resorts for too long … I read “abdbug” as “a bed bug”

                3. Weird Name*

                  Yes! Those of us who have suffered for years with strange unpronounceable names finally get our day! This is the ONLY instance in which I am happy to have an uncommon last name…so no one ever has my firstname.lastname as an address (not to date anyways). It is kind of a running joke in my family of who can get the first, as it is only ever us who wants them….

              2. Rana*

                This. My usual preference is some variant of firstnamelastname, with or without a middle initial, but Gmail already had users with those variants, so I ended up as lastnamefirstnamemiddleinitial@gmail, and I always have to stop and think about whether it’s correct or not.

                (I have a gmail account for generic professional stuff, a domain email for things related specifically to my freelance business (like my WePay account), an email through my service provider for personal stuff, and a Yahoo! account for things on the internet that don’t fall into one of the above categories, or when I want to stay relatively anonymous. Yes, I am a bit of an email slut. Don’t get me started on all the social media platforms I have profiles on…)

            2. Natalie*

              My primary email address is firstname.middlename @ gmail and I keep getting someone’s dunning notices from Sprint. Apparently they don’t generally pay their bills on time, probably because they’re not getting their reminders!

              1. danr*

                Guess there is much to be said for adding a number to the gmail name.
                I used to get some interesting emails at my old firm for the other ‘dan’, since I was usually first in the autocomplete queue in outlook. (now there’s an email program to hate ). I was in IS, and he was in marketing and product development.

                1. Jen in RO*

                  Another coworker at my company has a similar name to mine, but not *that similar* (think Mary Johnson and Mary Jansen). I get her emails all the time, but that’s somewhat understandable, since we work in a multinational and I guess that for many foreign coworkers our names look identical. But a few weeks ago, on my birthday, I sent an email out to our local office… and 2 people walked to her desk and wanted to congratulate her! People, read the damn names!

            3. Samantha Jane Bolin*

              I had quite a bit of correspondence with a couple of recruiters once who were trying to schedule an accounting candidate for an interview. This happened twice. For whatever reason, she gave them my e-mail address: I’m sure she didn’t get those jobs.

              The most annoying thing lately are the Kmart receipts that I receive on a regular basis. There is no Kmart in my town……..

        3. ThatHRGirl*

          In my experience, it’s never actually their address… This happens a lot in entry-level/light manual labor positions where they think they’ll never need to communicate via email and just type something into the field.
          Then later in the process when I’m trying to send them documents and links via email as part of the hiring process, it becomes an issue :-/

      2. KayDay*

        Someone once told me I must be, “like, an internet genius, or something” because my gmail is my real (and not very unique) name.

        But it’s also unfair to judge people for having email accounts that are not firstname.lastname(at)gmail as there are many other John Smiths and Sarah Johnsons who weren’t the first of their kind to get on gmail.

        1. Lindsay*

          Yes, my gmail is lastname.firstname.middleinitial because that was the first permutation I tried that wasn’t taken.

      3. Josh S*

        There *are* those of us who are early adopters of new technology and are always looking for (and signing up for) new and clever services. I’m one of them.

        GMail was introduced to the public in April 2004; I started using it in June 2004.
        Google+ was introduced June 28, 2011. I had an invite on June 29. (Both of those thanks to a close friend who works for Google.)
        Facebook launched in Feb 2004 to a small community, and to the general public in Sept 2006. They introduced personal URLs in late 2010. I was signed up for FB in early 2006, and had a personalized URL the day it was introduced. Etc etc etc.

        The point is, as an early adopter, I generally have my pick (or multiple picks) for user names and/or email addresses. I don’t choose to use Josh @ gmail (so NO, I did *not* apply for your company!) just because the overly simple email addresses tend to get spammed more than the more specific one that I use. But I certainly could have chosen it for many sites/email domains if I had desired.

        1. Piper*

          I do this, too. There are also sites you can go to and find all of the various social media platforms out there and then go and claim your unique user name on all of them (KnowEm, for example).

          Fortunately for me, I’m the only person with my name in the entire country (yep, for real), so I’ve been able to claim everything pretty easily, whether I’m an early adopter or not (which, typically, I am). I also dominate the first 20 or so pages of Google if someone searches for me, partially because I have a decent web presence and partially because my name is unique.

      4. Anonymous*

        Um, I actually have my full first name at gmail. No joke. I was lucky enough to get in during the invitation-only beta. It’s alarming that an HR person would automatically doubt my honesty before even checking to see if I could answer from that email address. Wow.

        1. ThatHRGirl*

          It’s not that I “doubt your honesty”, but I will ask if it’s an accurate address, because if you (general you) just typed in a fake address, it significantly impacts the hiring process because the system communicates with that email and requires log-on authentication, etc.
          If you say “Yep, that’s correct!” I’ll say “great!” and we’ll continue on, but 99/100 times I’ve asked that question, people have told me they just made something up because they don’t have email, can’t remember their email, or didn’t think it’d be important.
          Just a little perspective!

      5. Melissa*

        I got my pretty common first and last name – no numbers or symbols or middle initials – on gmail because I was one of the earliest gmail members, back when you still needed an invitation. I get misdirected mail all the time.

  3. kristinyc*

    I work in email marketing. There are definitely stats that indicate (in general, of course) that people using AOL/Hotmail/Yahoo may not be as technically savvy as people using Gmail based on web purchasing activity/email interactions. Gmail is more advanced than the other programs in terms of organizational capabilities (and is awesome!). Using a newer program like Gmail over say, AOL, also gives the impression that you’re more open/able to learn and adapt to new technologies. But honestly – if you’re on Reddit, you’re probably more technically savvy than the average person. Why hide it behind an outdated email address?

    It also varies by industries. If I were interviewing an email marketer who had an AOL email address, I would DEFINITELY ask about it in the interview. (I wouldn’t necessarily reject someone who is otherwise qualified over it, but I’d want to know why). Lots of other industries probably won’t care.

    Here’s a fun Oatmeal chart that seems fairly accurate:

    1. Josh S*

      Why hide it behind an outdated email address domain?

      Because when I sign up for most sites, I use my AOL address that I’ve had since 1993 (?? Sometime before I was a teenager anyway, not sure the actual year…but it ran on Windows 3.1, so around that timeframe). That way, if/when those sites send unwanted emails/semi-spam/spam, I don’t have to deal with them in my ‘real’ inbox. I just check through the AOL box, oh, once a week or so and delete all but the 3 or 4 emails that are actually halfway worth looking at. The other 300+ get unceremonially deleted.

      And that’s what AOL is good for.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        Exactly. I don’t have my aol address anymore. (Actually, it would be fun to see if pellinore3 at can be retrieved. I was a dork in hs, for sure.)

        But, I use my yahoo address. I have AND My linkedin is associated with my yahoo, because I have certain types of junk on yahoo, and other types of junk on my gmail. My email for important stuff goes to my address.

        It’s a PITA to dump an email address you’ve had for 10+ years. I have doctor’s offices, kid’s schools, old contacts, etc. who only have that one & I’m not sure who. It’s easier for me to keep all my email addresses than to shift to gmail-only to be “cool.”

        1. kristinyc*

          Oh, I know it’s hard to switch. I just got married and changed my last name, and I decided to wipe the slate clean with a new (also gmail) address, even though I had been using my old one since 2004 or 2005 (whenever Gmail started). It’s taken forever to switch things over, but it’s given me a chance to clean everything up and only sign up for retail emails that I actually want.

          And FWIW it’s worth – Gmail is amazing and way more powerful than the other platforms. We’re not all recommending it because it’s trendy or cool – we’re recommending it because it’s better.

          Josh – A lot of people use their old email addresses as a throwaway for junk email. And that’s fine. But wouldn’t it make more sense to just have one gmail account with filtered labels for your other stuff (and I know you know how to do that!)

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I have gmail, too. I don’t particularly care for it. Just a matter of personal taste, not because I’m a luddite. I have had personal websites & other email addresses with my own domains a few different times, too.

            1. Chinook*

              I have to agree withyou on that. I have a gmail account that I opened 3 years ago and a yahoo account from 9 years ago. Also, I don’t like how gmail is set up despite trying really hard to like it. It just doesn’t allow me to organize it how my brain likes things organized. I am not a luddite but I do like my tools to work with how I think instead of having to change how I think to suit the tools.

              Also, yahoo address has my complete name and the gmail has a number added to it, so I prefer to use my yahoo address for professional reasons.

              I do question, though, people who change their email addresses every few years for the next “bright shiny” domain. I am gathering they don’t move much or change phone numbers often? My email address is the only contact info that hasn’t changed over the last 9 years and it would take them shutting the site down for me to stop using it.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                The other reason I keep using my ancient email is because I can always remember my email address to retrieve access to a particular website. I had an Intuit account once that was associated with another email (personal domain), and I screwed up and shut-down that email before changing the contact email on Intuit. What a pain to fix!

                I also had to use my iTunes user name for the first time in, oh, 3 years the other day & it was nice to know I could just retrieve it through my trusty yahoo email.

              2. Oxford Comma*

                I have 3 email accounts (work, personal, internet purchases/registrations). Lord knows I could have more because it seems like most services offer them. I have a very hard time keeping up with those 3. It’s not because I’m a luddite. It’s not because I am behind the times. It’s because I have so much to keep track of and the email (and work) never stops coming. When I’ve had to change that email addy for whatever reason it’s invariably resulted in me losing touch with people and opportunities.

                Unless an applicant has some remarkably tacky or unprofessional sounding email name, I do not care what domain they use. Most of the resumes/cvs we get list people’s technical expertise. That to me is far more indicative of someone’s technological abilities than whether they have a gmail or an aol account.

              3. Ellie H.*

                I really hate gmail. I don’t like the way it is organized. I find it visually unpleasant, not very intuitive, difficult to figure out how to do the things I want, and I think it has a bad user interface. I’m well aware that I am very much in the minority on this, but it’s how I feel. I’m a diehard Outlook enthusiast – I feel like Outlook is an extension of how my brain would organize things naturally, and I can do literally anything I would ever want to do with email.

                1. Melissa*

                  That’s really funny because I feel completely opposite. I think Outlook is clunky, unintuitive, slow and difficult. But I am a diehard Gmail enthusiast who got my account shortly after the beta launch in 2004,

          2. Josh S*

            I have multiple linked Gmail accounts (5, including 3 Google Labs personalized domains…in before they started charging!) and use LOTS of filters & labels.

            Still, I sign up for stuff, or buy things through esty or Woot! or other online marketplaces, or sign up for freebies from CPG companies like Kraft or P&G, or use multiple email addresses/accounts to score multiple Groupons for great deals that I’ll use, or have to sign up at annoying sites for my market research stuff, and I use my AOL address because I *know* that all of those things will result in receiving a lot of marketing emails that I don’t care about and/or flat out spam. And sure, I could build filters for each of those scenarios, but it’s easier to just ‘filter’ by sending the crap to an email I don’t care about in the first place.

        2. JessA*

          I have had the same personal email address from mindspring / springmail since 2001. Remember several years ago when cell phone users were finally able to take their cell phone number with them when they went to a new provider and what a big deal it was that they could keep the same number forever? That’s why I have kept the same email address. Granted, I do have a couple gmail accounts for different things, but I have been using my springmail address for job hunting. I guess I will update my resume and start using my gmail address for all things job related.

        3. Rana*

          Agreed. I have four different addresses currently active right now (though I’m thinking I may have to bite the bullet and change my oldest, because at this point over two-thirds of the messages in it are spam).

  4. jennie*

    As a recruiter I don’t like to see graduates with post-grad work experience still using their college or university email address on their resume.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit*

      Really? That’s never fazed me. Someone RIGHT out of college I might worry about because of the small concern that they’re not checking it anymore and accidentally left it on their resume.

      1. jennie*

        I mean people who graduated a year or two ago and have been in the workforce since then, if that was unclear.

          1. Rana*

            Yes. My college gives alumni a unique forwarding address upon graduation, so you can use it as a permanent address. It’s pretty nice; I use it for things where I expect to be in long-term contact (like financial services) and set it to pass along messages to whatever mail address I’m using currently.

            I’d probably use my gmail address in a job search setting, though; part of the value of the forwarding address is that it’s currently spam free, due to my being very careful about whom I share it with.

    2. Frances*

      These days most colleges and universities allow their students to keep their email addresses for life — which makes those addresses far more stable than one with whoever is providing their internet service at home. Also many schools contract with Google to run their addresses through the Gmail platform, so a student may not feel the need to get a separate gmail address.

      1. S.L. Albert*

        Exactly. My school e-mail address is mine for life and is run through Gmail (with a platform I actually like loads better than regular Gmail). I have a regular Gmail account with a variation on my name, but since I have a common first name last name pairing (apparently) it got a little mangled. All of my stuff gets forward to the my school address, which is my main account.

    3. KayDay*

      A lot of colleges keep those email accounts open (or move them to a @ .edu account) for the very purpose of being used as a “professional” job searching email address. I know a few people who use that account exclusively for job hunting.

      1. jennie*

        Hmm.. interesting. My first thought is always that they’re stuck in the past and/or that they’ll be harder to get in touch with.

          1. Anonymous*


            The college I graduated from in the early ’70’s offered all their alumni permanent email addresses a few years ago so that we could keep in touch (and so they could reach out and touch us for $$$). Behind the fancy address, it’s Gmail.

        1. Lora*

          I know loads of people who have the address because otherwise their MIT/Harvard/Yale degree is on, like, page 3 of their CV where you might not notice it, but having an elite degree is often a prerequisite in some organizations.

          Coming from TinyPrivateU and HalfDecentU for grad school, I have a different opinion, but it’s definitely a thing in certain companies–they won’t hire Nobel Laureates who don’t have the magical elite degree. *shrugs* Their loss, but I can see why my colleagues do it.

          1. Ali*

            My college closes our student e-mails six months after we graduate. But I guess that’s OK because I wouldn’t even remember my password anymore!

          2. Lily in NYC*

            I’ll be honest; I use my alumnus email address when job-searching for the exact reason you mention.

    4. Jane*

      I, too, find this strange, but I’m definitely interested in why you would feel this way. I’d love to hear more about this perspective.

      1. jennie*

        Could be one of those Canada vs USA differences. Here in Canada there’s not as much difference in prestige between universities, at least for undergrad.

        It just seems weird to me though to use a school email when you’re not in school. Similar to using your dorm address as your mailing address when you don’t live there anymore.

        1. Chinook*

          Unless, of course, you go to St. FX out east, but then they just flash the ring and alumni can spot each other across a crowded room. (saw this half jokingly and half in awe of the power of “the ring” in job interviews)

        2. Rana*

          I’d say a better analogy would be keeping your cell phone number as you move, even though the area code is the one for your hometown rather than the place you live in now. The convenience of having a stable way to reach me – especially since I’ve moved about ten times in as many years – far outweighs anyone’s opinion about whether I’m “stuck in the past.”

          1. Jessa*

            Exactly. I have the same number I’ve had for nearly 15 years on my cell phone. Everyone of any importance at all (be it family, business acquaintances, whatever,) has that number. I have relatives all over the world who are of an age that “remember a new number,” is out of their mental abilities.

            I finally got a gmail account because I needed one for my android tablet. I hate it. I don’t use it for anything. I’ve also got a couple of AOL addresses, because I still use AIM to talk to certain friends.

            This does not mean I have no idea of the current state of computers or modern technology. I’ve been working with computers since punch cards. I learnt to deal with cards before I learnt to write properly.

            The only reason I wouldn’t use my AOL address for a job app is because it’s NOT a “myname@” kind of thing.

            On the other hand the myname@cableco is perfectly useful for my resume.

      1. Josh S*

        I use the to get student discounts if/when I ever have to buy additional licenses for Microsoft Office Professional products (which are filthy expensive for a freelancer like me).

        1. Lore*

          Also, I wasn’t able to join my university’s LinkedIn alumni networking group without supplying a university alumni email address (I guess it’s the fastest way for them to verify that someone is a legitimate alumnus). It’s not my primary address, but if I were networking through the group I’d certainly use it.

    5. Joanne*

      It never occurred to me that people would think of it that way. I use my undergrad account, because my grad school only lets you keep yours for a little while after graduation, and it even still has my maiden name instead of my married name. I guess I always figured people didn’t really care, as long as it wasn’t outrageous. Seems like a weird thing for me to be judged on, but hey. Good to know.

    6. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I’m currently hiring for a job that requires a JD, and a very large proportion of the applicants are using their school emails; I think that career service offices in universities might be recommending that students use it, so just a caution about judging on it!

  5. Coelura*

    On the other hand, I’m not about to change my email address or create a new one when I’ve had the same address for two decades. I realize that its an older domain, but I prefer the consistency. If a hiring manager is going to ding me because I choose to keep the same email address for years, just like I’ve had the same cell phone number since 1986, then I probably don’t want to work for that person.

    1. Sandy*

      I had a non-professional email address when I was looking for work and I wanted to get a more professional sounding email, but I also didn’t want to change all of my email addresses for everything else, so I just created a new email address (first initial last name @ and then had it auto forward all the email from that new address to my less professional one (ie: So I still received all the email from the new professional address, but I didn’t have to change anything or check two email accounts.

    2. Seal*

      Why not get a Gmail address just for job searches? That would allow you to keep your other email address for person use. As an added bonus, it would keep your job search responses separate from your other messages.

      1. K*

        Or you can forward it to the e-mail address you actually check so you’re only checking one mailbox. Either way, not a huge hassle.

        1. Jen in RO*

          Yep, I have two address: one I actually use (, and an “official” one ( The official one is redirected to the regular one, and I only need to log into the official one once in a blue moon for sending an e-mail.

          1. S.L. Albert*

            If they’re both gmail, you can actually link your accounts and do dual log-in. Your nickname account could be your primary, and you basically just selected a different account from a drop down list if you want to send from a different account.

            1. Jen in RO*

              Oh, that’s what it’s supposed to work like? I linked them several times, but it looks like the setting doesn’t stick….

            2. Min*

              That’s what I do, but the problem is that it doesn’t always show as from the secondary account.

              I have firstname.lastname@gmail linked to my primary account and it has caused confusion when I reply to people using the drop-down box.

              Depending on what email service is being used by the recipient, it sometimes shows as being from firstname.lastname via

          2. Coelura*

            The problem is that when I send out an email from the primary account, it lists both the “official” address & the primary address on the sent from line. Then the recruiter or hiring manager will see the @yahoo address anyway.

            So if I do this, I would need a separate account that I can use just for job hunting. What a pain!

              1. Min*

                It has happened with my linked gmail accounts. As far as I can tell, it depends on the recipient’s email.

      2. Sascha*

        I really like having a separate account because my main account gets a lot of spam. I’ve had several recruiter and hiring manager emails end up in my spam folder, especially after submitting online applications. My “job search” account is a lot cleaner and easier to manage.

      3. koppejackie*

        This is what I do. Although I’ve used my personal email account and have landed jobs. But that was six years ago…things (and judgments) have changed A LOT in that short amount of time.

      4. Jubilance*

        That’s what I did – created a Firstname.MI.Lastname email account in Gmail strictly for job hunting. It also helps in that I can keep my professional & networking contacts separate from my personal contacts that use my older email account.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I feel the same way. I personally feel it’s ridiculous to judge someone based on an email domain. Like you, I see no need to change something I’ve had for 10+ years. If my email address was, and not, I could see being judged. But otherwise, who cares?

    4. The Other Dawn*

      OK, my previous comment disappeared for some reason.

      Anyway, I agree that with Coelura. I think it’s ridiculous to judge someone and draw conclusions about their comfort with technology based on their email domain. I’ve had my older domain address for 10+ years and see no reason to change it. If I used “stoned247” rather than “jsmith@”, I could see making a judgement. But not for an older domain. Who cares?

  6. Esra*

    Another issue is Hotmail/Yahoo’s likelihood of getting hacked and sending out spam. Gmail is a bit more secure.

      1. AG*

        Seriously. I get tons of these from friends with Yahoo/Hotmail. If I were a recruiter I would be annoyed to get spam from an applicant!

        1. Esra*

          My yahoo/rogers got hacked just recently and it just went out to a couple people who’ve emailed that account. It would’ve been mortifying if I’d applied to jobs with it and then they got spam from me.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Ugh, my old earthlink account spammed the recruiter that got me my current job. To add insult to injury, it spammed her with an ad for a fake job so I was worried she thought I really sent it to her (since it was job-search related). Mortifying.

    2. Kelly O*

      I’m certainly not the IT person in the family, but I do notice a lot “phishing” in general from Gmail than from either Yahoo or Hotmail (my two alternate emails.)

      Granted, I do not use Yahoo for anything except junky stuff anymore, and I go in every few months and dump it out. I have the Hotmail/Outlook account because a former employer used MSN messenger, and I grabbed a variation on my name. I check it sometimes too, but again, it’s mainly just for things I don’t necessarily want in my main email account.

  7. Bluefin*

    I don’t do any hiring, but in general, hotmail and AOL definitely come across as dated to me [AOL still exists?!? Do you have to pay for it?]. I have one friend who still uses hotmail and it makes sense to me because she doesn’t use technology all that much; she doesn’t own a computer or a smartphone, and only checks email once every couple of months. So yeah, at least at a personal level, I would say that there are some judgments that go along with using those domains.

    1. DB*

      I have a hotmail address and I’m the network admin at my company. I’m on the computer, smartphone, VPN, and iPad all the time. And I check my email frequently throughout the day. One of our execs has a personal AOL email and he’s tech savvy. He doesn’t change it because he’s had the address for many years. I just don’t see why people should judge someone based on that.

    2. Josh S*

      A) Yes, AOL still exists.
      B) No, you do not *have* to pay for AOL email or their web-news (including Patch, the hyper-local news site), though you *can* still pay for a subscription to use them as an ISP. (Why anyone would pay to use dial-up in these days is beyond me, but diff’rent strokes…)

      1. AnotherAlison*

        You do realize not everyone has broadband access. : )

        I have broadband via microwave radio service. (Surprisingly fast). I’m lucky. I live in the country and this type of broadband just happens to be available for rural customers in my area. I don’t have cable access, so my other options are expensive and limited satellite or dial-up. I can’t even get DSL over my AT&T service.

        1. Josh S*

          That’s true, I suppose.

          But aren’t there a variety of dial-up ISPs that don’t charge for monthly access?

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I don’t know. I haven’t had dial up since the 90s, so I’m not sure how it works these days. Only moved to the country a few years ago.

        2. KellyK*

          Yeah, my parents are stuck with dial-up, unless they want to pay a ton for satellite. I’d never even heard of broadband via microwave radio…will have to see if it’s available in their area.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            Mine is through a small provider & the only way I knew about it was from my neighbor. I checked with all the big local providers (cable, satellite internet, satellite TV, phone) and no one knew what we could use in our area. Even googling local broadband internet providers didn’t list them in the results until I knew their name.

        1. Josh S*

          Honestly, it’s about the only thing that AOL has going for it these days. Patch accounts for about 25% of the company’s employees, and is one of the few areas actually growing at AOL. They don’t give revenue splits for Patch, but I suspect it’s pretty significant — likely much more than the 25% of employees.

      2. Rana*

        My website and primary emails are both through a service that was originally only dial-up based. I now access both through a regular internet connection, but in theory I could still use dialup to get to them, should I lose that connection. They provide really great service – drop them a ticket with a problem and they call you back within half an hour to fix it – and are fairly cheap, so I continue to use them as email and webpage host, even though I pay Comcast for general internet access.

  8. Macea*

    Man, I think that this one of the most stupid things to judge someone on. Who their email is with says nothing about them for example none of those above stereotypes are true with me.

    I am not old (28), I know how to use technology (I update my own blog, website, etc…), and for the less intelligent part I did graduate with honors from my college…

    I still use my aol email and I also use it when I apply for jobs . I have had my email since I was in elementary school and it was my first email too. Everyone knows my email address which is why I keep it and I do not want to keep making new emails addresses to keep up with what ever is coolest thing to have right now… My email address has a professional name to it too (which is funny since I made it in elementary school) so I plan on keeping it.

    1. B*

      This exactly!

      If you are going to ding me because I use hotmail then I respectfully say “shove it”. I have had this address for ages. I do not feel like recreating another email in the middle of my job search. Sure, I could forward everything to the new one but what if one doesn’t get forwarded? Are you willing to let me use that as an excuse? What about all of the resumes I already have out there? That means checking two email addresses. And then what if I reply from my gmail and not my hotmail? Will that be more confusing or put me out of the running? Or how about if I write a thank you from a different email than is on my résumé? Will you assume I didn’t write the thank you or that I am someone else?

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The thing is, though, that just like clothes, email addresses brand you to a certain extent. They carry certain connotations. And you might think that it’s ridiculous that an email domain does that, but it does.

      It’s a bit like saying “I’m not going to buy a new suit because I’ve had this one for years and it still fits, so screw you if you judge me for it” … while plenty of people are judging you for wearing a bizarrely outdated suit with shoulder pads and a little 80s-style bow tie. It’s just a reality of how you’re perceived. You can care or not care, but it’s a part of your image.

        1. Josh S*

          It’s a *part* of how you’re perceived. If you’re a good candidate in a non-techy role, I doubt it would make a difference. But if you’re marginal to begin with and they’re expecting someone to deal with online stuff (or even need someone who is basically tech-literate), it may cast you as the sort who can’t work a mouse.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        What’s weird to me is at most places you’re going to get a corporate email address. (I suppose there are the hipster startups that have everyone use gmail or whatever.) I assume most personal accounts are kind of afterthoughts, used for junk and getting emails from your grandma, dentist, and the occassional headhunter. Where 10 years ago I communicated with friends via email, now it’s mostly facebook or twitter. Any personal email address I have is kind of secondary & just not a big part of my daily communications. It’s not worth the hassle to update something that isn’t a huge part of how I present myself to the world.

        To me, it’s not like wearing a suit with shoulder pads, it’s like wearing a pair of 1980s high cut bikini underwear. Dated, yes, but not really important to the outside world.

        1. K*

          But if you had to put a photo of your underwear on your resume (in some dystopic hell scape world where such a thing is required), you probably wouldn’t choose your day-to-day ’80s-styled pair!

        2. Brightwanderer*

          Huh. I’m the complete opposite. I have never used a work address for any personal email at all. I use my personal gmail daily for communicating with friends, job hunting, etc.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            What I’m saying is I don’t use personal email that much, not that I’m getting personal email at work (except from my mom, which is an anomaly I can’t seem to fix.) My daily emails to my personal accounts are groupons, notices from my kids school, appointment reminders, etc. I just delete them from my phone 90% of the time. I’m using it like my regular postal mail: to collect junk. The important real communications from friends, family, etc. gets to me through other means.

            1. The IT Manager*

              Not that I am at all disagreeing with Alison, but my primary personal email (gmail) has become very irrelevent in the last year. I rarely hear from friends or family there any longer. Most announcements of what’s going on in their lives take place on Facebook and texting seems to take care of the rest of stuff people used to use personal email for.

              Most people I know are NOT using email to keep in touch (for personal business).

        3. Laura L*

          I almost never use my work email address for personal things for three reasons:

          1. Most companies keep records of email even if they never look at them.

          2. It changes with every new job.

          3. You shouldn’t job search using your current job’s email address or phone number (or anything else).

      2. COT*

        Exactly, Alison. In some jobs, managers aren’t looking for, “It’s been fine for the past ten years, so why bother to change?” They’re looking for people interested in progression and trying new things. Fair or not, a really old-school email address might give off a different impression. It might not be true of you at all… but then why not create an email address that sends the image you want hiring managers to have? What’s the harm?

      3. EM*

        I was going to say something similar. All the howling from the AOL users who insist they’re tech savvy sounds like the grumbling from people who refuse to dress up for interviews. It doesn’t have to be fair, and you don’t have to like it; you just have to accept the reality that people may form a perception of you based on your email address. It’s such a simple thing to fix that may increase one’s chances for finding a job, it seems silly not to do it just on principle.

    3. K*

      I think there’s a difference between judging someone for not keeping up with what’s coolest and worrying that they don’t know about new innovations in the field. If you’re applying for a job that is going to require that you be up on technology (which a lot of jobs don’t), then there’s something to be said for showing you’re not using what a lot of people consider to be outdated tech in your personal life either, at least not when upgrading is free. In really tech oriented jobs, this might even be a conscious judgment; in ones where it’s important but not a central focus, it might be a subconscious impression that will affect the interviewer.

      1. JT*

        Do we actually know that AOL email is “outdated tech”? What does that even mean? Mail doesn’t get sent reliably? It doesn’t get received?

        And the “upgrading is free” concept is the reason so much technology is sucky from a user perspective. It might be free in terms of paying cash, but it’s not free of other things (Google tracking your history when logged-in, needing to tell people you’ve changed your email address are two costs that come to mind off the top of my head. There are probably others).

        1. K*

          I don’t know about AOL specifically, but Yahoo and Hotmail are at least popularly thought to be much more vulnerable to hacking than gmail.

          I do know people who don’t use gmail for privacy reasons, but those people don’t use Hotmail or Yahoo either, which aren’t exactly stellar on that front. They use smaller domains with policies they believe in; those aren’t ones that are going to have negative stereotypes with employers.

          1. Chinook*

            I keep hearing how yahoo and hotmail get hacked. I have used both of these since 1997 and never been hacked. On the other hand, I like using Google to search and don’t like my email history influencing the searches. The only reason I use a gmail address is because the google calendar application is so much nicer and works more smoothly with my Blackberry Playbook (which I giess makes me a real luddite?)

            1. Rana*

              My Yahoo! account was once hacked, but it wasn’t Yahoo!’s fault; it was because someone hacked into the records at Gawker, and used people’s usernames and passwords to get into their email accounts. (I’ve since become much more careful about not using passwords for more than one account.).

          2. TL*

            I use a (professional-sounding) Yahoo e-mail address for job hunting, partly because it’s one I’ve had for a while, and also because I’m concerned about privacy issues with Gmail. Not because Yahoo is so much better on that front, but because I don’t want ALL my web activity (search history, maps, e-mail, etc.) in one place, so to speak.

            Looking over these comments, it seems that people are all over the map when it comes to making judgments based on e-mail domains, so I’m not greatly concerned. Honestly, if someone can look at my resume and cover letter, which show tech-savvy skills and achievements, and dismiss me simply because I have a Yahoo account, perhaps I’m better off not working for them; what other off-base assumptions would they make about me, and what opportunities might I miss due to their assumptions, if they have such a propensity for making snap judgments against the majority of the evidence at hand?

  9. EJ*

    It’s going to depend on the job you’re applying for. In the IT space, I would DEFINITELY not apply for a job with an AOL email address. Probably not a hotmail address either. The assumption is that tech-savvy users no longer use those providers.

    It is not difficult to set up another account and forward it to your AOL account if you’re that attached to it. Then again, if you’re not applying for a tech-related position, you might get away with it just fine.

  10. KayDay*

    I agree that it would be exceedingly stupid for an employer to reject you or take your email domain into account when making a decision, but it does impact someone’s first impression.

    If I get applications from someone who graduated in 1990 and was working in the mid-90s when AOL was cool, I’m probably not going to judge them for still using it (unless it’s for a social media or web marketing position). But if I got an email from someone who graduated college in 2009 with an AOL account, that’s going to be a little weird.

    Usually, the only emails I get from hotmail are spam, so if I get an email from a hotmail account I’m scared to open the attachments, and if the email is terribly written (“Sirs – the resume requested is attached hearwith.”) I’ll probably assume you are a spammer.

    1. B*

      So now not only do I have to worry about being perfect in all aspects I have to worry about this too?! And people wonder why job hunters are frustrated and want to throw up their hands and just give up. Perhaps it is because everything we do is scrutinized under the tiniest microscope humans can make and every company uses a different microscope.

      1. KayDay*

        Calm down, I’m trying to say it’s not a big deal (but it is a “little deal”). If you use a hotmail account, just be sure to write a nice message so I know your not a spambot.

    2. De Minimis*

      This brings up something I’ve been meaning to ask. My e-mail address is professional enough [and is Gmail] but since using my first initial/last name was “already taken” I ended up using the last two digits of my birth year. As I get older, I start to wonder if maybe this isn’t such a good idea to basically tell how I am in my e-mail address. I’m not currently job searching, but would it be wise to eventually get a new e-mail address/account?

      1. fposte*

        If you’ve got gmail, it’s easy to create a linked account as discussed above. I don’t know how much of an effect your scenario would have, but if you just use a linked account with a new address you can know for sure that it didn’t have one.

        1. A Teacher*

          My gmail has been hacked, twice, in the last year. I do prefer to use it for professional reasons but I also have the same because I’ve had it as long and it doesn’t get hacked and have found myself using AOL more frequently because of this.

            1. A Teacher*

              Except that’s an annoying extra step that I don’t want to have to deal with…maybe it is lazy but maybe employers just need to get over the @whatever…Handles matter more than the @whatever, at least from the hiring committees I’ve been on in my fields of study.

              1. EM*

                Yeah, sometimes it is annoying, but you only have to do the text message thing once on each device you log in to, so unless you regularly use public computers, it’s not something that you have to do repeatedly. I’m sure it’s much less convenient to deal with the fallout from being hacked.

                1. Chinook*

                  I find that I have to redo the text message thing for my gmail after I do a clean up of my web history and cookies.While I like the extra security, it is annoying.

              2. Andy Lester*

                Here are some other things that are annoying: Locking the front door of your house; washing your hands after going to the bathroom; putting on your seat belt.

                Fortunately, unlike those other annoying things, 2-factor authentication isn’t something you have to deal with every day. It’s more on the order of once a month.

      2. DA*

        You may want to change to a firstnamelastname, firstname.lastname or firstname_lastname instead. I’ve found that adding numbers to the email address just makes it clunky in general.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Great advice to those of us with top-5 most common last names. I’d LOVE to have my real name without any added numbers or my middle name, but it’s never been possible.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              I’ve done it all. My name is extremely common – 3 of us at my GYM. My first name shortens to Ali or Al – also common when combined with my last name. My last name doesn’t shorten well, professionally. I defaulted to firstmiddlelast at for all my accounts – fb, twitter, etc. because that allowed me to use a consistent handle that is always available. Even myname### is often taken, as is nameinitiallastname, and I end up with something ridiculous like 45967 tacked on the end.

              My only complaint is my handle is 15 letters long.

              Sorry. That’s it for my common name rant for the day!

          1. bluefin*

            I have a very popular first-last name combination. It took me forever but I finally found a combination using just 1st & last name that was available for gmail and yahoo. I used: firstxlastname. I figured the x could be seen as a delineator, like the usual dash, or dot (which were never available for me). It might work for you if you don’t mind using the “x”.

        2. Kay*

          In GMail, periods don’t count. (Underscores do.) So john.smith at gmail and johnsmith at gmail are the same account, as are john.q.smith and johnqsmith.

          (I write mine on my resume as initials.lastname because it’s more readable, but I just use initialslastname when I sign up for sites or enter it into forms because it’s easier. Both get to me perfectly well.)

          That makes it easier for account owners but harder to come up with an e-mail address if you’re the 900th John Smith to try to get one.

      3. Josh S*

        While it probably doesn’t hurt you to have your birth year, it might be worth getting a second Gmail that forwards to your primary one. So alongside FirstInitial.LastName.BirthYear you could get FirstName.LastName or FirstName.MiddleInitial.LastName or some similar combination and just have it forward/dual sign-in to your primary one.

        It’s very little effort to do, and if it reduces your anxiety about someone catching your age and being biased for whatever reason, I’d say just do it. :)

        1. KayDay*

          If someone has numbers in their email address, it’s probably because just their name was already taken. So I don’t think there are many people out there who have the option of changing their email address from Larry.Page20.3(at)gmail to Larry.Page(at)gmail

          1. De Minimis*

            I may set something like that with the middle initial up at some point. Of course, people with lengthy first and/or last names will end up with a cumbersome e-mail address [which is a pain when you need to tell someone your e-mail address over the phone or something.] My name is not really that long, but it sure seems that way when I have to give my e-mail out over the phone.

            1. Meg Murry*

              then try first initial middle initial last name @ gmail (fmlast @ , for instance) – I would still consider that to be “professional” without being overly long. Just make sure it doesn’t spell anything strange, especially if your middle initial or last name starts with a vowel.

              1. Natalie*

                Even if it does spell something weird, Gmail doesn’t count periods as part of the email address – janelsmith @ gmail and jane.l.smith are considered the same address. You could drop some periods in to break up any odd words.

      4. The IT Manager*

        I’d say I’m moderately tech savvy, but I don’t (didn’t) assume the number in a person’s email address meant their birthyear (unless written as 19xx).

        I am personally fond of 1013, 13, and 42 for reasons having nothing to do with my birthdate. “42” is very popular for obvious (geeky) reasons so very commonly used ass on.

        If you’re worried, create a new email address with another number that can’t be taken as the birth year of an “old” person.

      5. Rana*

        I don’t know that if I saw something like RanaRavens70@whatever I’d assume that the 70 was a birth year, because I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that. I’d be more inclined to interpret it as a graduation year (worse!) or a sign that there were an awful lot of people with that same user name.

  11. KLB*

    I do still have an AOL account (I’ve had it for 20 years) so I’m loathe to give it up, as most people know me online from that account. However, when I was in job searching mode, I only used my gmail account, as the AOL domain can be embarrassing.

    1. Ash*

      What’s the difference between Yahoo and Hotmail? One belongs to a failing, near-bankrupt company and the other to a large, thriving corporation.

      1. khilde*

        For some reason I feel the same way. I had a hotmail account in high school and college. Got a more professional yahoo account post college (this was before Gmail). But Yahoo feels a bit better than Hotmail. I think it might have something to do with the fact that when I was in college, I told someone my hotmail address and they said “HOTmail?!” like it was some kind of adult-themed email account. That sort of made me feel dirty about the whole thing. Odd.

        1. Ash*

          Yes, that is incredibly odd.

          I’d personally recommend Gmail because I’ve never heard of someone I know having their account hacked. But my mom had an MSN account that was hacked, a friend with a Hotmail account was hacked, and another friend with a Yahoo account was hacked three times to date.

          1. khilde*

            Ha! Sorry I meant my original reply to go to Marie….but I suppose I don’t disagree with you, either.

            I think I may have a gmail account but don’t use it much. Might have to check back into it as it’s been so highly recommended. Come to think of it, my Yahoo account was hacked, too. I don’t use that one much either – just as a junk email address to sign up for stuff. But still.

          2. Sissa*

            I’ve had my Gmail account hacked for the same (stupid) reason as a lot of those people using Yahoo or Hotmail: using the same username and password combination on multiple websites. That is the most common reason why you get your account hacked, but as per stereotype, Gmail users KNOW that the more you use the same password between different services, the more likely it is to get picked up by a keylogger and grabbed.

            And then there are security issues and password leaks, but those are usually widely announced and the service providers either recommend or force their users to change their passwords, in which case the situation is (usually) under control much faster. What do we learn from this? Change your password once every 2 or 3 months. It’ll keep you safer. :)

  12. dude00*

    I’ve had every email provider under the sun at one point, but used Yahoo as my primary provider for about 10 years. I even purchased their $20/yr premium membership to ax the ads and provide additional services. All until last year, Yahoo stopped sending emails out if I attached anything to them. ALL my applications send via email never were sent, and I had NO idea! It wasn’t until a friend requested I send them my resume so they could forward it for me to their company that I realized this. I joined Gmail and haven’t looked back since (although I did set up a forward service so that I didn’t have to chance my email for websites that I’ve set it up with years ago.)

    1. Sissa*

      Ax which ads? Ads on their website? If so, you should install a free Ad Blocker extension in your browser and save that 20 dollars for something nicer.

  13. VictoriaHR*

    As a recruiter, I don’t give a hoot about what domain someone’s email account is set up on. I *do*, however, see lots of stupid handles. Just the other day, I had to gently advise a job seeker that, especially with the marijuana charges in her past criminal history, she may want to rethink having an email address with 420 in it.

    (FWIW, I use Yahoo for everything)

    1. khilde*

      I’m sure those who have been hiring for a long time could totally outdo me on this one, but the funniest one I ever saw was “FuzzyButt@…..” I was helping my commander in the Air Force hire a new admin for our office. We were looking through apps and came across this one. I can still see him giggle – he was this short, firecracker, Italian F-16 fighter pilot. He giggled over that one for weeks. Thinking about it now cracks me up……

  14. Nyxalinth*

    I have a yahoo email. It never occurred to me that it could be an issue. So many silly, nitpicky things screwing over job hunters these days. I see the reasoning behind it, so while I still think its silly, I will go along with it and get a gmail account for sending off resumes. I just never bothered with gmail because I didnt think it mattered, not because I was an older job seeker becoming a Luddite :P

  15. macmaxbh*

    Hotmail users can upgrade (for free) to and get a new email address which they can use to send and receive mail from their current account. I haven’t heard about a stigma against addresses yet (what do others think?).

    Instructions here:

    Disclosure: I’m an engineer on the Hotmail/ team at Microsoft (which is why I know about this).

    1. -X-*

      Yeah. I got an address with my real name as soon as I could. I missed doing that with gmail which was a little annoying (my name is not super common, but not rare).

      For job-related stuff I use where realname is my own full name.

      I have to mention that while an AOL address might make someone appear older, I have know some very very accomplished people (yes, older – 40 to 5os) with AOL addresses. They’ve had an email address for a long time, other people know that at their address, so they see no need to change. I respect that. I know a person worth at least $200 million who still uses a mindspring address. Another person who played in a huge rock band who has used AOL forever.

    2. mel*

      Indeed! It’s funny – outlook is more recent than gmail, but hotmail users are somehow the ones that look computer illiterate.

      1. Apostrophina*

        I wonder if the idea is that a Hotmail address is something you may not have had to put thought into since the ’90s, but an address would mean you were familiar with newer types of webmail (and, by extension, maybe other new things out there re: computers)?

        At any rate, I hope Outlook webmail doesn’t attract stigma: it’s the first service where I’ve been able to get some version of my real name!

        1. mel*

          Ooh me too, I barely got mine but no numbers for me, yes!!! Haha. They even let me have my full name which, in 2002, was often caught by their swear filters somehow.

    3. Anonymous*

      I’m also interested in early opinions about the new Outlook email domain. I signed up already and was able to get my first choice of email handles. Worth a try, I guess.

    4. Lindsay*

      This is what I actually use for my job hunting/ professional communication now. I didn’t have hotmail, but I was able to snag firstnamelastname @outlook.

  16. Andy Lester*

    As I posted in the thread that I’m assuming OP is referring to, AOL/Hotmail might not hurt you, but it’s definitely not helping. Gmail is trivial to get, and there’s no reason *not* to.

    One of the other commenters summed it up best:

    I hire people and work through email almost exclusively. If I see that your name is @yahoo or @hotmail or @aol then I assume you don’t use computers often which is probably not the message you want to send. It’s a definite instant down vote in my head when I see it. Change to gmail.

    1. Joey*

      C’mon Andy,
      What if you just don’t like gmail? Or its too much of a pain in the ass to switch over? How do you conclude that people with non gmail accounts don’t use email often?

      1. Andy Lester*

        Nobody suggested switching your email addresses. I suggest you get an additional address that is nothing but job hunting. This also has the benefit of being clean and not associated with anything you might have done with your main email address.

        1. EM*

          All the talk of switching accounts has really confused me. You don’t switch e-mail like car insurance… You get additional ones. I have one for personal use, one for professional correspondence, a school e-mail, a work e-mail, one for online shopping, one on yahoo for playing games… It takes five seconds to get another e-mail.

  17. Josh S*

    Did we lose the little lines to the left of the comments, or is my browser not rendering something properly?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Is there a specific comment that should be showing up as a reply but isn’t, or are none of them showing up that way? (If the latter, it’s on your end; if the former, it’s on mine, so let me know!)

      1. Josh S*

        It used to be that all the Replies had a little grey vertical bar/line next to them (yours has a blue bar). It was helpful for following the threading of replies.

        Today, I see your blue bar/line, but none of the grey ones that used to be next to all the other commenters. And it looks like it’s gone from older posts as well.

        1. Josh S*

          NEVERMIND!!! It’s my own fault. I apparently changed the size/zoom of the page at some point, and it was no longer rendering the thin grey lines. Totally on my end.

          Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair

    2. fposte*

      I’m seeing them fine here, Josh. They only appear in comment replies, but not original comments–are you sure you’re checking the nested stuff?

      1. Anonymous*

        I see no vertical line on 1st tier comments, a blue line on 2nd tier (the first reply), and a faint gray line on the 3rd tier.

        1. fposte*

          The blue line is just an indication of the blog-owner’s posts. When she wants to be really intense she can box her response in blue.

              1. A Bug!*

                Especially because 90% of the time she only makes an originating comment because everybody needs to be yelled at at once.

  18. Chriama*

    This must be a cultural thing. Here in Canada I find that a lot of people use their ISP’s domain, like Shaw or Videotron. Interview attire and the actual email username show an understanding of social norms and standards of professionalism, so I guess that in the right context you could make the same argument for email domain. Overall, though, I think a conscious bias for something like that in any field indicates a poor hiring manager. On the principle of the thing I want to tell job seekers not to put up with this bs because anyone who “docks points” for that and disregards the actual contents of your cover letter & CV is not someone you want to work for. On the other hand, I acknowledge that no one wants to risk losing out on an interview for something so easy to do, and given the fact that a free domain like Gmail seems to be ranked “acceptable”, it isn’t unnecessarily marginalizing certain groups. On the (other) other hand, I would actively disagree with anyone who advises people to just buy a web domain. Unless you’re in a field where that is expected (in which case there had better be an actual site at that address!), such an expectation does impact groups like people with low incomes, and is inappropriate for hiring managers who truly want the best candidate

    1. -X-*

      “Overall, though, I think a conscious bias for something like that in any field indicates a poor hiring manager.”

      +1 to Chriama and SJ. At least for most applicants. If someone is in a business specifically related to the internet, I think having a proper domain name of your own is a plus.

  19. SJ*

    Wait. So hiring managers only have ten seconds to glance at your resume, but they have the extra time to ponder your email domain and come up with some idiotic impression of you? No wonder no one can find a job when these are the people who are hiring.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You guys are missing the point. It’s a little detail that contributes to an overall impression of you, just like way you laid out your resume or whether your used pink resume paper or the weird tie you wore to an interview. It’s naive to think that little details don’t add up to form an impression of you, even if you weren’t aware that email domain is one of those things. For people who are fairly computer and internet savvy, it is indeed one of those things.

      1. SJ*

        What about my address? Should I change that to look like I live in a hipper neighborhood? I’m 27 and use Gmail but this is honestly ridiculous to me.

          1. Lisa*

            but poses an interesting point. Applying to job in Boston when your address says Worcester might kill a candidate’s chances. Its an hour commute with no traffic on the busiest highway in the state.

            1. fposte*

              Right; similarly, we’ve talked about the problem of using an address from out of state (where “out of state” is beyond commuter territory).

            2. Lulula*

              However, in this case, it is a pragmatic filter – the one time I chose to do a crazy commute because I thought the job might be worth it and hey, so many other people spend half the day commuting, it became a huge issue and we ended up parting ways after only a few months. The owner/manager mentioned that her partner warned her in the beginning that my location could be problematic, but she chose to ignore that at the time. If she hadn’t, she might have ended up with a longer term/better hire (or not: she was pretty loopy in a number of other ways!). Point being, it’s a legitimate concern, even if a candidate enjoys spending 4 hours a day on the road. Now if the HR person/hiring manager has a bias against a particular part of town that is not due to logistics… you may not want to work for them anyway, and honestly is like wondering if you have the same name as their much-hated ex-boyfriend. Can’t address ALL potential personal issues, just have to do your best with what you can control.

              Email addy’s are obviously not the same in terms of having a direct impact on your job performance, but do become part of your overall “brand” (intentional or not). Myself, I wouldn’t worry much about the provider unless there were technical issues, as long as the first part isn’t ridiculous. Even if you are in a techy profession, you could end up dealing with someone who thinks Google is the Evil Empire and all gmail users are sheep who aren’t smart enough to realize the downsides of that service…

              (FWIW I did set up a Gmail acct for my “professional” email for various reasons, not least of which is that it just sounded more professional than the somewhat goofily-named services available at the time.)

          2. Nyxalinth*

            Well, to be honest I once did live in an area of Denver where if you went two blocks north you hit the dodgy area, and two blocks south the rent jumped from 500 a month to 800 a month. I found out that a friend of mine who lived a tad closer to the dodgier area was turned down for a job because the hiring manager thought only hookers and drug addicts lived there. It was kind of an odd area geographically, but come on.

        1. Hmm*

          It’s not a trendy thing. It’s not even gmail v. everything else. It’ s mostly thinking of people that use hotmail or yahoo, because they’re viewed as inferior providers (whether or not you agree that’s the case is irrelevant). This is especially true because the cost of switching is low. It’s like using myspace instead of facebook. It doesn’t cost anything to switch, and probably doesn’t have anything to do with your character, but if everyone else has moved on, why haven’t you?

  20. Joey*

    AOL maybe. But I could care less whether its hotmail, yahoo, gmail or whatever. That’s like dinging someone for not having the latest Android or iPhone.

  21. Lynn*

    I’m surprised at the posts arguing that your email domain “shouldn’t” count against you, because you’re smart and hardworking and up-to-date, and an AOL address doesn’t change that. Fair or unfair, everything about you that is visible contributes to an overall impression, and email is easy to change (or augment; you’re allowed to have more than one.) Like wearing a nose ring or a gigantic belt buckle and cowboy hat, it makes a certain statement which may not be the one you want to make when job-seeking.

    For a lot of people, certain email domains are associated with spam, scammers, and Fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd:fwd: hoaxes from great-aunts. Maybe that’s not fair, but there is that perception, based on getting a lot of emails from those domains in those categories. It’s just human nature to make associations over time based on experience. Why risk having that taint about you when it’s so easy to fix?

    1. -X-*

      My impression of AOL is either the person is old and clueless OR is older, has an extensive correspondence list, is very self-confident and accomplished, and doesn’t care what other people think due to that confidence.

      If I has hiring, those two things, as a *gross* generalization, make the person either less desirable or more desirable, but since it’s not clear at all I’d ignore the email domain. Maybe a clearly young person choosing AOL would be strange, but if the person is over the age of 40 I’m not sure what it reflects other than that’s they’ve been online a long time.

      As I’ve mentioned earlier, I know very accomplished people with “old” email addresses.

      1. Lynn*

        I know very accomplished, sharp people with “old-fashioned” email addresses too. No one’s saying they don’t exist. But ON AVERAGE, many people have noticed that emails from those domains tend to be MORE LIKELY to be either shady or sent by someone who is very uncomfortable with technology and not with-it in general. Neither of which is the greatest association when you’re looking for a job.

        I bet how much it matters varies a great deal by field and industry, which is why some of us are saying “OMG, there’s a *difference*???” and some of us are saying “OMG, you don’t see the *difference*???” I work in tech, and keeping one’s tech skills up-to-date is important, so yeah, an AOL address would have a slight unsavory whiff of “I don’t learn new computer stuff if I can possibly help it” where I work. (Unsavory to us only because constantly learning new computer stuff is basically a job requirement.) If we were hiring Outward Bound instructors or something, I can see where it wouldn’t matter at all.

    2. Joey*

      You know I bet there’s absolutely no validity to that assumption. Screw fair or unfair I’m more worried about hiring the best person period. And I can guarantee you if you ask the top performers of most organizations for their personal email addresses there’s going to be absolutely no correlation with performance.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        There actually is data backing up this stuff, re: the relative technological savviness of various email domain users — Kristin alluded to it above too. Maybe someone can find it and post it.

        And I’m not saying it’s a determining factor about a candidate — of course it’s not! — but certainly it’s a factor that contributes to an overall impression, just like an interview outfit would.

          1. Lulula*

            Ugh that makes me nuts – like how “no one uses email anymore”? I feel like some in the tech world are just looking for things to pass judgement on as passe…. See also: Reddit users ;)

            1. Laura L*

              What do kids use these days? Facebook? Text message? Tumblr?

              I still use email for personal things, but not as much as I did ten years ago. I text people if they prefer texting, but I dislike because it’s slower for me than typing.

              Mostly, I use Gchat. And Facebook.

  22. mel*

    I just don’t understand what the big dang deal is. I’m using the same hotmail account I got in 2002. Yeah, it takes five minutes to switch over to gmail, but I specifically don’t want to have a gmail address.

    I’ve already got two gmail accounts I have to switch between constantly (thanks to youtube) so I really don’t want a third. I like to stay signed in and I like to not be complaining about silly little things like all of my gmail friends do (where are my emails disappearing to? why are they grouped like this??).

        1. Al Lo*

          Me too! I specifically don’t use Outlook on my work email (a Google apps account) because after almost 9 years with Gmail, I can’t go back to individual emails for each reply. Threading is so much easier to deal with. I’d rather use the web interface than a mail client.

      1. Liza*

        Did you know you can turn the grouping off? I’m the last person to try to talk someone into using Gmail if they disagree with Google’s principles, but if threading is the only problem, it’s a fixable one.

        Gear icon near upper right corner -> Settings -> General -> Conversation view, choose “Conversation View Off,” then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save changes.”

        1. fposte*

          Yeah, I forgot that it had ever been there until this thread. I just disabled immediately upon its adoption. (But I get the point of people not wanting to use an interface to toggle everything it does off.)

    1. nonegiven*

      I’ve had my Hotmail address since the 90s and I was grandfathered in so I could still download it to Outlook Express for free when they started charging for that. So when I found out my ISP was bouncing a lot of my legitimate business mail as spam I switched to the Hotmail account as my main address. Seriously, bouncing credit card payment receipts and information emails from my bank while still letting through phishing email supposedly from the same bank, 2 bit small town ISP.

    1. fposte*

      Heh. As I said up top, I think that would be a great kitschy hipster email. You could also brag about your rotary phone.

      1. Eric*

        How about a rotary phone with Android installed? Then, we could check our WebTV email on our rotary phone.

        It’s a good thing that I’m an engineer and not in marketing because I have really bad ideas.

        1. Liza*

          How about an Android phone with an app that simulates a rotary dialer? I used to have one. Not very practical, but fun!

  23. ExceptionToTheRule*

    You know what’s a bigger annoyance than an AOL or Hotmail or Yahoo account? Applicants who don’t check their email daily. It’s great that you have an Gmail account. It’s not great that you didn’t respond to the email I sent you…

  24. ThursdaysGeek*

    I have my own domain and everything comes to the one inbox. While I was job seeking, I’d make up addresses for each job site I joined:, Now I can tell who is still sending me emails, and can keep trying to get back off their list. But, it also confused people when I got closer to talking to real hiring managers. Plus, I can’t easily send emails from all of those addresses, so subsequent emails would come from

    My ease vs their confusion: next time I’ll just use my name and hope I can figure out who sold my email address and how to turn off some of the spam.

  25. Jill*


    It certainly seems like this is a divided topic. I personally am wondering what the opinions are about, which is a branch of hotmail but sounds a bit more professional (i guess) than I prefer because of the layout and ease of use over — I have called a couple of my recruiter friends and hiring managers and the general conscientious seems to be if you aren’t using a childish/inappropriate handle they wouldn’t think twice about hotmail/yahoo/gmail.

  26. Judy*

    My parents are still using Juno. ;) And my sister, who is a doctor, is still using juno for her personal email, that has her maiden name in it.

    It’s actually surprising how many of the mothers of my girl scout troop use emails with what seems to be their maiden names in them. Mary Smith’s mom, Jane Smith’s email is JaneJones at whatever. Their Facebook names are Jane Jones Smith. Of our 8 girls, 4 of them are that way.

      1. Stephanie*

        I changed my gmail address when I got married, but I found that I need to keep my old maiden-name gmail forwarding to my current married name address because some of my family / old coworkers still send things to it.

    1. Andrew*

      You do realize that some women actually have the nerve to keep their name when they get married? And that some women actually (gasp!) haven’t married the father of their children? And that some women want to make it easier for childhood friends to find them on social media?

      1. Rana*

        Yup. Just because I get mail occasionally addressed to Rana Husband’sLastName doesn’t mean that’s actually my name.

      2. Judy*

        I certainly realize it. But I do have the signed permission slips and membership forms for these girls, so I know their mother’s legal names.

        1. Judy*

          And I don’t know if their parents are married, but I do know if the girls live with “both parents” and if they have stepparents. I was commenting on contact info in one form listing Jane Smith as the mother, living with the father, with her contact email being JaneJones. I know who I can release the girls to and who I can’t. (I also know that one of the moms that still has the maiden name in her email has a son in Afghanistan, so they’ve been married for a while.)

          1. Lore*

            It’s also not uncommon for women to use maiden names in their professional lives (especially if their career was established before they were married) and married names for family situations–so at their kids’ school, the couple is Mr. and Mrs. X, but in the office, they’re Mr. X and Ms. Q.

            1. Rana*

              Yes. If I had kids, I’d probably end up signing their permission slips Mrs. Husband’sName – even though it is NOT my legal name – just because I’ve heard enough stories about people being confused when children have a different name from their parents.

              1. Judy*

                Then you have some risks. Enrollment forms do not match your ID. You risk not being able to pick them up from an activity. When we go to council events, if a girl has to leave early, one of our adults takes them to the main checkout area, with our permission slip that notes the names of the people who can (or sometimes can’t) pick them up, and other adults handle the checkout. Same with the schools. You have to show ID and be listed in the child’s paperwork to pick up a child for a doctor’s appointment. You have to show ID and be on their background check list to enter the school building, if you’re going past the office, except for special programs, and I’ve generally seen “Officer Friendly” in the front hall on those days. Any time you enter the school building during the school day, and 30 minutes before or after, you have to show ID. And wear a temporary ID badge (sticker) with your name, photo and where you are allowed to go, if you go further than the office. They look at your ID, cross check to a background check list, then take your picture and print the sticker.

                We have 8 girls in our troop. 4 of the moms have (obviously personal) emails with what is most likely their maiden names, and the girls live with both parents. 1 set of parents are not living in the same place, so most likely divorced. 1 of the others seems to have kept their maiden name or the parents are not married, but the girl does live with both parents.

                1. Jamie*

                  I took my maiden name back after my divorce and had that for 4 years until I remarried and took my now husband’s name. So for the vast majority of my child rearing I have not had the same last name as my kids and it’s never been an issue even once.

                  It’s really common – and all forms that require a signature also have a “relationship” line as well. A mother by any other name still has to pay the school fees. :)

                  When they were small I didn’t care if their little friends called me Mrs. Kidslastname – because it didn’t matter and correcting small children from one easy to say name to something ethnic that even adults struggled with seemed pointless to me.

                  But I would never sign with a name that wasn’t mine – Judy is right and the records need to match.

                2. KellyK*

                  Yeah, I think if you want to be able to use both in a formal context, you need to have them both as your legal name. Like, your Social Security Card & driver’s license should say Jane Maidenname Marriedname or Jane Marriedname Maidenname.

                  I go by Kelly Maidenname Marriedname on Facebook, but everywhere else, it’s just the married name.

  27. Lanya*

    I have a Hotmail address, which I got in college and is like my “landline” phone number – it’s my primary personal email account.

    I got my Gmail address much later, and use it primarily for online account logins and communications with companies or prospective employers.

    But I have to say…I strongly prefer the layout and usability of Hotmail over Gmail. I just can’t get used to Gmail for whatever reason. So…if using my hotmail account makes me appear frumpy to my friends and family, I am completely OK with that!

  28. Omne*

    I’ve found that hosting sites like Hover work well. I’ve had several ISPs over the years but I’ve used a hosting site the entire time. My email is: “”. I set it to forward to whatever my ISP email address is. It’s about $20 a year or less and you can sign up for between 1-10 years at a time.

  29. Corporate Cowgirl*

    The BEST reason to use gmail is because I saw a job posting that stated that they do not always get the emails sent from aol or yahoo (not sure why). But, why take a chance.

    1. Rana*

      Yeah, Hotmail’s notorious for causing problems that way. Most college webmail programs I worked with blocked Hotmail emails by default.

  30. Lisa*

    if you are a systems admin and have an AOL email address, I am going to pause (if i notice) as whether to contact you. Your resume better be above average, otherwise – trash.

  31. Joey*

    For all those that think email provider matters are you basing it on anything real or is this just one of those gut feelings?

          1. Joey*

            If anything it correlates with age, but that’s never been a good indicator of how well someone will perform.

        1. Joey*

          If there’s some real research on it I’d love to see it. I can see that maybe it matters in tech, but for everything else? I have a really hard time believing that.

            1. Joey*

              You call that research? The sample is hunch users and the only thing it says is that more young people use gmail more, more old people use aol and more middle age use the others. Thats no surprise. It’s no surprise either that the younger you are the more you want the latest gadget. How does that equate to intelligence?

                1. Joey*

                  Regardless of the flawed research It doesnt show how email correlates to intelligence. Young? Yes. Want the latest gadget? Yes. That doesn’t mean the old guy with aol isn’t smarter than the young kid with the latest gadgets.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                There’s actual data out there somewhere. I’ve read it.

                That said, I’d argue it doesn’t matter. There’s probably no research saying that people who look slightly unkempt are worse employees either, but people still make judgments about it. It’s human nature.

                1. Joey*

                  Ah, but unkempt impacts the workplace. Your personal email address is about as significant as whether or not you have cable at home.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Okay, not unkempt then. Any of the other myriad things that people get judged on all the time: clothes, hair style, piercings, eye contact, overall presentation.

                3. fposte*

                  How about the OP whose husband was convinced his staying in his 1970s clothing meant he was a fashion plate?

        2. Andrew*

          “Gmail users are more likely to be tech-savvy, well-traveled and career-minded men with iPhones, whereas Yahoo! users tend to be overweight women who like spending time in pajamas with their families, according to a new study.”

          Junk science strikes again.

          1. Liza*

            So much for them! I’m a tech-savvy, well-traveled and career-minded overweight woman who likes spending time in pajamas with my family. And I have an iPhone and a Gmail account. (Actually I have a Yahoo account too, but I only use it as a spam trap.)

    1. jennie*

      Most of the people responding here that they still use hotmail or AOL are complaining about gmail’s layout or the hassle of switching. It’s not peer-reviewed research but it is a hint those users are not the most open to change.

      1. Joey*

        Changing for the sake of changing is pointless. Do you have gmail because its better? Is it really better or do you have it because all of the cool kids have it?

        1. Laura L*

          I have gmail because all the cool kids have it! :-)

          Or, rather, because they did, in college, when it was still in beta.

  32. Anonymous*

    “Gmail is the provider of choice for intelligent candidates who are computer savvy.” I don’t think this has been addressed yet in the comments: why the focus on Gmail being the only acceptable domain? I don’t get it.

    1. koppejackie*

      Probably because it’s the most recognizable. Notice we’ve been talking about the big players: Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, etc. Echoing many points above, you could also have your own domain name for an email address and it’s be equivalent to Gmail.

      I’ve also seen address name[at] I assume this is on par with Gmail. Same with or or whatever.

  33. JR*

    I think the nit pickers are missing the point AAM is making. It’s not a dealbreaker to have an older e-mail, but (as we all know) there are some really insane hiring managers that might see this and screen you out, or just form a (maybe untrue) bias because of it. You might argue “I would never work for a company that would deny me because of this!!!”. True. You probably don’t, BUT there are times when this insane hiring manager can get you into the door of an awesome company (and you’ll never have to deal with him/her again). Why is everyone calling AAM out on this? She’s giving you legit advice you help you with your job search. If you don’t want to update your e-mail, don’t and move on. Rant over.

    1. -X-*

      And I think some of the anti-AOL people are missing a point. It’s not like perfect spelling vs one tiny typo where at least we can say that one is objectively worse than the other. It’s a bogus concept where the impression may have no basis in reality. So paying attention (even subconsciously) to this impression may actually hurt hiring.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But you could say that about impressions based off of people’s interview outfits, or their grooming habits, or their pink resume paper.

        The reality is, this stuff all contributes to impressions about who you are. Whether it should or shouldn’t, it does.

        As I said in the original post: “No reasonable employer is going to reject you because of your email address’s domain, but it does contribute to an overall impression of you.” And that’s true of lots of other stuff too.

    2. Anon*

      Agreed. AAM isn’t saying she necessarily agrees with this – she is just telling us how it is. It’s true, people do judge you on this, and many other things. I changed over to Gmail for precisely this reason. In many areas of life, we just have to go with the flow.

      1. -X-*

        “In many areas of life, we just have to go with the flow.”

        We should try not to if we can afford it and the flow is wrong – otherwise we’re complicit in it. Wearing jeans to an interview is less respectful than wearing a suit, so the “flow” there has a basis in reality. So I’ll go along with that one.

        I’ll add that I’m frankly surprised by AAM’s position on this one when she said (IIRC) that the type of paper used for a printed resume doesn’t matter as long as it’s not too fancy. Whereas a number of people said that very thin paper gives a subconsciously poor impression.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit*

          Wait, why do you accept the social convention “jeans are disrespectful” and not the social convention “AOL email addresses are unprofessional”? It’s the same thing.

  34. LoneContractor*

    So interesting how people perceive things. I have a gmail address and an aol address and a yahoo address— my aol address is the oldest- I’ve used it for more than 25 years. Probably before some of you were born. Family friends and business contacts all know it. I know I can port my contacts and saved mail into gmail. But then I would have missed the email from a friend I hadn’t heard from for 10 years who only had my AOL account. All that being said- I use the gmail for professional contacts- just because of the perception surrounding AOL- or as I used to say America Online. :)

    1. Anonymous*

      I’ve moved a ton of times. I’ve switched phone numbers more times than I can count. But every single one of my friends knows that I will never willingly drop my AOL account, so if they want to reach me, they can always send me a note to that email.

      I used to use it for job hunting as well, since most of my professional contacts knew that it was my email, but since I’ve switched professions, I finally broke down and added a “” address to my life.

  35. Mike C.*

    I think that judging candidates by their email service provider is about as useful and professional as judging someone by their zip code or area code.

    Maybe we should start judging candidates by their cell phone provider or the car they drive. I’m one of those millenials who had early access to Facebook and Twitter and Gmail but unlike some I don’t see it as some mark of brilliance or talent but rather a recognition that I know people who are well connected.

    Which, by the way, doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to the workplace. No one cares, and no one should.

    1. Anonymous*

      I see your point, but most of the big email service providers under discussion (gmail, hotmail, aol, etc) are free. In my mind, zip codes, cell providers, and cars are all connected to money and that may not be a choice. But a free email provider? That’s a choice.

      And as another poster mentioned, security is a big consideration. Some providers have a really negative reputation. Even CNET warns about the vulnerability of Hotmail and AOL.

      1. Mike C.*

        Why is it that people always forget things like opportunity cost? It’s not free if I have to spend a bunch of time changing something that already works for me and my setup. So if I’m not gaining anything by changing, then I’m wasting resources to appease people who are a poor judge of character. What does that say about me?

        And as an employer who presumably has an internal email system, why do you care so much about the security of the email provider I use at home? Are you going to judge the strength of the locks on my doors, the ease of breaking into my car or how much life insurance I buy?

        None of the things you mention have anything to do with the vast, vast majority of jobs out there. Nothing what so ever. To be even the slightest bit concerned about them screams of a paternalism that is rather disturbing.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s not the point. The point is that all those things contribute to an overall impression.

          Just like if you showed up for an interview in a beach cover-up, it’s not about the interviewer thinking: Isn’t he cold? Why doesn’t he buy more appropriate clothes for himself? Does he have enough money to adequately clothe himself? Isn’t he worried about being harassed on the street? They’re just going to think, “That’s odd” and take note of it.

          (Do men have beach cover-ups? I don’t know.)

          1. Joey*

            But aren’t you suggesting that those assumptions are okay-that its perfectly reasonable to negatively stereotype non-gmail users as less computer literate. That’s pretty concerning to say that since I used my yahoo account (because I’m older), then I must be less computer savvy than someone (who is probably younger) with a gmail account.

            The comparisons your making have more to do with professional judgement than whether or not you’re keeping up with the latest trend.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I don’t think that all Hotmail/AOL users are less computer literate, as an absolute rule. But I think that in general, that is often true, and therefore, seeing those domains does indeed contribute to an overall impression of a candidate. It gives you an idea of what might be likely.

              No one should get rejected because of their email domain, but it’s part of forming a general impression of someone.

          2. Mike C.*

            I’m just drawing the line at a different place than you are. To me, being judged on what you do on the job site is a whole lot different than being judged by the reputation of the email host you have on your personal, never to be used at work anyway, email address. It would be along the lines of evaluating my educational credentials by how well the football team did.

            I get that it’s there and folks are going to feel they way they do, I just think it’s really dumb.

            Also, men generally don’t wear coverups outside of competitive swimming if you’re curious.

        2. Anonymous*

          “And as an employer who presumably has an internal email system, why do you care so much about the security of the email provider I use at home? Are you going to judge the strength of the locks on my doors, the ease of breaking into my car or how much life insurance I buy?”

          The strength of your locks doesn’t affect my locks. If we’re emailing each other, the vulnerability of your email CAN affect my email.

          And I don’t see how an internal email system even plays a role when we’re talking about job searching. Presumable, most companies aren’t giving internal email accounts to applicants. As a hiring manager, I’m contacting your personal email account.

          “None of the things you mention have anything to do with the vast, vast majority of jobs out there. Nothing what so ever. To be even the slightest bit concerned about them screams of a paternalism that is rather disturbing.”

          What things did I mention that are so disturbing? Email security? That’s not paternalism. Self-protection, maybe. I may not care how the vulnerability of your 1998 AOL email account affects YOU, but I certainly care how it could potentially affect me and my email account. An absolute dismissal of security concerns only strengthens the generalization of computer illiteracy.

          1. Jamie*

            The strength of your locks doesn’t affect my locks. If we’re emailing each other, the vulnerability of your email CAN affect my email.

            I would have to question any employer who is okay with people using personal email for work – which is the only way it would impact the network.

            I have people’s personal emails in a file – and it’s for one reason only and that’s in case we lose power completely and just for communication about the status of when we’ll be back up. I’ve needed to use these once and it in no way compromised the network.

            If people need to be in constant communication via email then the employer should buy them a smartphone and pay for them to receive their work email on a regulated device or allow remote access via web based application. It’s my personal pet peeve – but I can’t see why the lines would ever need to be blurred.

        3. K*

          I think that actually the low opportunity cost of getting a new e-mail address is kind of the point here. If it takes more than 10 minutes for you to set up a new e-mail and forward it to your current account, you actually probably are less tech savvy than a lot of employers want.

          Conversely, buying a new interview suit probably takes hours and several hundred dollars, and yet we all do that.

    2. Anonymous*

      Zip codes and area codes – didn’t we have posters asking about out of state job searches? I’d say people get judged on those all the time.

  36. Al Lo*

    While an individual’s email domain contributes to my overall impression of them, what I really judge are businesses who use a free domain (gmail, shaw [provider-based domain], etc) instead of getting their own domain. As mentioned upthread, it’s inexpensive and easy to do, and even if you don’t set up a website, you can easily have your email look professional. To me, it’s the difference between answering a business phone with “Yeah?” and “Good afternoon, Chocolate Teapots, Inc. Wakeen speaking.” It’s an invaluable part of that first impression, and it baffles me how many small businesses forfeit that good impression that could be accomplished so easily.

    1. KellyK*

      As a tangent, it confuses the heck out of me when someone answers a business phone with just “Hello.” I think I have the wrong number and I’ve randomly called someone’s house.

      1. Natalie*

        Wakeen is invaluable to the process!

        That Joaquin guy, though – I don’t know if I’ve ever even met him face to face.

          1. A Bug!*

            Really? I’ve never heard anyone speak of Joaquin, well or poorly! He only seems to come up in e-mails.

      2. Anonymous*

        I want to work for Chocolate Teapots, Inc! I have accounts at Gmail/Yahoo!/AOL/Hotmail/Outlook/and a few other places that I’ve probably forgotten. Am I hired?

  37. Hmm*

    I actually think that it’s more unfair to judge someone based on outdated interview attire than for their email addresses. At least there’s a cost of updating to the former.

  38. Hugo*

    I know this has nothing to do with emails, but. . .

    What I can’t stand are companies that have “stock photo” websites…I mean, how cheap can you get? I’d rather look at a half-decent company page with actual people, or maybe even a shot of the main office exterior, than an antiseptic, obviously “professionally made” website using clip art and models.

    You know the ones I’m talking about – they include such pictures as:

    – diverse group gathered around conference table
    – woman wearing headset, smiling
    – man in suit, arms crossed, smiling
    – silhouttes of employess against large glass windows
    – smiling boss sitting at desk speaking to smiling employees standing at desk

    When I see a site like this, I think to myself, “wow, if this company has such an anonymous website, I would probably feel like an anonymous employee” and makes me want to submit an application using a CompuServe or Prodigy email address.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes! That said, when I start Chocolate Teapots Inc., I’m going to ensure that all the photos on the website look like stock photos, but are actually of our real employees. Just because it would amuse me to make Jamie pose for these. (And the rest of you. Mike C., you will be giving a hearty handshake to Wakeen.)

      Then, in the midst of all these bland photos, there will be one of someone shaking their finger in a stern, schoolmarmish way at someone else who is clipping their fingernails.

        1. Lulula*

          I think you definitely need to include someone happily taping up one of those chirpy sounding reminder signs to the inside of the door!

      1. Jamie*

        Ha – I missed this! You will get the top of my head peeking out from under a bank of monitors. Perhaps a wave.

        And I think you of all people have the wherewithal to make sure no fingernail clippers are hired!

        It’s so funny because just this weekend I was thinking I really need to get a pic for Linkedin – because it feels like I’m hiding something. Like people assume that when I walk down the street the villagers chase me with pitchforks or people try to lock me up in a bell tower …which hasn’t happened yet. I just don’t know how to take a picture where the look on my face isn’t screaming “stop taking my picture – I HATE THIS!”

        Sorry for the digression :)

    2. Lulula*

      Except usually they’re not “professionally made”, but templates that were cheaper than hiring a real designer (so I suppose “professionally made” in the sense that at least they aren’t total hack jobs, just completely devoid of all personality). Similarly to a candidate using a supposedly-outdated email provider, these sites make me wonder how with-it the company is, and whether they are intentionally non-branding themselves or just sadly clueless as to the impression they give off… Either way, not appealing! Maybe not a dealbreaker, but certainly something that adds to my evaluation.

      1. Lulula*

        Just thinking about this, and I actually have not contacted a particular temp agency because their site was such a crazy mishmash, it made me wonder about the rest of their work practices! One might argue they’re too busy doing their work to worry about secondary issues like their website, to which I would counter that especially in a sales-related industry, managing impressions are a major part of your job.

    3. EM*

      At least the stock photos were probably obtained legally. My company was using some photo (that has to do with the company name) that the person who built the website ripped from the web. The photographer somehow tracked us down and demanded payment for use of his work. :/

  39. SevenSixOne*

    I’ll admit to thinking less of someone whose primary email address is AOL or Hotmail. Same for anyone whose primary email address is something corny like “”. Or something PG13 like “”. Or if you and your partner/family share one email address like “” or “”. Or if your only email address is the “” that’s really just meant for work-related stuff.

    I know it’s judgmental and stupid, but it really does make a person look hopelessly out of touch.

      1. Rana*

        Oh, those drive me nuts. I can see having a family email for, well, family stuff, but when you’re communicating with people outside of the family, give each member their own address!

      2. Jamie*

        I’m still waiting for a plausible explanation on why this is necessary. Ever.

        The last thing in the world I want to do is wade through my husband’s email in search of mine. I’ve heard people say that it’s because some people are communicating with both parties. That would make sense if email programs forced you to email people one at a time and retype each one. Sometimes I send the same email to both of my sisters and I just make sure both of their names are in the TO field. They don’t need to share.

  40. Ariancita*

    I haven’t read the almost 300 comments yet, so this may have already been addressed, but given how many problems gmail has and given that when it comes to using gmail vs yahoo, it’s really unconscious corporate branding being swallowed hook, line, and sinker, I think judging people on email domains is absolutely ridiculous and actually tells me a lot more about the recruiters lack of web savvy who do this than the candidate’s. I have a *number* of gmail accounts, as well as my own domain account (serviced by google), and I have experienced myself and seen with others so many horrible issues (even for the paid accounts): losing emails never to be found again, not being able to access the accounts for weeks at a time, having server issues for months on end, etc. None of these problems turned out to be user-issues. They were google side and they were widespread. When your business interactions rely on email, it’s not on to have those kinds of ongoing problems. Mind you, these are paid accounts.

    So yeah, if I see a yahoo address, I don’t judge. I figure they’re probably done with all the gmail issues they had and want to make sure an important email (from a possible job) doesn’t get lost. That said, I still use the gmail addresses and don’t apply from my yahoo account.

      1. Ariancita*

        Yes, exactly. All of these webmail services have glitches and people have to use the one they found works the most reliably for them for important correspondence.

  41. KayDay*

    I have a question for everyone regarding the awful joint accounts and personal domain names (although, it’s completely hypothetical since my parents don’t plant to apply for any more jobs).

    Back in the AOL age, my dad, Jay Day, had his own domain (still does), comprised of his first initial and last name, and set up email addresses using that domain for all family members: Dad: jay(at)jday. com, Mom: elle(at)jday. com, Me: kittensrule84(at)jday .com. They were separate email accounts, just sharing a family domain.

    Would anyone find it weird if an application came from elle(at)jday. com instead of

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I think it could cause some questions.

      The recipient might figure out the spouse’s name is the domain and think it’s weird (or think nothing of it), or they might think it’s a company domain and wonder why she’s emailing from her work address. Like if it was a law firm Johnson & Day, Attorneys at Law, but their domain was (I think the same name would tip them off that that was not the case. . .)

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Sometimes when I’ve seen that, I’ve gone to the domain ( or whatever) to see what’s there, figuring that if it’s the applicant’s own site, I’d like to see it. If it was then someone else’s, I might find it a little strange. Not enough to disqualify someone, of course, just … the tiniest bit strange.

  42. DK222*

    I hire for a firm that has an audience of young intelligent computer-savvy customers, and though it may cost me a good candidate every X years, I toss out any and all hotmail and aol, and give a raised eyebrow of “hmm” at yahoo. To willingly use such inferior/outdated technology when the alternatives like gmail are free or a domain name of your own is close to it doesn’t speak well of a candidate.

    My friend’s tech startup in Sacramento is the same…if not gmail or your own domain, app goes in the trash.

    Might not be right but why chance it?

    1. SJ*

      How do you know it’s so inferior or outdated if you don’t use it? Both platforms have undergone major updates recently (which Gmail has not, by the way).

      1. DK222*

        The differences in the quality of spam filter alone makes any cosmetic upgrade not even matter.

        And even if that upgrade was good (for the sake of argument let’s say it is), perception is reality. All that matters is whether the recruiter or hiring manager weeds you out based on his or her beliefs.

        And it’s your fellow AOL/hotmail users that doom you…99% of the people who have malware and sent their whole address books spammy links have those suffixes and it’s guilt by association, warranted or not.

  43. Rana*

    One thing I’m noting here: how many of you go to the individual sites to check your email? With the exception of Yahoo! and one semi-defunct campus server, I have all of my email sites linked through my desktop mail program (Mail in Mac). I think I’ve been to the actual originating sites maybe once in the last year or so, because there’s generally no need for it.

    It makes it very easy to check all my mail at once, in one place, so maybe this is a solution for people who don’t like the idea of having to make the rounds of several sites?

    (I don’t know how well it would work on smartphones, though; my experience with those is more limited, and I don’t know what sort of mail-aggregating software is available for them. And you probably wouldn’t want to link personal accounts to a work computer.)

    1. Al Lo*

      I do use Gmail’s web interface. I have a Google Apps account for my own domain, and I have all of my email accounts ( [used from 2004-2009, and all of my archives have been ported into my current account],, [which is my primary personal account], and except my current office-job account forwarded there, and I also have it set up so that I can reply from any of those addresses within the gmail interface (and even if it does show the primary account, it’s just, which isn’t embarrassing or inappropriate at all).

      I also own a bunch of other domains, so technically, I also have,, and a few others forwarded in as well, but they’re not in much use.

      My work email is also through Google apps, and I actually use the web interface instead of the Outlook that’s installed on my work computer. I’ve gotten so accustomed to Gmail’s threaded conversations that it would drive me absolutely nuts to go back to a system where each reply comes in as an individual message. I so much prefer having everything threaded in a single conversation and truncating all of the quoted text under each reply.

        1. Al Lo*

          Having said that, I haven’t signed into each of those separate email accounts in years, in some cases. It all comes through one account, and I never visit the others.

    2. Jamie*

      (I don’t know how well it would work on smartphones, though; my experience with those is more limited, and I don’t know what sort of mail-aggregating software is available for them. And you probably wouldn’t want to link personal accounts to a work computer.)

      I lead a boring life so I only have one personal email address, so my iPhone is set up where my work email is the main account, but my gmail is set up also. So when I get an email in either account it shows, but if it’s in gmail i just have to swipe over and check that screen. You can integrate them – but I like knowing what’s coming to which account.

      Oh and as an aside for the discussion upthread – I’m old and I use gmail. :)

  44. Dragonfly*

    For those asking for empirical evidence … I don’t have any studies to link to, I can only go by experience acquired via my time doing tech support. If someone wrote in using an aol domain then several things were true about them: 1) They were old, 2) they had not kept up with technology9 3) They were not tech savvy at all. I would have to carefully explain to them what a URL was. I would have to explain where to find the address bar and what it looks like and why they want to use it. I would have to explain how to change it so they could go directly to the site they were asking to get to. I would have to explain to them what Internet Explorer was and what it looks like — “Do you see the blue lowercase “e,” with the yellow ribbon going around it? Click it.” Mind you, this isn’t even taking into account the people still using IE6! Expecting them to know about Firefox was not be dreamt of.

    Sorry. I do not associate AOL with people who are adaptable, or capable of troubleshooting or avoiding obvious malware traps. They did not have mad Google-fu skills, or understand the difference between a browser and a search engine. Is it fair to assume AOL email users are old? If I knew anyone concerned about age discrimination I would insist they not use that address–friends don’t let friends use AOL. I have no idea what generation I’m in, since the answer changes according to who you ask. says I’m generation “My So Called Life,” since it was on when I was in high school. That was also when I got my first computer, and I did use AOL dial-up, it seemed more interesting that CompuServ, Prodigy, and the other one I can’t recall. Then I noticed the difference between AOL and IE and Netscape and abandoned AOL. I learned the difference between Alta Vista and Excite search results and abandoned one for the other. This was before I was 20. I have learned not everyone is curious and willing to explore or teach themselves things. Those people are using AOL. They aren’t dumb or stupid or worthless or any other foul calumny. They simply aren’t tech savvy, and when tech savvy matters the hiring manager would have to be egregiously irresponsible to hire someone using that domain. This site talks all the time about how marginal cases have to be pretty damn good to get away with certain deal-breaking attributes, and an AOL domain would be one such attribute in this instance. Sure, it’s possible that someone who knows how to use Google and set up their own domain could also be using AOL. It’s also possible that a surgeon who smokes pot on the weekends can still be just as competent as one who stays sober. It’s just as likely.

    1. Anonymous*

      I may be older than you, but I kept my AOL account active, and I’m far from being technically inept. I do have my own domain that I set up myself, and I often fix complicated computer issues–I have no problem cracking open a computer and working with the components themselves. I’ve found that most people who judge AOL haven’t even been on it since 1997 or so, and don’t realize that they have folders, filters, etc.

  45. Elise*

    Any thoughts when you see one of the lesser used addresses? I see the general reaction is Gmail good–AOL bad…but what about any of the free email sites you rarely or never hear about?

    Sites like GMX,, Lavabit, Zoho,, etc

    Do people see them and it becomes a non-issue altogether? Positive since it means they can think outside the box and not just follow the crowd? Negative because you just aren’t familiar with the site? Some other reaction?

    1. Rana*

      For me (not that it’s a huge issue in the first place) if it doesn’t sound porny, then I just shrug. That said, I’ve recently acquired a domain name so that I can cover up the fact that my primary provider has “dialup” in their name. It’s been years since I have actually dialed up anything – I don’t know if my computer is even capable of it – but it looks fusty and behind the times.

    2. mel*

      Sometimes I think about using my own domain address from my website, but then I wonder if having anything other than gmail/hotmail/etc would be slower to remember?

      1. Rana*

        In my case, it’s my name, so if they can remember who I am, they should be able to remember the email. But I also tend to belt-and-suspenders it and give people both my gmail addy and my domain one.

    3. Anonymous*

      The only things I would caution against are domains like (Yahoo), where it could be oh so easily confused with the similar but far more popular

      1. Waiting Patiently*

        Someone recently gave me a ymail address and I kept thinking she was confused and meant gmail.

  46. Waiting Patiently*

    Funny enough, I’m not a hiring manager yet I raise my eyebrow at friends and colleagues–when exchanging email addresses and they give me a hotmail, Yahoo and Aol email address. Then I think/hope they simply have another email address for professional type things. I, on the other hand, only use myrealname@gmail for all my email exchanges. We don’t utilize email at work –so there is no work email to check but that’ a separate issue in itself…

  47. HR Pufnstuff*

    I screen resumes before sending to the Hiring Manager and grade this sort of thing on a scale. If I get aol, hotmail, etc from a mechanical skill app, doesn’t register either way. If from a sales or accounting app, that raises an eyebrow.

  48. Mary Ellen*

    It may have already been mentioned here, but I have had lots of trouble with hotmail and gmail accounts…..when I try to send an email, it will “bounce back”. I will get a notification that the delivery failed, several hours after my email system indicated it was successfully sent. The same thing will happen after many attempts to re-send.

  49. Veronica*

    I am assuming this only applies to free e-mail accounts? That there would be no negative impression with a or e-mail address? I got rid of my AOL in the early 2000’s when I switched to Comcast. Just want to make sure those are o.k.!

Comments are closed.