When writing a cover letter to include with your resume, it's important to pay attention to every detail, since you only get one chance to make that first impression. So, what exactly should you include in your signature when you're writing your cover letter to apply for a job?
It varies, depending on how you apply for the position. The format and information included in your signature will change according to whether you are mailing, uploading, or emailing your cover letter document.
Does Your Cover Letter Need a Written Signature?
When distributing your cover letter online by emailing it or uploading it onto a company’s web portal, it is not necessary to hand sign your cover letter. Employers don’t expect to see your handwritten signature on your cover letter. You could add a scanned image of your signature to your document, but it is optional and not required.
How To Sign an Uploaded or Printed Cover Letter
Uploaded Letter: If you're uploading your cover letter to a job site, your signature will simply include an appropriate closing phrase and your full name. Place a comma after your close, such as Best, or Sincerely yours, and then insert your name in the line below.
Hard Copy Letter: When you're printing a hard copy letter, include a closing phrase, your handwritten signature, and your typed full name. Leave several spaces between the closing phrase and your typed name. That way, you'll have room for your signature when you print out the letter. Sign it using either blue or black ink.
Signature Examples for Uploaded or Printed Letters
For uploaded or hard copy printed letters, there is no need to include as much information as you would in an email message, because the heading of your cover letter includes your contact information.
Signature Example (uploaded letter)
Signature Format (signed letter)
First Name Last Name
Signature Example (signed letter)
Janet Dolan (Your Signature)
How to Add a Digital Signature
Adding a handwritten signature is an optional touch, though definitely not required, and it is possible to add your handwritten signature digitally. The simplest way is to use a scanner or a scanner app on your smartphone:
- Simply sign a piece of printer paper and then scan the page.
- After scanning, the software will give you the opportunity to crop the scanned image (that is, cut the image down to the size of your written signature) or you can crop it in Word.
- Once you’ve cropped your signature image to the appropriate size, save your signature as a .gif, .jpg, or .png file to your desktop or a folder on your computer.
- Open the Word document where you composed your cover letter and then insert the image of your signature into the document underneath your closing phrase.
- Remember to type your name below your handwritten signature.
Another option is to take the page you signed to any office supply store, and the store’s printer counter can scan your signature to a digital file. Be sure to bring a flash drive, or you can ask the printer attendant to email you the image file with your handwritten signature.
Signatures If You're Emailing
If you are emailing your cover letter or inquiry letter, end with a polite sign-off followed by your full name. There is no need to sign a cover letter that's being sent electronically. Write out your full name in the same font as the rest of the letter, and don't use italics or a handwriting font.
The formatting here is very similar to that in an uploaded cover letter. However, emails do not contain a header with your phone number or other contact information.
It's a good idea to include these details in your closing paragraph or after your typed signature. That makes it easy for the employer or networking contact to get in touch with you.
You can also include links to online portfolios, if appropriate, or a link to your professional social media accounts, such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
You don't want to make this section too cluttered, however, so restrict yourself to the most relevant information. Here's how to set up an email signature, along with more advice on what to include in it and what to leave out.
Signature Examples for Emailed Documents
When you are sending email cover letters, it's important to include contact information so the hiring manager can easily see how to contact you. At the very least, include your name, email address, and phone number. You can also add other optional information, such as your street address, online portfolio, or social media accounts.
Sample Email Signature
Sample Email Signature With Full Address
City, State Zip Code
Sample Email Signature With Social Media Handles
LinkedIn Profile (Optional)
Twitter Account (Optional)
Which Email Address to Use
Don't use your work email address for job searching. Use your personal email account, or set up a unique account to use just for your job hunt. Many free online email services exist, like Gmail and Yahoo Mail, which you can use to set up a new email account exclusively for your job search.
Even though you are using a personal account, choose an email address that looks professional.
Your best bet is some variation on first initial, last name (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org) or first name, last name (email@example.com). Here's how to set up an email account just for your job search.
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