I encountered, what I will admit is a pet peeve today, which is why I’m writing this article. I needed contact someone whom I correspond with regularly, but I have no reason to call or be called by them. So, after checking my phone, went to their email thinking this would be a fast and easy way to gather the contact information. Well, not true. I did eventually gather the information and contact the person, but what a waste of time, which is time they are being billed for one way or another.
The signature block should be on every email (both initiated by you and replied to by you), this was true even before the days of remote work, but for remote workers, contingent works, and works who travel frequently it can be a productive enhancer.
Plus, it is simply the professional thing to do and saves everyone time and frustration. Not to mention it makes you look unprofessional not having one. do you really want to do that to your personal brand?
As if that were not enough, including your signature block is free advertising for you and the company you represent.
Additionally, most email accounts let you build one or more signature block, which can be embedded in your email.
Where to place your Signature Block?
The signature block should go at the bottom of your email. I still use the five lines below the last line of the body of the email to provide white space before the closing, as I learned when writing business letters decades ago.
What should be in a signature Block?
The signature block should be compact and informative and at a minimum should include:
The closing is simply a polite way of saying I’m ending my message now. I usually go with the tried and true ‘Sincerely’, but others go with ‘Thank you’, ‘Best Regards’, or ‘Best Wishes,’. The main points, it should be short, polite, and professional.
This section should be followed by two lines
This line is your professional name (First Name, Middle Initial, and Last name) and designations (Ph.D.…etc.)
This is your chance to say who you are and brand yourself to the reader, in a way which your email address cannot. Especially, when you consider that many of us don’t control what work email address is assigned to us.
Your Business Title
Including your business title provides some insight into your role and professional expertise.
Your Company Name
Much like your title, providing the Company Name and Address lets the reader know who you represent and, perhaps, more importantly, it is free advertising for the company.
Your Phone Numbers
Including your phone numbers, both office and cell (if different) enable people to quickly reach out to you if they need or want to. Not everybody keeps all their infrequent business contacts in the phone directory.
Putting your phone numbers on your signature block, also, enable the potential caller to verify that the numbers which they may have are still correct.
There are other items are sometimes included, such as:
A company logo to enhance the appearance and quality of a signature block
The Company’s website to help customer find out more about the company and to direct business to the company
The senders email to reinforce the email address in the header of the email.
However, the guidance provided above will make you look a lot more professional in a hurry if you have not been including a signature block in your emails.
In the modern era, it is highly likely that over the course of your career you will have employers and, potentially, change professions more than once. Additionally, with increased global competition for skills, knowledge, and resources, it is important to ensure that you provide yourself the maximum earning potential to provide for you and your family.
To maximize your opportunities, you must always be thinking about your image, what some people call personal brand or competitive advantage. This includes, many facets and requires active consideration and periodic review to ensure that you optimize your marketing profile.
It is necessary to package your brand in such a way that it remains in demand, attractive, and provides a clear competitive advantage for potential employers, investors, and buyers. In this article, we list different areas, which can be groomed to manage and enhance your personal brand.
Personal Appearance- Grooming and Dressing
Appropriate grooming and dress is an important factor that needs to be considered when building or advertising your potentials to an organization or corporate places. The way you dress, look, speak and conduct yourself is very important when trying to market or give a professional outlook in an organization setting. Unfortunately, your personal appearance conveys a message about you whether intentional or not which is interpreted by potential employers, co-workers, and team members.
The clothes you wear, fashion etiquette and physical appearance, and how you comport yourself our contributing factors which have an impact on your ability to sell your value, which can range anywhere from getting the next contract, continuing this contract, whether you get hired, you get the next promotion, and the monetary value you get from wages and other reimbursements. Having a high level of skill and/or knowledge can provide some forgiveness in this area, but in the end, it is always considered.
Personal grooming for women includes brushing of air, painting of nails with natural colors, nails and teeth well-kept, clean and natural makeup, and fewer color distractions.
For men, their hairs, nails, and teeth should be always maintained, nice short haircuts, and well-shaved mustache and beards communicate a professional appearance.
Both male and female should wear suits or business casual attire which conforms to the norms of your work environment. Consideration should be given to wardrobe coordination such as, matching trousers or skirts with a jacket, patterns on them and materials from which they are made. Additionally, consideration should be given to ensure no overexposure to one’s physical features which can detract from your purpose and/or may be misinterpreted.
Blouses for women should be of natural colors and bottom ups, skirts should be of modest length, avoid dangling and noisy jewelry and shoes must be cleaned and polished.
Men also share some specifics such as a matching suit preferably made of wool, long sleeve shirts with cotton blend, no earrings or bracelets and use of jewelry to the nearest minimum, silk ties should be tied correctly while they reach the top of your belt buckle as they complement the suits worn, clean and polished leather shoes and use of long socks which matches the color of shoes and slacks.
It’s also important not to overuse of highly noticeable perfumes/colognes and making elaborated hairstyles. Overall your parents should be should be natural, classy and well covered.
Online Image and Communications
in today’s global village, information about an individual, an organization, and an individual’s relationship to an organization is easily accessible on the way through a variety of forms including social media. An organization and professionals should manage and take advantage this opportunity to build its brand. There are a number of ways to do this, some of which are:
create and maintain professional social media (e.g. Linkedin)
create and maintain a professional blog
create or maintain other professional and marketing websites
make immanence media available electronically 9e.g. SlideShare, YouTube, etc.).
It is important to remember when managing your online image, that information crosses boundaries so even though you don’t think your personal social media is available or that blog on whatever subject you choose won’t impact your professional image, be advised, that is true only if you manage what you communicate in those images and you purposely disassociated from your professional persona.
Online professional branding is very important as it creates an online identity, which is accessible to others who may be able to influence your future economic earning capability.
Essentials to be included in your online image are your professional attributes, expertise, and skills in such a way that it communicates your value to an organization or marketplace. Various organizations and employers are viewing your online image and it’s, therefore, important for you to have a well-constructed communication and an actively managed personal brand that provides a clear comparative and competitive advantage. You can think of your online brand is a major leg of your career marketing toolset.
There are various channels where you can build or communicate your brand to the online world including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others. It is recommended that you have a plan and a strategy to optimize this opportunity.
Appearing to Be and Being Organized
Appearing to be and being organized can be a limiting factor and can inadvertently be communicated, as well. It can be a something as some as the background of a teleconference being disheveled, which can provide a misimpression.
It’s important to appear organized and to be organized for a number reasons, which may include:
ability to handle complex and shifting requirements
your overall ability to adapt and fit in
the care you give to your work product
Additionally, being organized has the advantage of allowing you to work with minimal distractions and to quickly obtain necessary materials when working. This is true will that organization is physical in terms of bookcases office space and so on, but is also true of an electronic organization. From an electronic point of view, it can be as simple as how you organize files, how document and reuse professional information, and its potential impact on other team members.
Furthermore, it can communicate your ability to handle additional work and/or additional levels of complexity and responsibility.
Establishing and Marketing/Communicating Your Professional Eminence
Establishing your professional Eminence can serve as a means of indicating or expressing your presence in the marketplace. Communicating them exposes your personality, attributes, and skills in a way that your brand stands out compared to others.
As it was said earlier, advertising your brand with the use of online technologies serves as one of the easiest and effective means of establishing and marketing your attractive personalities and attributes to the marketing world. Establishing your brand by this means can be done by creating a website for advertisement and communicating through social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and so on.
Also, when establishing your professional eminence, qualities that set your brand apart from others need to be discovered and showcased. Certain traits, qualifications, and skills that have been acquired during your professional carrier serve as a primary step for establishing professional eminence. You must continue acquiring knowledge to become a master in your own field of business. Communicating your professional eminence requires an outreach strategy, so, more potential clients and/or employers would become aware of your qualifications and skills.
You must also locate and develop your fits and specialties in such a way that potential investors, employers, and clients would be willing to have a partnership deal. Because of this, it would be easier for you to market your professional expertise as your values and attributes would make you stand the test of time. Hence, your professional carrier has been impacted positively.
Safeguarding Your Personal Brand
safeguarding your personal brand is extraordinarily important and involves a number of factors. First, is making sure that you control your electronic communications, such as social media, to ensure you are not inadvertently undermining your personal brand. This can be as simple as making sure that things your posting on all your social media outlets or for that matter any other media outlets you use are of high quality and cannot be missed construed to undercut your brand. Now, this can be quite a broad swath of information anything from the language of those messages, the political nature of those messages, the religious and racial made numb nature of those messages. This remains true with those interpretations of those messages are what you intended or not.
Additionally, the accuracy of the information is important. If your communicating items, which are not factually accurate either through material fact or through omission this will most certainly undercut your personal brand at some point. As a matter of fact, it can undercut your brand in such a way that you may not even be aware that you were undercut. For example, an employer checks your profile and finds you been inaccurate about your education and certifications, they may cease to consider you and you may not even be aware you were under consideration.
The current mess and relevance of the content of your personal brand can also have an effect. If you’ve not been keeping your personal brand up-to-date it may appear that you will have obsolete skills, acquired no new knowledge, have no new work experiences, and/or have expired certifications. These can be self-eliminating factors in the eyes of others who may be trying to leverage your personal brand and make business decisions.
Also, this is especially true for social media, you need to manage your profile periodically and ensure that old messages are removed or if by accident somebody was communicated in the wrong channel it needs to be removed from that channel to minimize any future damage.
Your personal brand is an ongoing activity and must be viewed as such. Your personal brand is not a wanted to do item and must always be maintained and protected.
Your personal brand is your reputation and should be treated as such.
Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.
William Shakespeare, Othello
Creating and Maintaining Your Portable Eminence
creating personal eminence has several facets, however, the most important may be the portability of that eminence. It is possible to build eminence within the confines of a given employer, however, when you leave much of that eminence will be a proprietary property for that employer. It is possible however to build portable eminence materials without infringing on the proprietary rights and copyrights of any potential employers or clients. In the nature of these evenness products can vary greatly depending on your career field, the length of your career, and the nature of the work within their careers and perform.
Some examples of portable eminence are:
higher education from an accredited institution is a formal portable eminence if you have a bachelors, Masters, or doctoral degree, these go with you and do not belong to any potential employers or clients. However, the subject of these degrees and the age of these degrees can either contribute or distract from their value as eminence material. I degree, regardless of his level, without any additional learning and education provides minimal immense value.
professional certification is another form of portable eminence; however, it has a limited lifecycle normally about three years or the lifecycle of the product for which the professional certification was obtained.
Professional publications, published in a commercial venue, also provide portable eminence which can add significantly to your professional brand. However, it is important to keep in mind that the eminence value of any publication is directly related to its relevance to your career and/or the quality of the work. Professional publications can provide a large and varied opportunity depending on the publication channel of choice.
Books even e-books can be well worth the work to assemble and publish assuming you have enough content and time to do so.
Blogs and/or professional websites provide an incremental opportunity to create publish portable eminence materials.
Likewise, other channels provide similar opportunities to blogs and website publication for the publication of educational materials on such channels as slide share and YouTube which can be associated through other social media channels to enhance your personal brand.
Preparedness for the Next Opportunity
Personal branding goes a long way in communicating your preparedness for the next opportunity. This is extraordinarily important, for number reasons, the most important of which is we frequently have little control over when we may need that next opportunity. Employment and contracts can be unexpectedly terminated, which can leave us on the hunt for the next opportunity. If you’re not prepared for it, you can lose much time and effort gearing up to find that next opportunity, that prep time and effort directly subtracts from our earnings and earning potential.
Additionally, if you’re prepared for the next opportunity and that preparedness is communicated in your personal brand that next opportunity may come to you whether you’re looking for did not or mishap as has happened to me, when you most need it.
In addition to the unexpected, our preparedness for the next opportunity must also be in terms of the ever-evolving workplace. What we do today may not be a viable career path 10 years from now or 20 years from now. So, looking down the road if you couldn’t do what you do today, what would your next opportunity look like and what have you done to start pairing for? The answers to these questions and how you communicated in your personal brand may make all the difference, if you’re out in front of others who were not forward thinking and prepared, potentially, providing you with a comparative advantage out of the gate when you may most need it.