Some years ago a first year undergraduate emailed me from his personal email address which began “iwillrapeyou@xxxxx”. I’m sure the student and his mates thought this was hilarious when he set up his first email account as a young teenager. I politely suggested to him that maybe now, as a grown-up interacting with other grown-ups who were supporting his education, it might be time to change it. “Do you really intend to submit applications for jobs using that address?” I asked.
To his credit he agreed and did change it. That’s the only time I’ve said to a student that they probably ought to change their personal email address, but lately I’ve come to the conclusion that students need to consider what their email addresses are saying about them to the wider world. However it’s not a topic I see discussed very often
Looking at the addresses of some recent students I see things such as “buttercup123@xxxx”, “reds360@xxxx”, “halilulyah247@xxxx”, “canadiankckrz@xxxx”, “MAXSAMJAM@xxxx”, “beaniethemanmusic96@xxxx”, “iamwoody22@xxxx”, “SAVETHEPANDAS@xxxx”. Now none of these addresses are as obnoxious or inflammatory as the first example I gave, but all of them say something about the person behind the email address, whether they are aware of it or not. These addresses tell the wider world that the person who sent an email is a football fan, or an environmentalist, or a music fan, or has a wacky nickname, etc. And it’s fine to be all of those things. But what they lack is any kind of professionalism, they all sound like they are emails from teenagers, not grown ups.
So my advice to all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) would be: think carefully about your email address and what it is saying about you, and consider whether that’s the perception you wish to give to prospective employers.
And while you’re at it you might also want to reconsider including your birth year in the address: that’s an important piece of personal information that could be of use to unscrupulous cyber criminals.