Don’t be absurd when creating a signature block for your personal or professional email account. Your signature block represents both you and your company (or even your employer’s brand image). Follow these eight guidelines when making your signature block.
The 8 best practices for signature blocks
- Follow the policies of your employer. I made this first point bold because, if you go rogue, you could get into trouble. If your signature block is offensive or inappropriate, you might even be terminated. Most organizations set a standard for signature blocks. They do this for two reasons; first, it is uniform and (hopefully) exudes professionalism and, second, it is somewhat attractive or informative.
- Know your role. If you fill a customer-facing position, consider your audience. A wild signature block damages your credibility.
- Keep it clean (aesthetically). If you include an image, a long quote, or noisy typography, you detract from the body of the email. The reader will hone in on your closing instead of your message.
- Keep it clean (linguistically). Don’t be profane or abstruse. A signature block should contain pertinent information about you, your position, and your contact information. Do not include inappropriate nicknames or any other information that someone might find offensive.
- Stay away from quotes. First, most people choose quotes that are overused to the point of cliché. However, if you absolutely must include a quote to feel expressive—and if your employer grants you that privilege—pick one that is inspirational, uncommon, and most importantly, from an inoffensive source. You might want to stay away from Sartre, George W. Bush, and Andrew Dice Clay.
- Include your email address and company telephone number. Your signature block, by design, is informational.
- Include your company’s vision statement. This might already be part of your employer’s policy, but if it’s not and if your employer grants you the levity, including the vision statement is a cool way to reinforce the brand. This is particularly useful for those in HR or marketing departments.
- When in doubt, scale it back. If you think your signature block is over-the-top, it probably is. Err on the side of caution.