Love it or hate it, email is here to stay and so are those lame sign offs. You know the ones, the signatures that make people cringe, clog spam filters or worse make the same corny joke over and over. Are you guilty of any of the following?
“Best,” along with “regards” and variations of either are some of the most boring and awkward ways to end an email. Both are a little too formal for most of the casual emails you send on a regular basis, but not formal enough to actually save you time when you’re sending an important email to a candidate or your boss. It’s an attempt as a catch-all which doesn’t catch anything, so it’s useless and fluff in most cases. It rarely communicates your tone and always makes you look like a zombie. Try instead: Cheers!
More information than anyone will ever need
If you’re doing business, you need a quick way for people to contact you. Listing your contact information in your signature does that. Some people prefer phone conversations to email. We understand the needs. But what we don’t understand is why people need to list five phone numbers, a fax, their company name, and their address every time they send out an email. You don’t always need them and you definitely don’t always want to have such information out there. It also makes it less likely someone will actually contact you. Try instead: Your cell phone number and email address.
Making it Too Big
If your signature takes up more space than the message you’re sending every time, it may be time to reconsider how big your signature is. Big signatures can distract from whatever message you’re sending, can be mistaken for the message itself, and confuse spam filters into thinking you’re a robot. Keep it small, and keep it relevant. Candidates, employers, and whoever else you send emails to will thank you for it. Try instead: Your name a linked statement your rotate monthly.
Tweet This: If your signature takes up more space than the message you’re sending, it may be time to reconsider.
Using an Image
When you use an image, you’re relying on the other person’s emails client to be compatible with whatever format you’re using, and that can be tricky, especially if you’re contacting someone who uses corporate email. Even worse, you can’t copy and paste text in an image, which means if you make your phone number an image the recipient will have to copy it down manually. Try instead: Uh, not using an image...
Not everyone appreciates the daily reminders to hang in there. If you need these messages to keep you going, that’s fine, but keep them somewhere you’re more likely to see them. Additionally, these sort of quotes often make you look unprofessional, and tend to be tacked on to a bunch of information, again making your email signature larger than it needs to be. Try instead: Creating your own catchphrase!
Businesses tend to frown on showing your political affiliation at work. You may be passionate enough about a particular issue that you want everyone to know your stance on it, but that doesn’t make it a good idea to share with certain people. If someone’s going to reject your proposal, they’re probably not going to be swayed by your stance on an issue. And if someone doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t do you any favors. Keep fighting for your cause, but make sure it doesn’t affect your ability to make valuable connections. Try instead: Your company website.
Too Much Formatting
Just as with images, this one relies on the receiving being able to see the actual code. The difference is that when the HTML coding in your signature doesn’t work, it makes your message look convoluted and inflated, meaning your actual message can get lost in all the brackets and other symbols. Some HTML signatures are fun, but they’re usually not worth it, since they can negatively impact what you’re trying to say. Try instead: Plain text with a max of 2 links.
Tweet This: Don't drown out the rest of your message with a bad email signature. Check out the 10 worst ones!
If bad formatting can confuse your message, link shorteners can delete it. Spam emails use lots of links to get people to click on them, so spam filters are trained to sniff out links in emails. If you’re using link shorteners in your email, there’s a good chance a filter will catch it and get your email sent to the wrong folder. If there’s important information you need someone to access on the other side of that link, then consider putting it in the signature itself (provided there isn’t too much of it). Try instead: A custom URL shortener or a simple link that looks like words but hides the bit.ly or URL shortener behind.
There are a couple of reasons you shouldn’t use legal disclaimers in your email. For one, they’re usually much too long for anyone to actually read, and like most methods of clogging up a signature, it can confuse your message. Another great reason not to use them is that they don’t actually work. Email disclaimers are not legally enforceable. So it won’t protect your email from being forwarded to the wrong person (though if it contained classified information, there’s still legal recourse to take that putting a disclaimer in the email itself won’t help with). It only offers a small sense of security that isn’t really there. Try instead: Not using disclaimers that only make you look like an amateur lawyer.
Your Email Address
We already have your email because you just sent us one. There are tons more bad practices in email signatures, but these are the worst. When it comes to emails, it pays to be short, interesting and relevant. And to not get picked up by spam filters. Try instead: Your LinkedIn profile.
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