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Do You Need to Update Your Email and Online Identities?

Email composition, subject lines, salutations – and even addresses – are critical components of your business writing. With Business Writing that Counts webinars and online coaching, we can improve your email writing skills so you make a better first impression.

These days, the first impression customers and potential employers have of you is your email address. For whatever reason, you might still have the same email address you used in high school, college or during your "not-so-serious" years. The same goes for your social media presence. It might be time to take note and update your online identity.

Why Worry About Your "Handle"?

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Chris Kornelis brought the point home. Many of you in the business world today might have thought email was not here to stay, or that only your friends and family would see your social media posts. Unfortunately, you thought wrongly. And younger workers might have had email and Facebook addresses since middle or high school. That's not when you think about future job hunting, so you probably used an identity to fit your personality at the time and maybe impress your friends. But addresses like "backstreetgirl" or "tomcat911" don't fly in the professional, adult world. Here are reasons to double check and maybe update your online identity:

You date yourself. Using band names and movie titles can make you appear too young – or too old – to potential clients or employers. The same goes for adding a year after your name. Many employers will assume the year is your birth year and might make age-based assumptions.

You can offend potential employers. Some things that seem funny at the time don't translate well when you are in a more formal and professional situation. Don't offend a potential employer or client with a political or cultural (especially drug!) reference from 15 years ago.

You just look unprofessional, or at least unmotivated! Kornelis also used the example of people holding on to their old email addresses. It's time to move into this century. Procrastinating on updating your email address might make employers feel you lack motivation.

What Should You Do?

Maybe your mom and all your social media user names are set on your current email address. It's probably OK to keep that one, as long as you limit its use and open a new email account to use for your professional persona. Reserve that one for job hunting or client contacts if you freelance.

Not sure whether your address might make a bad impression, or how to do damage control and prevent a future electronic faux pas? Seek advice from a valued mentor or coach. Contact Business Writing That Counts! (425-485-3221) or

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