Don’t Use an Email That Ends in .edu

The headline says it all.

I’m a little surprised it has to be said, but it’s come up a lot recently while fixing up readers’ resumes. Several people have left their .edu address on their resume.

In a way, I sort of get it. When you’re 22, college has taken up almost a fifth of your life. It feels like a major accomplishment. It’s the same reason people put “Education” at the top of their resume.

But in this business, almost everyone has a college degree. Even going to a top-tier film school doesn’t really set you apart very much.

What a .edu address tells me is, you have no experience. If graduating from UCLA is your greatest accomplishment, then you haven’t actually done anything.

It’s like when guys complain that “girls don’t want to date nice guys.” Being “nice” is a minimum basic requirement; it’s not sufficient reason for me to go out with you.

So if a college degree is necessary1-but-not-sufficient, what next? You need experience. And now we enter that famous paradox which is in no way exclusive to Hollywood–

Yeah, that's a Sports Night reference.
It’s a vicious circle. Just keeps going round and round. Never ends. That’s what makes it vicious. And a circle.

There’s one way out, and that’s working for free. It sucks, but after a little while, you’ll have amassed enough credits and experience that college won’t seem like such a big deal.

Then you’ll get a normal Gmail address, like everybody else.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Not, strictly speaking, necessary. But you will have to work harder to prove you’re serious if you don’t have a degree.
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4 Responses

  1. I counter this ‘work for free’ mandate. Never allow yourself to be taken advantage of, experience be damned. Your typical entry level P.A. job will require tasks a monkey can do. Make friends with people and help out when they need an extra P.A. – work other jobs, whatever – if you live somewhere desperate for employees, you’ll probably get hired after a while. When it comes to internships, maybe WHILE you’re in school but never take a full on job that isn’t paying you. There’s a better way, P.A. is not a crowning accomplishment that busts doors open to other opportunities once you land the first gig.

    You voluntarily entering an industry flooded with people on every level trying to take advantage of each other. Tread lightly.

  2. Seriously, though. Have a normal e-mail address please. Just your name is enough. If you have to add numbers because its a common name and you can’t make it work with some combination of periods or middle initials – ok. But not a birthday or year you’re making the account. John August’s criticism is spot on. I can’t count the times I’ve heard people in the office instantly judge someone they’ve never even met based purely on their e-mail. You don’t want to start off with a bad impression if an e-mail is the only chance you have. (Yes, anything else comes with some kind of preconceived judgment….especially hotmail.)

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