Personal Branding and the Email Signature Dilemma

by Meg Guiseppi on February 17, 2014

Personal Branding and Email Signature

Your executive job search is underway, or about to be, and you’re working on your branded email signature.

What’s the best way to design it – with graphics, logos, and other pretty visual effects or just text with no enhancements?

We’ve all received email messages with impressive signature sections at the bottom that were well-branded and attractively designed . . . with logos, graphics and hyperlinks functioning perfectly.

On the other hand, we’ve all also received email signatures that didn’t function properly or come through as intended. Images and logos were blocked, hyperlinks dissolved, text strings wrapped badly.

The sender may have designed a great email signature, but you’re not seeing it.

For your own email signature, you’d naturally prefer the former.

Okay. No problem designing a beautiful one enhanced with graphics. But you want to be assured that it will function perfectly for everyone receiving it.

No such luck. It’s not possible.

Why not?

This problem was deftly explained by Rex Weston in his recent blog post, Email Signature Design, Layout and Content:

“[An email signature] begins simply enough, the user composing a message using their email program (Outlook, iPhone, Gmail, etc.). The formatting of an email message, and signature, almost always starts out perfect. The next step though, is that it’s received by someone who:

  • may be using a computer or may be using a phone;
  • may receive email in Outlook, Gmail, iOS, Android, Yahoo, BlackBerry or something else;
  • may have image blocking turned on (and if so, may or may not choose to display the images);
  • may convert all received email into plain text.

They then may reply or forward. In so doing, the settings and capabilities of whatever email program / device they are using apply to the whole message, not just to the new content they’ve added. The whole message includes the original email signature. Depending upon the combination of the above listed factors, the email signature may survive intact or may degrade (fail) in various ways.”

So, how do you play it safe, and create a branded email signature that will function properly for every recipient?

You settle for a stripped down, plain text version, with stacked content and include URLs instead of hyperlinks.

But, you make sure to pack it with brand-reinforcing content that will impress without graphics and other visual effects.

Here’s what a well-branded, text-based email signature for executive job search should include (not necessarily in this order):

→ Your Name (use whatever name, full name, or nickname you consistently use online)

→ Current job title and employer (if employed). If not, include the job title or job function you’re seeking, such as “Global Business Operations Leader” or “Senior Turnaround Management Executive”

→ Brief brand statement highlighting the unique value you offer (your branded, keyword-rich LinkedIn profile headline may work here)

→ Email address (use your personal email, not one associated with your current employer, unless you’re self-employed)

→ Phone (the best one to reach you – don’t confuse by including more than one)

→ Your personal website name with URL (if you have one and it’s job search-focused) or webpage or web resume

→ One or two briefly-stated career distinctions (could include relevant certifications/credentials, a recent noteworthy publication (book, e-book, white paper, etc.), a link to a professional video of you

[Social media – include links to each of your accounts, if you’re active there. At the very least,  you should have a fully complete LinkedIn profile, to lead people to further information about your brand and value.]

LinkedIn – your LI URL
Twitter – your Twitter URL
Facebook – your Facebook URL
[list other applicable social media]

Enhancements available to you are minimal, but anything sitting on your keyboard should work:

  • Pipes ( | ) and colons ( :: ) to separate the text, and
  • Tildes ( ~ ), hyphens ( – ), or asterisks ( * ) for bullets

To give you an idea, here’s my email signature:

Meg Guiseppi
C-suite Executive Personal Branding & Job Search Strategist
Executive Resumes | Biographies | LinkedIn Profiles | Google+ Profiles | Online Presence | Career Brand Communications

Differentiate and strategically position your unique ROI for today’s executive job search and Land a GREAT-FIT New Gig!™

Executive Career Brand –

Author, “23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land” –

Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist | Reach Certified Online Identity Strategist | Certified Master Resume Writer (one of only 17 worldwide)

Personal Branding Expert at, a leading Internet employment portal –

Twitter –
LinkedIn –
Google+ –
Voice: (XXX) XXX – XXXX

Related posts:

When Job Search Email Goes Missing

7 Things Successful Executive Job Seekers Know

How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Professional Headline SEO-Friendly

Graphic by © Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons

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