Have you ever gotten a business card from, e.g., a hair stylist and the email address on the card was something like email@example.com? An email address like that just screams “I’m an amateur. I don’t take myself seriously enough to invest the 10 minutes and 14 dollars that it would take to register my own domain.”
At the time of this writing, the email subscriber list for CodeWithJason.com has a little over 100 people on it. I would estimate that over 90% of the subscribers have an @gmail.com, @yahoo.com or @hotmail.com email address. These are people who supposedly care enough about their job search to sign up to get regular emails from me about it. Yet they apparently haven’t bothered to get themselves a non-Gmail email address. If that’s the state of affairs with this sample, what’s it like in the general population? Probably pretty fucking bad.
The reason I bring this up is to illustrate that if you get yourself a custom email address, you’re probably already ahead of 90% or more of your job-seeking competitors. The bar is low out there.
Some people have asked me what a good domain to register might be. For me personally, I have my own S Corp through which I do most of my freelance programming work. The name of my one-man business is Ben Franklin Labs. The domain I’ve registered is benfranklinlabs.com and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s a good example for somebody like me who has his or her own business entity. I realize that it’s likely that you do not.
It’s probably more likely that you normally work as a full-time employee as opposed to a contractor like me. In that case, I would just recommend using .com. One of my personal domains is jasonswett.net (jasonswett.net instead of jasonswett.com because I wanted it to rhyme) and the email address I use under that domain is email@example.com. It doesn’t matter a whole bunch what you choose. Just about anything is better than a Gmail address.