I estimate that more than half of the emails I receive from executive job seekers have only one line in their email signatures . . . their name.
Sometimes their signature is the default they use in doing business through their employers, which may not be appropriate to use in their job search.
When communicating with potential employers via email, your email cover letters need to include a potent, branded email signature.
When creating your email signature, assume that the email recipient will know nothing about you, but will want to know about you and be directed to more information about your brand story.
Once you’ve started a series of email communications with someone, back and forth, don’t bog down the flow by including your email signature in each response, beyond the first one.
Your email signature is another opportunity to position yourself as a good-fit candidate. It should include a brief description of what you do and who you do it for (that is, your target employers).
Below your name, include your professional title (and/or areas of expertise relevant to your target), such as
COO – Global Business Operations Leader – Biotechnology
CIO – Turnaround Management Executive – Healthcare
You can also include a tagline to succinctly differentiate your ROI value and generate chemistry.
An easy solution for the professional title is to use the branded professional headline from your LinkedIn profile, if you’ve already created one.
If you’re not on LinkedIn (you really should be!) or haven’t created a keyword-rich headline, check out my post, How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Professional Headline SEO-Friendly.
To give you an idea, here’s what appears directly below my name in my email signature:
C-level Executive Personal Branding & Job Search Strategist — Executive Resume, Biography, LinkedIn Profile, Google+ Profile, Online Presence, Career Brand Communications
Your unique ROI value proposition … differentiated, strategically positioned, helping you Land Your Next Great Gig™.
Below that I note a few credentials, then list my social media links — blogsite, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter — and close with my contact info.
Configure your email account with an automatic signature for outgoing messages, using the suggestions below. You can always delete the signature before sending an email, if need be.
Here are some tips on optimizing your email signature:
Use your full name, not a nickname. Even if you know the recipient well, as part of the hiring process, your email may be forwarded to someone else who will have no idea who “Bobby” is.
Give them the best phone number to reach you anytime. Don’t confuse them with several numbers. Your cell phone is probably best, to avoid having someone at work, or someone you’d rather not, intercept the call.
Use your personal email address, not your work email. For that matter, don’t use your work computer either, for job search or any personal business. If you’re doing job search research or emailing using the company network – even if you use your personal Gmail account – your employer can track your activity.
Include a link to your personal blog or website “About” page, if you have one, leading your email recipient to your whole brand picture.
Include a link to your LinkedIn profile and Google+ Profile. Either of these can stand in as your executive brand hub, if you don’t have a website.
Include links to your Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, if you’re active there.
Consider including the following, especially if you don’t have some of the above essentials:
- Relevant certifications and credentials
- A recent noteworthy publication of yours (book, e-book, white paper, etc.) with the URL
- A link to a professional video of you.
You can cut down on the number of lines in your signature, and include just one URL for all your social networks and social media, by creating an About.me profile, or similar one-stop hub.
Platforms like WiseStamp allow you to include various apps in your signature, for social media activity, and images or graphics, for better visual appeal. But using them could compromise the appearance and functionality of your signature because they may not support all email services and web browsers. Images may be unviewable or pixelated.
It may be best to stick with plain text without special characters, to be sure everything will appear at the receiving end, just as you sent it. Only use characters that are on your keyboard, such as pipes ( | ) or colons ( :: ), to separate the text, and tildes ( ~ ), hyphens ( – ), or asterisks ( * ) for bullets.
Write out URLs instead of using hyperlinks, which may not show up in your recipients’ email message.
Skip your home snail mail address. You don’t want security-sensitive information floating around out there.
Avoid including a legal disclaimer notice, unless you’re required to for some reason.
An expanded, branded email signature will mark you as up-to-date and savvy to the new world of work. It will help decision makers vetting candidates like you learn what differentiates the value you offer over others.
Design your signature to resonate with your target audience, and entice them to want to open any attached career documents and consider you.
photo by Horia Varlan