A lot of things are done online and electronically these days. There’s not as much of a dependency on things like signatures anymore. Still, it would help to know whether you need to sign a letter of recommendation before sending one. This article will explain all there is to know.
Do Letters of Recommendation Have to Be Signed?
You do not have to sign a letter of recommendation, but it is highly encouraged. It’s a common formal trend, and a lot of people view it as a custom. If a letter of recommendation isn’t signed, many native readers might be a bit confused by the omission.
It’s very common in American English to sign letters of recommendation. You will often find that the letters are signed to show that it is an authentic letter that reflects the true values and thoughts of the person writing them.
Signing anything with a signature is a polite custom that came from old-fashioned letter-writing. While letters aren’t prevalent today, the custom has yet to die out, and it’s still popular for people to sign things with their personal signature.
Most importantly, it shows that the person you are recommending knows you well and has access to your signature. It’s much harder to forge a letter of recommendation when you have to ask someone for a signature that doesn’t look like your own.
Can a Letter of Recommendation Be Signed Electronically?
In the modern world, it’s very common to do things electronically. You will often find that websites will ask you to sign things electronically, meaning you type out your full name. This is an acceptable practice for a letter of recommendation.
To save time and effort, many people like to sign their letters of recommendation electronically. It means they don’t have to scan a penned signature, which is a lot easier for logistics.
Some electronic signatures also give you the option to use your mouse pointer to scribble your signature. As a side note, it’s much harder to recreate your signature with a mouse than it is with a pen, but it still adds a bit of a personal touch to your signature.
Is It Acceptable to Send a Letter of Recommendation Without a Signature?
You do not have to include signatures on things like letters of recommendation. While they do help and are useful for someone employers, they are not necessary. It is perfectly acceptable not to use them. You can just sign with your full name instead.
Today, most people avoid signing any of their electronic letters or emails with signatures. You will often find that emails are signed at the bottom with typical “signatures” relating to the full name, job title, and company of employment of a person.
Generally, as long as the email has a footer containing all of the main things that someone needs to know from the person making the letter of recommendation, it will be deemed as an acceptable document.
The only time when a signature is vital is if someone believes that your letter of recommendation might be fraudulent. The signature helps to give proof that someone else has written it.
Does a Letter of Recommendation Need a Signed Seal?
In very extreme circumstances, a company may ask that a recommendation is sent with a signed seal. This means that it is sealed in an envelope with the signature of the recommender on the seal to show that they have completed the letter authentically.
This only happens in extreme situations and is more common in jobs where authenticity is vital to job operation.
For the most part, a signed seal is not necessary. It is an over-the-top trend that most people avoid using. You will find that most companies will only ask for an email reference, and that will usually be more than enough.
A signed seal is a much more old-fashioned trend that is only appropriate in the most formal of cases today.
While you do not need to include a signature on a letter of recommendation, we still recommend you do so. Above anything else, it’s polite and formal. It allows you to prove that you are writing it rather than the letter being forged by the recommended candidate.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.