Keep it Professional: Nailing Down the Perfect Email Signature

By CSU Global - August 7th, 2017

email signature tips from CSU Global

And other correspondence do’s and dont’s

Maybe your email signature isn’t something you think about much, but perhaps you should. Consider this – your signature is part of your personal brand. By creating a professional signature, you’re taking advantage of an opportunity to promote that brand. Why waste it?

When you initially set up your email account, the server likely offered the opportunity to add an automatic signature on outgoing messages. What may have seemed like an unimportant detail may hold you back as you transition into your college studies and professional life. No one that matters is going to take you seriously if your email is signed“Catch ya on the flip side! -Mike”? No matter how eloquently worded the remainder of your email is, a goofy or unprofessional signature can devalue the credibility of the entire message.

So, what does a professional email signature look like? And what are the small details that can make a big difference in professional correspondences? Take a look at the following simple tips for success.

Basic Elements

Not sure where to begin? These are the essential components that make up a solid and professional email signature:

  1. Name – Because you want your name to stick in the mind of your email recipient(s), it’s important that your name be the main element of your signature. Consider utilizing a font that is slightly larger, that is bold, or that is a different color than the remainder of your text. Avoid using unprofessional nicknames.
  2. Contact Information – Make it easy for your email recipients to get back to you in a way that’s most convenient for them. This means, at minimum, including your telephone number. The inclusion of a mailing address is optional, but it can give you more credibility. Do NOT, however, include your email address in your email signature. This is redundant.
  3. Professional Social Links – Including links to professional social profiles like LinkedIn can add to your professional image while allowing your recipients to get to know more about you. Other social profiles may also be relevant, so long as they speak to your professional interests. As an example, an aspiring photographer might maintain Instagram or Facebook pages to display their talent. Including links to these profiles could help with an internship or job prospect.
  4. Responsive Design – Remember that people may be accessing your email from a PC, smartphone, tablet, or other type of mobile device. It’s smart to make sure that your email signature features responsive design that will look professional, regardless of the medium. Also, unless you need the world to know you have Apple devices, remove “sent from my ipad/iphone” message. This is your branding opportunity, not your device manufacturer’s.
  5. Where should it be? At the bottom of your email, before any quoted text or previous emails. To avoid the recipient of your correspondence having to search through emails to find your contact information, be sure to have the setting activated.

Optional Components

For those who want to make their mark and stand out (while still remaining professional), here are a few ideas for personalizing your signature:

  • Salutation – In addition to the basic elements listed above, you might want to close things out with a warm but professional salutation. It’s important to keep a salutation brief and to-the-point. A long, flowery farewell or a lengthy, inspirational quote may seem like a good idea, but these are likely to make your signature appear cluttered and unprofessional. Keep it simple with lines like “Sincerely” or “Thank You”.
  • Photo – A growing number of professionals are starting to incorporate photos into their email signatures. A clean, professional headshot will allow readers to put a face to your name.
  • Logo – Entrepreneurs who are trying to brand themselves may have a logo that they would like to display in their email signature. Let’s look back to the example of the aspiring photographer. Perhaps this individual has started a small photography enterprise and does photos-for-hire during their spare time. Including their brand’s logo could make a positive impression on email recipients.

Other Helpful Tips

In addition to mastering your professional email signature, the following tips will help you generate successful and reputable emails:

  • Color – When it comes to email correspondence, the professional world tends to be very black and white. Using wild colors – whether for text or for the background – can be off-putting and viewed as unprofessional. Even simple colors can make it difficult for recipients to read your message, so stick with black text on a white background.
  • Font – Everything your high school English teacher told you about fonts was true: Times New Roman and Arial are the most accepted fonts, and deviating too far from the norm can get you into trouble. Especially as some fonts won’t translate well from one email client to another.
  • Spacing – Don’t clump all of your text into a single block. Proper spacing makes it easier for readers to digest your message, and makes it more likely that your email recipients will actually take the time to read what you have to say. Also try breaking up large blocks of text into bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Spelling & Grammar – Don’t think that just because it’s email, you can slack off on spelling and grammar. Studies have shown that emails littered with errors are viewed in a negative light. Utilize those spelling and grammar checks, but also read through your email out loud to make sure that the software isn’t missing something and that you’re tone is what you intended.

With a rock solid CSU Global education and a professional email, you’re bound for success! Get out there and start communicating.

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