Good, bad, or indifferent, the fact is that today, more than ever, perception is everything. The good news is that you can choose to drive that branded perception. The bad news is few executives choose to invest the time to do so.
Your email address is a great example. What does it say about you? Many would argue it doesn’t matter. In the world of branding, it really does matter. In fact, I would say (and even have said) it matters greatly.
As CFOs increasingly face a younger and very tech-savvy workforce, your email address can speak volumes. It can help to validate that you are in the 21st Century -or- that you are hanging out in the dinosaur graveyard just biding your time. It can show your willingness to embrace technology -or- your stubborn refusal to embrace change. Remember, perception is in the eye of the beholder.
In a recent FENG newsletter, Dave Morgan of the Detroit Chapter, provided some very interesting insights on email addresses from his perspective as a CFO in the technology industry. With his permission, I am providing an excerpt of his article.
Recently I was the CFO at a software company looking to hire a director of FP&A. Our company’s practice at the time was to roundtable the resumes of all final candidates for senior management roles with all current members of senior management. Any member had a blackball right. (Whether you agree with it or not, that was the company’s practice. Different subject for a different time.) My preferred candidate had a personal email address with a domain name of “earthlink.net.” Our CTO mentioned this in the roundtable and everybody quickly shot knowing glances at each other when this fact was surfaced. It was the look of death. No words had to be spoken. (Every member of senior management had a strong tech background.) The candidate was now dead on arrival.
If you have any of the following domain names in your personal email address, your candidacy is probably dead on arrival at any technology company or any tech-aware company: prodigy.net, compuserve.net, earthlink.net, and, yes, even aol.com.
This may seem harsh, but it is a reality. Knowledge is power. If you don’t know something is working against you, you can’t fix it. Now that you know, maybe it is time to fix it!