When you receive an email from someone, the “from” column in your inbox indicates who sent it. In that column is the person’s email ID. Seems simple right?
You might not realize is that your email address may not be the ID that is seen by your recipient. The ID you have for your email address can be changed and is handled in the settings within your email program.
So What Steve?
Let me list a few of the email IDs I have received, most of these in the last couple months, via our incoming unsolicited proposals inbox. We have received emails from:
New Notifications ??
and the winner of them all was simply a period. “ . “ (Remove the quote marks and you will see the “name” of the person who sent the email.)
Mind you. These are not their email addresses. These are the email IDs that their program setting sends to whoever they email. It’s like the Caller ID on a phone call.
Would you sign your application for employment with any of the above (even in all caps)? Of course not. It would be unprofessional.
Some of these are kind of funny. Not sure I should have opened the email from HotGramma. The “from” all by itself was quite mysterious. Wasn’t sure if I should have shouted “KATHY” when opening that email. As for the period? All I can say is “punctuation matters.”
It is evident above that someone else helped their Grandma set up her email and thought it would be funny. Others left it to the computer to set a default of some sort. But then that person sent out queries to agents and editors with that as the “name” on their calling card.
Again. This is not the email address I am pointing to. It is the ID. Unfortunately, a lot of folks have not given much thought to what their email address looks like either, but that a story for another day.
To Make Matters Worse
Another thing few realize is that each device they use can possibly have a different email ID, even though they all use the same email address.
For example, a client may reply to one of my emails from their desktop where there email ID shows as “Charlie Jones.” But the next time they send a reply they used their cell phone where the email ID shows as “charliej.” And the next time they send a reply it is from their tablet where the email ID shows as “jonescharlie.” And the next time they send a reply it is from their laptop where the email ID shows as “Charlie’s Laptop.”
You see the problem? The person’s email address is the same on all four devices but their email ID in their settings is different.
On the surface it may not seem to be a problem but if I am searching later for a particular email from “Charlie Jones” it is unlikely I will readily find the outlier which is found under “jonescharlie” because that tablet is rarely used to reply to other business emails.
How do I fix it?
Navigate to the settings in your email to check. In Gmail you would click the “wheel” symbol | choose all settings | click “Accounts” | find the email address in question and click “edit info”. On that pop-up window there is a blank where you can fill in something other than your registered name as your email ID. I did a quick screen shot of what I use. Comments continue below the picture.
See how I have the ID set as “Steve Laube – Agency”? The recipient knows this email is from me but I added the word “Agency” to show it is from this company and not “Steve Laube – Home.”
Now it is your turn. Take a quick tour of the settings on all your devices. Hopefully you won’t be surprised by what you find.
It’s not a big issue, but one of those little things that can show you as being a professional.