For business emails, inserting an effective email signature takes a message from ordinary and forgettable to professional and persuasive. The statement holds true regardless of the email program used.
Emails are cropping up like crabgrass in hot weather. Many people have more than one email, staying up to date on business and personal messages by Smartphones when they are away from desktop computers. For business emails, inserting an effective email signature takes a message from ordinary and forgettable to professional and persuasive. The statement holds true regardless of the email program used.
Finding the Right 'Option'
An effective email signature can be created on free email accounts such as Hotmail and Gmail. Without any financial outlay necessary, adding or modifying one's signature is a useful tool for increasing attention to one's current project. Watch communications increase with desired companies and draw traffic to a personal website. The time spent creating a well-designed signature is well-spent.
Locating the screen to electronically add a signature can be found by clicking on the 'Help' section within the desired email account. Typing the term 'email signature' is likely to bring one directly to the modification page. For Hotmail, a personal favorite, select 'Options' at the top right-hand corner of the screen and then select 'More Options...' from the drop-down menu. Next click on 'Message font and signature' located under the heading 'Writing email.' Now begins the creation of a dynamic signature!
Colors... Or Not
Options available for customizing a personal signature include text color, font type, and font size. Think of color like a box of crayons. Would one really want to present a picture outlined with Crayola's 'Burnt Orange' or 'Caribbean Green' colors to a potential employer? Professional? Likely not.
Try to stay away from bold colors. Shades such as bright orange and pink are distracting and actually decrease the image of professionalism. The reader of the email containing a colorful signature may have personal dislike for the chosen shades, putting a dark perspective over the email regardless of what is actually written. The subjective dislike of a particular color is not an option when the signature sticks to a basic black font color.
Black, or even a deep blue, are acceptable and professional. Color consistency is maintained from the text of the email, which is by default black or dark blue for many email programs, through to the signature. The continuity keeps the reader's focus as the eyes sweep over the last line of the email onto the signature. The carefully made decision not to use vivid color actually gives the impression of not trying too hard. If a prospective employer thinks one has too much idle time by adding color and intricate fonts to a signature this is not a positive notion.
Lean toward classic fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, and Verdana. These fonts closely resemble default type of many email systems and therefore blend well with the body of the email. These fonts are not trendy and are likely to be suitable for whichever sender one wants to send an email.
These fonts are also not difficult to read, compared to more ornate fonts that resemble handwriting or cartoon letters. While 'email signature' is the phrase, it is best to use traditional font rather than actually looking like a handwritten line.
Size of the font is another consideration when creating an effective email signature. Making one's name slightly larger than the rest of the text in the email signature brings positive attention to the name. Being slightly larger, by one or two font sizes, captures the eye without becoming garish by being too large. Recommended font size for one's name is 12 when the body of the email font is 10. The rest of the words in the signature should match at ten to create consistency of the message.
What to Include
An effective email signature includes key contact information and is a promotional tool for one's career. Bragging rights have been earned by graduating college and experience in the related field of work, so why not tell people about the successes. People may not know information if one do not tell them; the email signature is a key tool to educate people about one's credentials.
Information to include is:
- Full Name - First and last name will suffice. Add in middle initial or name if that is how one is professionally known.
- Credentials - Include titles earned from degrees, certificates, or programs. For instance, list the Bachelor of Arts Degree as 'BA.' The short-form is well-known and faster to read. Remember people often skim emails rather than reading every single word.
- Occupational Title - List one's current occupational field or field where one aspires to develop using the email signature. An example is 'Nurse Practitioner.'
- Contact Information - Tell the email recipient how to contact the sender. Include one's address, phone number(s) and email(s).
- Link to personal website(s) or current project(s). Including this information gives the email recipient free reign to look over credentials listed on a personal website at their own leisure. The website may just be the extra 'oomph' needed to prompt a manager to email a job opportunity in response to an initial email after reading a unique piece on the website. Without the email signature, that manager may never have known of the website.
The signature highlights personal accomplishments without being intimidating, unprofessional or aggressive. Including this information also saves having to add it each time an email is sent. The email signature automatically appears for new messages and settings can be modified so that reply messages also include the effective signature.
Keep in mind that what makes an effective email signature today may not be as effective in another year. Signatures may need revision over time as trends and personal preferences change. As well, one's contact information may change and the signature should contain the most up-to-date personal information available.