You've Got Mail
What is an email address? Sure, we know it's functional use; an internet addressing scheme that identifies a name and mailbox destination of the person/group to whom you wish to communicate or have received a communication from.
When you receive a LinkedIn request or check out the contact information to check the company or other information, what email address do you see in that person's profile? Why does it matter and why is it SO important?
I will often look at a senders return email address to determine the domain validity and source of the communication. I do receive hundreds of emails each day and have my various company servers configured to reject all but specific addresses. I receive communications from new services, friends, family and above all, business associates and clients. Those are naturally sorted into appropriate categories/folders for review; either later or immediately.
Some of my friends and family are not associated with corporate entities. My daughter, for instance, is a full time Mom and has her hands full with seven kids! She continues to use the old AOL email system as do many others. Other friends and family use Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and other 'free' services. While I encourage them to use more secure and private email, few really bother to do so.
Then there are the business queries I constantly receive. I also receive a good number of 'Link Requests' on LinkedIn and other business/professional sites I frequent. If the communication passes my spam filters with direct correspondence to one of my 20+ active email servers, I do a quick review if the sender is unfamiliar. One of the first things I do is examine the sender's domain address. If it appears valid, then I might read further and allow the full HTML message to be displayed (my email client has some nice security features).
When I see the sender's domain as one of the 'free email servers' the message is immediately suspect. My email client filters all known friends and family into appropriate destination folders so they don't get mixed up in the other 'stuff'. I know that the sender is not aligned with a real company/organization but is most likely spam under the covers. They usually get sorted directly into the Junk folder.
Similar mental screening goes into any LinkedIn request. If the person is unfamiliar (I allow all contact requests), I'll check the company information, examine the email address and other profile content before accepting a request. Unfortunately I see way too many 'free service' email addresses and that basically tells me that the person is not professionally aligned. Often unfortunate as this may be a simple naïve oversight on behalf of the individual; lack of understanding of how business validation occurs.
Why do so many people NOT have their own business domain email domain? Why doesn't everyone have a personal email domain? If you are in business, there is no reason NOT to have a private business or even personal email domain.
For professional job seekers, it is even more important to have that 'professional' appearance with a personal/business domain email. It is cheap, easy and takes little time. Utilizing a private email client (low cost) allows for control, sortation and categorization of email that will be stored securely on your own domain email server.
Why doesn't everyone have their own domain? It IS after all the predominate way people use to contact, identify and communicate in this 21st Century.