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Why you need a GMail account for your job search

gmail-logoIn my personal branding workshops, the first requirement is a GMail account. I sometimes meet heavy resistance, but I can convince most people I’m right. Here’s why:

Deliverability. Every email provider has problems with receiving and sending mail. Mostly this is because of spam and how filters work. Some providers, like Comcast, block emails that come from a particular server. Note that I didn’t say domain, which would be bad comcast-logoenough. This is much worse! I had an email account from a computer shop I worked in – there were only a handful of accounts on this domain, and email volume was very low (outbound, we got plenty of spam inbound). I can’t send email from that account to anybody at Comcast – the email is just rejected. The ISP that we used at the shop has a machine that serves hundreds, or perhaps thousands of customers.

The first time this happened, I called the provider and asked for help, and since he wasn’t a very good provider, he told me to fix it myself. It seems that he bought the IP address for his server from somebody who was a spammer. No spam from that machine recently, but the IP address was still on black lists. I contacted a couple of the list owners and convinced them to remove the IP address, but at some point, it fell back on the black lists.

If you don’t know about email black lists, you might want to look at spamhaus.org. This is the best known anti-spam service, and here’s what they say about their business:

spamhaus-logoWORKING TO PROTECT INTERNET NETWORKS WORLDWIDE
Spamhaus tracks the Internet’s Spammers, Spam Gangs and Spam Services, provides dependable realtime anti-spam protection for Internet networks, and works with Law Enforcement to identify and pursue spammers worldwide.

Most people think spam is detected from content, and indeed with software like Outlook, that’s true. But the email has to get to you before your software can determine if it’s legitimate content.

GMail is considered a trusted source by most email services, and there’s even been speculation that GMail gets preference with some sites like Yahoo. That means your email is more likely to get to your recipient if you use GMail.

Service levels. This is hardly statistically valid information, but from my own observations Yahoo email tends to move in and out very slowly. Like sometimes a day or two later. I’ve watched this on my own account many times – send myself an email (like an article I’m reading), and watch it get to GMail instantly and Yahoo the next day. Likewise, outbound email is often delayed. Hey, this is better than it used to be when PacBell, SBC, and then ATT (wish they’d decide on their name already) ran the email servers. I first noticed this about 10 years ago when I found that some of my emails weren’t going out at all. A little research on the Internet showed that the PacBell email servers were frequently overloaded to the point of simply losing email. I’ve never seen or heard about this happening at GMail.

Your brand. You can believe this or not, but I’ve heard two recruiters say that candidates using GMail accounts were generally better than candidates using other email services. I can tell you that as a hiring manager, if I got an application sent from AOL, I wouldn’t even read it. I’m in high tech, and if you use AOL, you simply don’t get it.

Other Google services. If you’ve been to one of my workshops or seen one of my presentations, you know how important I think Google Reader is. You will need a Google account to use it or any other service at Google. I have a website parked there – my first try – http://wfeigenson.googlepages.com. I also use Google Analytics (tracks web traffic) and recently I created a Google AdWords campaign.

The Evil Empire? I have to bring this up… Google has frequently been draconian in their service terms, and they clearly have more information about everyone than almost anybody wants them to have. But believe me, dear reader, they are not interested in you or me. There are too many people in the world for Google to target people who aren’t famous, and they don’t even target those people. Your anonymity lies in sheer numbers.

Email from your domain or GMail? Many people say true professionals should use their own domain for email (e.g. john@johnjones.com). While I agree with this in principal, I don’t suggest it – for the very reasons I mentioned above. You cannot be sure that your domain is hosted on a server that’s “clean.”

Keep your old email account! But don’t use it for your job search – just use it for your personal correspondence. If you’re like me, you’ll probably drop the old account after a while.

Final point: being an old fart, I hate GMail’s interface, so I use it in Outlook. It’s really very simple to set up, and the Outlook interface is much better for me – and I use an indexing outlook-logoprogram (Copernic), which indexes all my files and email. Then I have a fighting chance to track what I promised you two weeks ago. You can also use the Google servers with other email programs: Outlook Express, Thunderbird, probably many others. If you want to do this, remember Google is your best friend (I should trademark that, but I’m sure Google would object). Look up “set up GMail for Outlook” or equivalent. There are some really good instructions available on the Net.

Posted in Job seekers, Personal branding, Reviews.

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11 Responses

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  1. Henry Phillips says

    Wally,

    Good article except that about back in the fall of 2008 Microsoft stopped supporting Outlook Express. This is unfortunate because I found it a much faster and easier program to use than ponderous Outlook. And when I converted to Outlook and imported contacts and file folders, many file folders were not properly and completely imported. Occasionally I have to go back and open Outlook Express just to see some old correspondence files.

    Outlook is so slow.

    Old but not a fart,

    Henry
    GraceWorks

    • walt says

      Thanks Henry. I didn’t realize MS had dropped support for Outlook Express. I’m actually not a big Outlook fan – it’s more that I use it because i haven’t found anything better. One real advantage of OE was that it used multiple files, so if you lost something you didn’t necessarily lose everything.

  2. Michael Dean says

    For those of you mired in the use of Microsoft Outlook or express and IE I have some alternatives. Try Thunderbird and Mozilla. They are faster, have more services and features, and as Microsoft themselves admitted a few months back, they are more secure! And then try this:

    First, don’t use ATT! You will experience ATT Phone Hell, they misrepresent their services and speed, they arbitrarily cut your speed below what they agree to give you without telling you, and they cap your email. Better to go to an ATT reseller – my favorite is sonic.net -same price, but with real customer service, human beings answer the phone (imagine getting a tech on the line in less than 2 minutes, 24/7!), you are not required to use Yahoo anything, and no limits on email. For the last 12 years, I have had an old dual P2 server running Gentoo Linux, and with my Postfix IMAP server. Total cost- less than $200 dollars in programming fixes total. And my email has fewer outages than Gmail. I can send hundreds of emails without even using Sonic.net’s email server, while my account comes up as with sonic.net, my domain and IP address is “clean”.

    2) Spam is now 90% of email traffic. So I have set up an encryption system with an email back procedure, so that spam is automatically deleted (spammers don’t use their real address) without a verification. And because I have a unique address I believe my prestige is higher, and there are no delays.

    3) I would not use a personal email address, but get a business going, get a snazzy business oriented domain, and prosper.

    • walt says

      Thanks for the comments Michael.

      I quite agree about sonic.net. I’ve used them for years and recommended them to many.

      Although this is a matter of opinion, I don’t agree with suggestions 2 and 3. If you challenge email, you will lose some responders. True you’ll get rid of spam, but you also run the risk of losing a job offer. If you don’t understand email challenge, it usually works this way: you email Michael, and his system sends an email to your posted address. If you respond to that email (which may have some bot-blocking question like what is 7 + 2), then your original email will go through. I don’t like these systems, and unless it’s somebody I really want to talk to, I toss these emails.

      Item #3 was the point of this email. I own several professional domains, but I only use GMail for my job search – but you need to make this decision now that you’ve heard my side and Michael’s.

  3. Bob Sutterfield says

    Here are few related thoughts on How to select an email address.

  4. Tony B says

    I took this advice and got the shaft. Google disabled my account, will not return it and will not tell me why, other than a vague comment about a perceived violation of TOS. No response to multiple queries as to why. No live technical support. Yea, your anonimity lies in sheer numbers. But, so does your ability to get any help. Too many users, no live support, email support full of automated responses, no real help. I’d advise NOT using gmail for ANYTHING since they don’t have any true way to plead your case on disabled email.

  5. Tony B says

    Wow, fantastic. I contacted some of the potential employers that I had written down addresses and phone numbers. Two of them told me that they offered positions to others because they could not contact me via my (former) gmail account. Their emails bounced back to them as undeliverable. I guess they don’t like using the phone. Yea, I should have had a backup email, but the potential employers wouldn’t have that info. I could have sent out a mass email with new address from a back up to all of them, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll update their contacts. All my resumes contain my gmail account as contact info. And, all the resumes I sent out that don’t identify the company are lost because I don’t know who to even contact to update my info. I lost 2 months of work and over 100 resumes to this advice. What a waste…

Continuing the Discussion

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