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Listing Your Degrees in Signature Files

List of Degrees in your signature file?

Signature files are used in business emails to be a quick identifier and to include basic contact information in every email. I’ve seen some informative and interesting sig files, but how much is too much?

Is it customary to put the college degree you’ve earned in your signature block? For example, John Doe, MBA…or something to that effect?
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You can do that — of course, only if you really have earned an MBA. I mention this because, over the years, I have actually busted folks with phony credentials!

What is Proper in a Signature File?

That is probably the better question to ask. Signature files quickly identify who you are, some contact info, and a quick link to your website. In some cases, your credentials. If apropos and listing the credentials makes sense.

For example, if I were to have an EE engineering degree, listing that in all my emails wouldn’t make sense, as I currently help folks succeed online. While the engineering degree may have applied in my previous life — it doesn’t presently. So I would look like I was showing off or being a smarty pants.

Suppose you have tons of credentials (alphabet soup) that you can list in your signature file, restrain from doing so. Instead, it is best only to list the primary, most applicable degree and point to your website for more information about you, your entire education, and your accomplishments. This approach helps you to avoid being perceived as egotistical.

After the Initial Intro, Drop the Degrees

Once communications are ongoing and less formal, you can entirely remove all that alphabet soup from your sig file. Moving to a more relaxed and casual tone guided by how your contacts respond is a great way to be more approachable and humanize your email communications.

Remember, you can have as many sig files as you desire with different levels of formality and information. No need to keep pushing that you have a degree once folks know (and probably don’t care).

You can establish a collection of signature files based on the type of person or market you are communicating with at that particular time. Check out my article on the Dos and Don’ts of Signature File Use for more tips!

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