Application by email: how do I sign an online application?

How do I sign the cover letter and CV for an online application by email?

In principle there are two options:

  • Enter the name using the keyboard, instead of a signature, in normal or italic type
  • Sign on a piece of paper, scan in the signature and insert the graphic into the cover letter and CV.

Which variant do personnel decision-makers and application consultants recommend and what do most applicants do? Answers and tips for practical implementation as well as interesting tips for signing from the writing coach can be found in this article.

Sign the email and online application

What do personnel decision-makers and application advisors recommend?

In summary: The scanned and inserted signature is a formality that applicants can do without , because it is not a knockout criterion for the application whether the signature was scanned or the name was simply inserted with the keyboard.

However there are personnel decision-makers who see a particular effort on the part of the applicant in the scanned signature and thus pay more attention to the application – if this extra step is technically well implemented (practical tips below).

What else has to be considered when making a decision …

Applicants should consider the following when making a decision:

Email applications are usually printed out for interview participants. Compared to a typed signature, the application with a handwritten signature looks more personal.

What do most applicants do?

More and more applicants are making the effort to scan the signature and insert it into the application documents. Once the graphic has been created, there is little effort to insert the signature in further applications.


For an application phase with several applications it is worth the effort to scan the signature and insert it into the documents, because it is beneficial to the overall picture of the application and the application appears more personal – if the whole thing is technically well implemented.

If you only apply quickly for a single position, you can do without the intermediate step, as the missing scanned signature is or should not be a knockout criterion.

Image result for signing

Step-by-step instructions for scanning and inserting the signature

Preparation: material list

  • A fountain pen or rollerball in wide, dark blue letters. This rollerball did the best in our test and is also cheap.
  • A sheet of white paper , a pad or a second sheet of paper
  • A scanner or copy shop with a scanner (taking a photo of the signature did not bring good results in tests).

The signature

  • Sign your first and last name on the piece of paper.
  • Is the signature legible? This is important. A repetition of the name in block letters below the signature is not common in applications and would be inappropriate.

Tips from the writing coach

Applicants should be aware of the effect of their own signature. Therefore, here is an excerpt from the tips from writing coach Susanne Dorendorff, who specializes in signatures and works with managers and management consultants to obtain a signature that is appropriate to the status :

The space on the paper
“The good signature starts with the pen: from touching the pen – holding the pen like a chopstick parallel to your index finger – to putting on the nib to the very end you have to convey with your gestures: ‘Attention, here I am writing!’ This is territory conquest, this white space belongs only to you! Where you leave traces with ink, no one else can write. ”

The flourishes
“Men don’t write flourishes. Most want a swinging signature, with capital letters and arcs. The main thing is that no jagged font that looks like a heart curve in a hospital. Because it doesn’t seem authoritative, but aggressive. The psychological effect of typefaces should not be underestimated. ”

The final point
“A signature must always have a tangible ending. At the end, hold the nib on it for a longer period of time to create a point. That signals: I have the last word, I am the decision maker, not a follower. ”

Scan signature

  • Scan the sheet, at least with 300 dpi, better with 600 dpi
  • It is best to save the scanned sheet in .png format, as this delivers the best results.

Reduce the cutout

  • The section is reduced in the scan program or with Google Paint, i.e. the signature is saved again with as little white border as possible.

Insert the signature

  • In the menu of the writing program on “Insert”, then on “Image” or “Graphic” and then select the signature file.
  • If necessary, the size and position of the signature should be adjusted so that it appears consistent in relation to the remaining font size.
  • After the signature in the cover letter comes the term “Attachments”.

An important test

  • Save the cover letter as a PDF and print it to make sure that no edges are visible.
  • The signature will then be added to the curriculum vitae.

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