Less is often more with email signatures. In fact, when you put too much information in a signature, it can get confusing for the recipient and could even make you look desperate. But this doesn’t mean you should omit professional credentials. Your email signature is just one more opportunity for you to make a lasting impression, so don’t waste it.
Degrees, Then Licenses and Certificates
Listing credentials directly after your name is the accepted practice for email signatures. You typically start with your academic degrees and then follow with any licenses or certifications you hold. The Office of Communications and Marketing at NYU provides an example for a medical professional: Sarah Sampson, MS, PhD, RN, CCRN. As you can see, the credentials start with her two degrees, followed by her license as a registered nurse and then her certification as a critical care registered nurse.
The example provided by NYU also demonstrates the proper punctuation for listing your degrees, licenses and certifications. Avoid using periods in your credentials. For example, a Juris Doctor is listed as a JD, not a J.D. A Masters of Science is listed as an MS, not an M.S. Also, use commas to separate all degrees, licenses and certifications from one another.
The Bachelor Conundrum
In most cases, you shouldn’t include a bachelor’s degree as part of your email signature. The same could be said for an associate degree. However, a few exceptions do exist, and it’s up to the individual whether or not to include it after his name. For example, if you hold a specialized bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in nursing, Bachelor of Pharmacy or Bachelor of Laws. In these instances, you can list them after your name as a BSN, a BPharm or an LLB, respectively. Again, note the lack of punctuation.
Including the Rest
After you’ve listed your credentials, use a separate line to note your current position or title, such as Marketing Manager or Director of Operations. On the next line, either list the department or your employer. If your department doesn’t have a name, go right to the employer, such as:
Jon Johnson, MS, MBA
Director of Marketing
Next, tell the recipient how to reach you by phone -- on a separate line, of course. But resist the urge to provide every phone number under your name. More than one or two is too many. After providing a phone number, provide your website domain on the next line.
- Fast Company: 5 Common Mistakes You’re Making with Your Email Signature
- NYU Langone – Office of Communications and Marketing: Academic Degrees, Licenses, Credentials
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners: Professional Credentials
- Ithaca College: E-mail Signature Standards
- Lewis & Clark Public Affairs and Communications: Email Signatures – Public Affairs and Communications
- Photo Credit maxkabakov/iStock/Getty Images
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