5 Quick, Easy, (and Free!) Ways to Create an Awesome Email Signature Today

If you’re looking for a simple way to instantly make yourself look professional, look no further than your email signature. If you don’t have one, or if it’s simply your name, or “sent from my iPhone,” you’re missing out on a quick, easy way to look better and be easier to reach.

If you’re not a graphic designer, don’t worry: Anyone can create a top-notch signature—there are apps for that. For example, tools like NEWOLDSTAMP help you design an impressive one for free. Signature Maker, Mail-Signatures.com, and ZippyPixels’ customizable signature templates (note: Photoshop required for the last one) are all free, customizable templates.

But you may be wondering what among the various ways to reach you should actually be there. What’s helpful, what’s impressive, and what’s, well, overkill? Here are five best practices to keep in mind—plus examples of what they’d look like!

1. Don’t Make it a Laundry List

When you design your email signature for the first time, you may be tempted to list every possible way someone could contact you. However, providing an overwhelming amount of information is one of the most common rookie mistakes. When you share too much, you make reaching out more difficult, leaving the other person to wonder how you’d actually prefer to be contacted . So, pick the top two to three best means for getting in touch.

This signature was created using NEWOLDSTAMP.

2. Link to Your Social Media Profiles

More than half of all companies consider job applicants’ social media profiles, so as long as you keep your profiles professional (and maybe even a little witty), you should include them. Bonus points if you link to LinkedIn.

This signature was created using HTMLSig.

3. Include Your Website

You designed a personal website to showcase your skills, so you should absolutely include it in your signature! Telling employers about your projects in your cover letter is one thing, but showing them on an up-to-date and professional website is a good way to stand out early in the application process. A simple link in your signature can be just the right touch.

This signature was created using Mail-Signatures.com.

4. Connect Your Name to a Face

When you send an email, the other person often times can’t picture you being a real, live human being, rather than an email address. (And sometimes you’ll prefer that!) However, putting a face to your name helps to connect the reader to the concept that you’re more than your message. Which, I can only hope, makes it harder to say no any requests you have. Not to mention, this makes first-time coffee meetings less awkward.

Oh, and good news: You can take a professional headshot for free.

This signature was created using HTMLSig.

5. Get Creative

Of course, signatures don’t have to stop at contact information. Are you really proud of an event you participated in or something you’ve published? Include it! Mention some of the most well-known magazines or wesbites where your writing has been published, or link to your recent talk that’s up on YouTube. (Just remember not to turn this section into an overwhelming block of text or images. Pick the best, most industry-relevant feature you’d like to showcase—and for everything you add, look at what you can cut.)

These signatures were created using Wisestamp.

Pro tip: To access promotional buttons for YouTube or other sites, you may be asked to sign up for a premium account. To avoid this, you can simply use the free features to create the main part of your signature, then use the signature field in your email to manually add the features you’d like to showcase, which is what I did for the example below:

This signature was created using HTMLSig and Gmail.

If you’re looking for a quick way to boost your branding—on literally every email you send—look into one of these free signature options. It’s true: You might not get comments on how improved it looks, but it’s one of those touches that reinforces how attuned you are to making a strong professional impression.

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