It’s a pretty safe bet that all of us have hunted for a client’s or expert’s phone number in an email signature. And chances are, you’ve been frustrated when an email signature was missing the phone number (or the mailing address, or the office number).
That’s because there are certain conventions we’ve all come to expect from professional email signatures.
Think of your email signature as your digital business card, not your greeting card.
That said, here are some guidelines all Purdue Extension staff should follow when creating their email signatures.
Send Messages in HTML Format
Whenever possible, send email messages in HTML format rather than simple text format. That will let you control the elements of the signature much better.
If you’re using Outlook on a PC, you can make sure you are sending messages in HTML format by clicking on the File tab, clicking on Options, and clicking on Mail. For “Compose messages in this format” select “HTML” from the menu.
For Outlook on a Mac, go to the Preferences menu, select Composing under E-mail, and select HTML.
Use the Right Font and Type Size
Only use Arial font for your email signature. It is a common font that just about all computers have and it is common font family for Purdue Extension materials.
Make the font size of your signature the same size as the default size for your email messages. For example, if you email messages are in 12-point type, then use 12-point type for your signature.
Keep It Professional
A professional signature means sticking to professional information. Avoid inserting favorite quotes, amusing graphics, or similar touches.
Keep It ‘Purdue Extension’
Don’t forget that you represent Purdue Extension. Avoid linking or referring to other programs — no matter how noble. Remember: your email signature is like your business card and you wouldn’t advertise a USDA program on your business card (no matter how great the program).
Follow This Model
Here is a simple email signature model that all Purdue Extension field staff should follow. It may not be appropriate for campus staff who have split appointments to follow this exactly, but it is a good start.
This should be your full name as you would want it to appear on your business card. If you prefer Pete to Peter or Angie to Angela, use that. Set this line in bold to make it stand out. Avoid adding degrees or other certifications after your name.
Provide your official title. Set this line in italics.
Provide your unit name. Remember, Purdue Extension should appear first. If you have a joint appointment, include all unit names. Set this line in italics.
Insert a blank line after your unit name and before your contact information.
Provide your mailing address. Use as many lines as you need. For example, if you are in an office building, you can include the room number as well as the mailing address. You can include a post office box number (for mailing) and a street address (for visitors and deliveries).
Provide your business phone number. Include the area code and separate the area code, prefix, and number with hyphens (don’t use periods, parentheses, etc.).
Provide any additional phone numbers you wish (mobile, fax, etc.). These lines are optional.
Provide your email address. Set this in dark blue and make it a live link.
Provide your county or program area website address. Set this in dark blue and make it a live link. This line is optional.
Provide social media icons that link to your county or program sites (not your personal site). Social media icons and instructions for inserting them are available here under the Social Media Icons for Email heading. This line is optional.
Provide the Purdue Extension Co-Brand graphic.
When you create your email signature in Outlook on a PC, place your cursor where you want the image to be placed, and then click the image icon. Once you’ve clicked the icon, a Windows Explorer window should appear. When it does, find the Purdue Extension graphic and click insert.
Select the image in your signature and click on the link icon. This will bring up another window. where it says “Address,” enter the Purdue Extension URL (http://extension.purdue.edu — be sure to include the http://).
All field staff should include this graphic in their signatures. The exception is for email programs on mobile devices or other platforms that do not allow you to include graphics.
If you wish, you may include a link to the Purdue Extension EEO statement. This line is optional If you include it, make it 2 point sizes smaller than your signature font (so if your signature is in 12 point type, set the EEO statement link in 10 point type). The link should be EEO statement. Set the link in blue and link it to: www3.ag.purdue.edu/extension/Pages/extEEO.aspx.