Configuring your email software to automatically add an email signature to outgoing messages can save time and help to promote yourself online. However, some caution is required when using email signatures.
Don’t include unnecessary personal information
I receive many emails from people that include a worrying amount of details in the email signature. These details often include the sender’s full name, street address and phone numbers.
While such information may not exactly be secret, blasting it across the Internet at large is probably not a good idea. Once an email leaves your inbox, you have no control over where it ends up. If it is the type of email that is likely to be forwarded, your personal details may spread far and wide and end up in the evil clutches of scammers, spammers and other undesirables.
If you run a business and use your email signature for promotion, then you have a legitimate reason for including your contact details.
However, if you are just sending private email, I’d suggest that you only include a first name and general locality in your email signature.
Ensure that the signature is appropriate for your recipient.
People often include a catchy saying or quote in their signature. There is even software that can randomly add such snippets. While this is all well and good, some such signature snippets may be adult orientated or otherwise inappropriate for certain recipients.
For example, if you are sending a message to an email discussion group, a signature with “adult” material or link promoting your website might break the group rules.
Thus, it is always a good idea to take a few second to check that your outgoing email signature is appropriate for its intended audience.