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Etiquette column: Professional email signature block gives right impression

Friday, February 28, 2014 - 7:50 am

Q.: Karen, what kind of information should I have in my signature block for my work email?

A.: First of all, I think all companies should have a standard for style and content for all employees regarding what they want and don't want in corporate email signature blocks. When everyone is doing the same thing, it leaves a much better impression of any organization. These standards should be published in HR manuals.

The professional signature block should be “professional.” It should contain your full name, title, company name and contact information including phone numbers and extensions.

Avoid giving yourself an exalted title. Listing yourself as some sort of guru or other quirky name is unprofessional. Let others refer to you as the guru if they feel it is warranted.

Make sure your email address is professional and the one that is used throughout your organization. Keep personal email addresses for personal use.

Stay away from adding political, inspirational, religious or other quotes in your signature. The only quotes added should be the ones that are a standard for your company. Save your quotes for personal emails.

Don't list personal social media links. And be sure your company allows you to list your place of work on your social media sites. Keep your signature block to four to six lines.

Don't use your signature block name and information as your sign off in your emails. Space down a line or two before signing off on your emails. Set up your email program with several email signatures appropriate for the type of email your are writing or responding to. For instance, “Kind regards,” “Best,” “Respectfully,” “Thank you.” Save the “Cheers,” “xoxo” and other cute closings for family, friends and casual situations.

Don't add anything to your electronic signature that you wouldn't add or have on your professional business stationery or in your regular business correspondence.

Karen Hickman is a local certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy. To submit questions, email

Karen Hickman is a local certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy. To submit questions, email