I just started a postdoc position in England, but I have a personal problem with the place. I want to apply for another postdoc position in other cities.

Am I officially allowed to use the university email to contact other professors for finding possible postdoc position? Because, it is not an official use related to my job, but personal.

I wish to use my university email, as it can attract more attention, as I am already working in England. Many Indians send email to professors, and they do not read them carefully.

  • 5
    Whatever the answer to this is, be aware that (1) a university email address can expire soon after you leave, so you might miss followup replies about vacancies appearing in a few years, and (2) if you have a personal problem with your higherups, you might not want them to be able to read your future plans. Aug 23, 2015 at 15:00
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    @darijgrinberg That seems like a slightly excessive level of paranoia. While I agree you shouldn't put anything in an email you want to really make sure will never want to be public (as they say, the "e" stands for "evidence."), presumably, the only person likely to care if the OP leaves is his/her PI, who shouldn't have access to his/her email. Aug 23, 2015 at 16:15
  • Check with your alumni association to see if they offer an email (or email-forwarding) service. My @alum.schoolname.edu forwarding account is promised to be good "forever"; when I move to a new ISP I just log in and change where it forwards to. Good compromise. I'm officially not worrying about security on that link. What the school gets out of it, of course, is knowing how to contact me for donations.
    – keshlam
    Aug 23, 2015 at 17:15
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    My personal policy is that I use I use my uni e-mail for all professional communication (except for the very informal part, perhaps). Looking for a post-doc position sounds like a professional reason, and I agree that it should make people treat you more seriously than they would if you had used some random gmail account. I seriously doubt anything (formal or otherwise) would forbid me from doing what you are considering.
    – tomasz
    Aug 23, 2015 at 18:45
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    Voting to close because the answer to "Am I officially allowed to use the university email to [do something]?" depends entirely on the regulations laid down by the university that employs you. Aug 23, 2015 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


I, personally, wouldn't use anything else. This might depend a little on the culture of your field (see Should I use my university's letterhead for a cover letter for a job application? for a similar discussion), but exactly as you say, using your professional email address might well cause someone to give your email an extra second of attention.


There are two aspects to your question: can you to use your uni email and should you use your uni email.

The first is relatively simple to check with the HR, or the equivalent/corresponding, office of the university. At my university the rules is that you are not explicitly prohibited from using the uni mail for personal matters, however since it's a state university and university mail is technically an official public document, anyone (random average Joe) can actually demand to see your entire mail record (It should be added that the person needs to motivate it, but for example a journalist it's not a problem at all).

In other words, you are not explicitly prohibited to use your mail for personal reasons but you cannot keep it personal.

The second aspect is whether you should use that address. That's more difficult to answer as there are several different variables there. If you apply for a job in the industry it might be a good idea not to use an email that will expire, like a university mail. The reasoning is that if they contact you two years later for your dream job, the mail will be lost in the ether abyss and your misfortune will be someone else's lucky day. But I can understand the reasoning behind your motivation as well, it might be useful to show that you are already within the system.

either way, good luck!

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    OP has written quite clearly that he wants to look for other postdoc positions, not an industry job.
    – tomasz
    Aug 23, 2015 at 18:40
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    I have a hard time accepting that anyone can demand a whole copy of your university mail and --barring extraordinary circumstances- that they will actually provide your whole mailbox without your authorization. Country and references, please.
    – Ángel
    Aug 23, 2015 at 20:01
  • @Angel Ahem. Admittedly, something like this is really unlikely to happen to a lowly postdoc, but it does happen.
    – JeffE
    Aug 23, 2015 at 20:28
  • @Ángel it has happened and stirred quite a big mess in Sweden. If I remember correctly, it was about a physics professor from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. It's been a while since I read the debate, so forgive me but I can't find it right now
    – posdef
    Aug 23, 2015 at 21:54
  • @tomasz sure, the question body says another postdoc application, however the question title says job application. My answer was for the benefit of wider audience, i.e. why it might not be a good idea to use university mail for a job application. Frankly I am not sure what you think you gained by pointing out that the OP states that the s/he is considering to apply for another postdoc.
    – posdef
    Aug 23, 2015 at 21:57

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