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Are you making full use of your email signature to brand your candidacy as a job seeker? With a few tweaks, this simple tool can play a key role in sharing your brand with recruiters, companies, and hiring managers. Related: Why Communicating Through E-mail Is An Ineffective Job Search Strategy Because email is a primary form of business and job search communications these days, it is imperative to think about how your signature is marketing you. If you think about LinkedIn as your online brand “portal,” your email signature is one small but important pathway to lead traffic (recruiters and hiring executives) to you. Every email provider provides a way for you to sign-off at the bottom of your message. Usually available via your email system’s settings page, signature files can always contain plain text and can often contain HTML or images. The typical length for an email signature ranges from four to seven lines. A job seeker’s signature can contain any of the following as appropriate:

  • Name – List your first or full name in a way that matches your resume, LI profile, and employment record. If you normally go by a nickname, be sure to include it.
  • Title – Since it won’t work to alter your title each time you send an email, use one that reflects the broad positioning of your LinkedIn profile. For example, if you’re looking for a CIO role but are open to director- and VP-level roles depending on company size, you might want to use a title such as Senior IT Executive.
  • Career Email Address – Never use your work email address for job search communications. Select a dedicated email you can use not only for your search but for all future career communications, and maintain that address for the balance of your working life. The most professional email provide is generally considered to be Gmail, which offers generous storage, great spam blocking, and many helpful features and apps. By the way, use an email address that includes some version of your name and avoid cutesy extensions that will raise eyebrows.
  • Contact Information – Include one phone number rather than multiples; choose the one that represents the best way to reach you. Make sure the voice mail message is in your voice and is strictly professional.
  • Photo – Some email systems allow you to attach a photo to your signature. If you elect to include one, I suggest using the same one on your LinkedIn profile to reinforce your brand image.
  • Career Targets – Since you’re using this email for job search purposes at least part of the time, it may be appropriate to briefly note your preferred position types, levels, industries, company types, and geographic locations.
  • Links – Embed hotlinks to your LinkedIn profile and any relevant online portfolio, website, or social media accounts you may wish to include. Make sure to use your custom LinkedIn URL rather than your default profile URL.
  • Closing – A courteous close such as “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or whatever word or phrase you are comfortable with.
In your email settings, include a shorter signature on replies and forwards so you don’t annoy your readers with too much detail about yourself. And remember to proofread, proofread, proofread to be sure your signature is perfect. Although most email systems will allow some simple text, others allow you to construct a signature out of tables or HTML, either of which gives you more extensive formatting options. If you like the simple approach, by all means set your signature up as a list of text with keyboard characters as section separators. Here’s a quick example:   Best regards, Jim   James Tyland, MBA Senior IT Executive Career Targets: Software Engineering Firms in the Western & Southwestern US 555.5555 www.LinkedIn.com/jamestylandmba   If you prefer a more elegant email signature, try an app or software such as Wisestamp, BrandMyMail, V-Cards, or EmailSignatureRescue. Here’s a more stylized signature I created in MS Word: Don’t waste your email signature space – use this valuable digital real estate to showcase your brand and your candidacy. And if you’re not currently in or anticipating a job search, check out these seven must-haves you need to manage your career proactively. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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About the author

A 15-time, award-winning resume writer, Cheryl Lynch Simpson serves mid-career to senior executives as a credentialed resume writer (ACRW), LinkedIn strategist (COPNS), and Get Clear, Get Found, Get Hired (G3) coach. Like her advice? Check out her website, ExecutiveResumeRescue.com for a complimentary copy of her popular Polish Your Profile LinkedIn presentation, or follow her on Twitter!   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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