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What your emails say about your personal brand

No one wants to ... be directed to your personal blog of funny cat videos in your email signature

Believe it or not, the first email was sent way back in 1971, but it's only in the last decade or so that this form of communication has become omnipresent. Many people are still working out how to use email a professional way and, frankly, plenty of people are causing themselves damage every time they hit send. Are you making the following common faux pas?

Inappropriate email address

Any business address that ends with @hotmail.com or @gmail.com rather than a company name is likely to set alarm bells ringing that you're an amateur. Always err on the side of formality if in doubt, but the appropriate email address will depend on the type of business you're operating and industry you're working in. For instance, funkyalex@design.solutions.com.au might be fine if you're a graphic designer, but it should probably be alex.jones@beancountersltd.com.au if you're a bookkeeper (See: Ditch that dopey email address).

Over-the-top signature

Your email signature should contain your job title, the name and website of the organisation you work for and your contact details. Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, adding anything else is at best redundant and at worst counterproductive. Trust us, no one wants to read about your impressive list of qualifications or be directed to your personal blog of funny cat videos in your email signature.

Overly familiar sign-off

The sign-off has been uncomfortably grafted from letter writing to a much more advanced form of written communication. It may well disappear entirely in the future, but until then it's safest to stick with conventional pleasantries such as ‘Kind regards' or ‘Sincerely'. ‘Cheers' should be reserved for those you can safely be informal with and the kissy symbol (‘x') should always be used with caution.

One final tip: don't forget to proofread your emails before sending them. Bad spelling and/or poor grammar will lead others to think you either don't care about precision or are simply sloppy with work.