According to "The Etiquette Book: A complete guide to modern manners" by Jodi R.R. Smith, signatures serve a simple but essential function.
"Unless you are emailing a friend or coworker, do not assume that the recipient will know exactly who you are or, if sending a business message, be familiar with your organization," cautions Smith. "You may need to specifically identify yourself toward the beginning of the body of the email and/or include your title and company name as part of your signature."
Good advice, and something that is often overlooked. Email is so second nature to many people that they forget some of the basic formalities of communication. Your attention to detail not only reflects your professional image, but that of your organization.
Smith believes an email signature should have a few key elements:
Full nameCompany nameJob title or divisionMailing addressTelephone numberCompany websiteSocial media linksEmail address
Now, if you are a student and just starting your career, you should adapt this to project a more professional image during your job search.
School name (once you graduate, you can leave this off)
Major or area of expertise (ie Industrial Designer)
Website/Portfolio (professional site, not personal if applicable)
Social media links (professional only, like LinkedIn or a blog) optional
By Gretchen E. Burruto
RIT Office of Co-op and Career Services