Don’t Tarnish Your Executive Brand by Using Free Email Services (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.)!

by Meg Guiseppi on February 3, 2014

job search email

Until recently, I recommended using one of the well-known, free email services for executive job search.

Most of us already have a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or other such email account. They seemed to make sense for job search, especially to avoid using an email account associated with your employer, which is never a good idea.

Then potentially millions of Yahoo email accounts were hacked last week.

Preceding that, I recently had a discussion with Karen Callahan, Web Developer, Blogmeister, and founder of Adventures Online, my blogsites’ hosting company.

Karen and I talked about the branding and privacy issues associated with using these email services.

I can no longer recommend using free email services for job search, or for any other sensitive matters.

How Free Email Services Impact Your Executive Brand

Gmail, Yahoo email, and the others don’t reflect well on executive job seekers, and give a bad first and lasting, impression of them. They negatively impact the professional image you need to put forward.

As Karen said,

“Think about it. Here you are, a senior-level or c-suite executive, seeking a top-dollar salary for the value you offer your next employer and you’re not willing to invest in the way you present yourself through your emails? It’s like handing a recruiter or hiring decision maker a perforated, do-it-yourself business card.”

You may sabotage the professionalism you worked so hard to present across other areas of your job search, and ruin your chances to be considered as a good-fit candidate.

You wouldn’t use an impersonal, same-old resume template in your job search, right? You need to stop using a free email service that can damage the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.

Keep your Gmail, Yahoo and other free email services for personal use only – not your job search.

Free Email Services Can Sabotage Your Executive Job Search Efforts

According to Karen, many Internet Service Providers refuse to process and deliver email from some of these services (older ones in particular –,,

For example, if you are using the popular Hotmail to send out your resume, you will not know whether it was received, unless the recipient contacts you. You know that busy recruiters and hiring professionals won’t take the time to acknowledge receipt of every resume emailed to them. There go your best laid plans!

Privacy Violations with Free Email Services

And then there are a multitude of privacy issues, with which Gmail and Yahoo Email, to name just two, have been plagued over the past several years.

According to a CNBC article, Gmail rolled out a new feature in early January allowing some users to receive emails from people with whom they’ve not shared their email addresses, through Gmail account integration with its social network Google+.

Google has had breach of privacy issues ever since changing its privacy policy in March 2012, allowing them to store and use data from their various internet services to create detailed user profiles.

And it’s no secret that Google’s robots read your Gmail messages, and that Google mines and stores an enormous amount of data. Yahoo email has its own history of spam and hacked accounts. Consider that all free email services may be creating huge marketing databases for some future use.

Let’s say you’re in the interview process with one (or several) employers, and you’re hashing out salary and other hiring issues via email. Do you want to risk Google having access to that, and other sensitive information?

What You Should Do For Your Executive Job Search Email Service

To be fair, you may not know that you have another option – purchasing a domain name and setting up a private email account (or several accounts) associated with it.

It’s a relatively inexpensive and simple process. By “private”, I mean that the content of your emails will not be subject to the scrutiny of search engines, such as Google or Yahoo.

There are any number of domain registrars, such as GoDaddy. Domains typically cost around $15 per year, plus another $10 or so per year to add an email address associated with it. Adding an email address may even be a freebie.

Don’t be sucked into creating a website just to get the personal email account. You don’t need to have a website to have an email account associated with your domain name.

But, of course, having a personal website to provide those assessing you for jobs a deeper look into your value to them is an excellent way to build your online brand. Once you set up your personal email account, think about going back and building a brand-reinforcing website or, better yet, a blogsite.

More in my post, Best of Blogging Your Personal Brand for C-level Executive Jobs

Selecting and Branding Your Personal Domain Name

Be prepared with several name options, when you begin searching available domain names, which you can do on whichever domain registrar you choose.

First choice is “”.

If you have a common name, chances are that’s already taken. If so, try “yourname” with either .info or .me – other top-level domain (TLD) extensions (meaning they have the most clout with search engines).

Karen suggests that the following TLD’s will work, but aren’t as appropriate:

  • .net – designated for computer networks
  • .org – designated for non-profits

Another possibility, try adding relevant keywords to your name in the domain name, such as:

If the dot-com is unavailable, try another top-level domain extension.

Or buy a domain name without your name, stringing together your most relevant keywords, such as:

If the dot-com is unavailable, try another top-level domain extension.

Karen added these caveats for domain names:

  • Avoid hyphens and don’t use numbers.
  • Yournamewithouthyphens is best
  • Yournamwithhyphens is next best
  • Younamewithouthyphens plus the word “online” or your location (MA, mass)
  • Never use yournamewithanumber

Once you’ve purchased the domain name, set up your email account with an address such as:


Understand that, even when you have a private email account, as described above, your emails are still subject to spam and other nefarious intruders, but you can put safeguards in place for that. If you use a Gmail account, you can’t keep Google’s nose out of your email content.

Related posts:

When Job Search Email Goes Missing

Your Email Signature: Another Personal Branding Tool

How Google-Friendly is Your Personal Brand?

Best of Blogging Your Personal Brand for C-level Executive Jobs

photo by Sean MacEntee


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