This quote came from the director of a graduate fellowship program during his talk to potential graduate students this morning! I am in Minnesota at the AISES conference and I gave a talk a this morning to undergrads in STEM fields from across the nation about preparing for graduate school. But it was this quote in a talk that came after mine, that made me want to say more about the topic of professionalism. One of my colleagues at UMBC often tells students not to use email addresses that don’t characterize you as a scholar. Dr. Morgan gives the audience a very serious “you’d better do it” look when she tells them about changing their voicemail message songs from a misogynistic background song to a basic straightforward message, and not using addresses like “SweetHoney@yahoo.com” or “MissThang77@gmail.com”. But I have never heard a rendition presented with as much emphasis as the one that I heard this morning. These students were told, point blank, that their applications would be thrown away if they have email addresses other than something professional like “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Competition for graduate school and professional positions is increasing, so we tell students that they must present themselves in the very best way possible. To go further, I highly recommend updating your LinkedIn site or have a professional website that describes your research or your academic work. If your academic department provides you with a template for a website, then please take advantage of this service and populate it. What do people see when they google your name? Take a look and see. Plan to control your own online reputation. Take some time to do this. For starters, create a professional email address … and use it.