Medical Student Email Signatures (Important Dos and Don’ts)

According to a study at the Medical University of Seoul, South Korea, the majority of med students don’t write emails professionally. One of the main things that lead to such levels of unprofessionalism? The email signature.

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the important do’s and don’ts involved when it comes to crafting the perfect med student email signature.

Medical Student Email Signatures: 5 Quick Tips

You really shouldn’t sweat the details too much when it comes to your med student email signature. It’s really not that important in the grand scheme of things. Especially when compared to most other commitments in med school.

Here are 5 quick tips that you might want to think about, however:

1. Look At Your School “Brand Standards”

If you’re stuck for guidance, take a look at your med school “brand standards” information. You can usually find this on some area of their main website or guidance information. The directions here will tell you the best practices for crafting a professional email signature.

Take a look at this page from Johns Hopkins Medicine for example. Here you’ll see directions on what they expect from their representatives when it comes to email sign-offs. They’ve also got a cool email signature maker too.

The important thing to remember is that you’re an ambassador of your med school. Create a signature they’d be happy with.

2. Ask Physicians In Your UME Office

If your med school doesn’t have anything to refer to when it comes to making an email signature then ask the physicians or staff in your university’s medical education office. 

See what they have to say in terms of what to include (and what not to include). 

3. MD Candidate Vs Year of Study Vs Graduating Class

There’s a lot of debate among med students as to whether it’s right to include “MD Candidate” in an email signature. Technically speaking, it’s not. “Candidate” is reserved for Ph.D. students.

But some med schools might ask you to include it.

Most students agree that it’s better to have your year of study or graduating class year in place instead. This is because the former can sound a little pretentious.

Just because you see your classmates doing it doesn’t mean you should copy them!

4. Only Use Your Email Signature Formally

There’s really no need to include your signature on all your outgoing emails. That’s just overkill. Keep the use of it for when you’re contacting people on a formal basis.

Otherwise, just sign off with your first name.

Establish context (who you are, what you’re enquiring about) in the first paragraph if you can.

5. Keep It Simple

Here are a few things you definitely don’t need to include on your med student email signature:

  1. Your MCAT score
  2. Your GPA
  3. Your Step scores
  4. Any med school or med student-related quotes
  5. Any future statement of ambition (“future cardiac surgeon” etc)

That’ll just come across as arrogant.

Related: Why Are Medical Students So Arrogant?

Instead, keep things simple. Have both your names. Your year of study/graduating year. Then your University.

Nothing else.

Why Do Med Students Need An Email Signature?

The main reason med students might need an email signature is for etiquette. Having one lets people know who they’re being contacted by and in what context.

Other reasons a signature can be useful include:

  • Reaching out to people about research opportunities
  • Contacting the press or members of the public
  • Contacting professors or faculty staff

Having a signature for the email recipient to refer to just adds a look of professionality to your message. This increases your chance of being responded to in a positive manner.

How Should A Pre-med’s Email Signature Look?

It’s probably not necessary for a premed to use email signatures. In the case they do want to line up things like work experience, shadowing, or research opportunities though, a good one won’t do any harm.

Related: Do Medical Schools Actually Verify Activities (7 Important Answers)

Again, keep it simple. Just have your name, your class year, and your current University’s name (if you’re studying at one). Otherwise, just your name and a brief opening sentence on the context should do just fine.

How Should A Resident’s Email Signature Look?

Residents are out of school and already working in hospitals or clinics. For that reason, their email signatures might be a little more important. Especially as they’re likely dealing with patients or plenty of people outside their institution of work.

Of course, the same rules apply. The best resident email signatures are simple; having only their name, residency program and hospital name included.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to set up a professional email signature doesn’t take long. Just like setting up a LinkedIn profile, med students can benefit from the formality and look of professionalism a good one brings.

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