How to Sign a Letter for a Boss

You have several options for signing a supervisor's letter by hand.

You have several options for signing a supervisor's letter by hand.

In the days before computers were widely used, administrative assistants or other office personnel often typed letters based on dictation from the boss or from his hand-written draft. They also frequently signed letters for their supervisors. Although managerial personnel create their own correspondence now that computers are in virtually every modern work environment, you might occasionally have to sign a letter if the boss is out of the office. Ensure you know your company's policy about signing on someone else's behalf before you do so, and don't sign anything that represents contractual or legal obligations.

Ask your boss what format he wants you to use when signing a letter on his behalf. Get his guidance on when you are to sign for him and on what types of letters. Protect yourself by verifying with the office manager or senior administrative person that what you're doing is in keeping with company policy.

Type your boss's standard signature block, including his name and title. Above his typed name, sign your own name, preceded by the letters p.p. This stands for the Latin term "per procurationem," often abbreviated in discussions as "per pro." This phrase means you have been granted the power to sign on another person's behalf, in this case, your boss.

Use the written words "for" or "on behalf of" for a less formal but professionally acceptable alternative to the Latin phrasing, which younger business people may not recognize. Type the standard signature block and sign your name in the space above your boss's typed name. Write the additional phrase right next to or slightly below your signed name.

Type pairings of initials at the bottom of a business letter to indicate someone other than the boss typed the letter. Under the signature block, type the initials of the boss's first, middle and last name in all caps, followed by a forward slash or colon. Immediately after the slash, type your first and last initials in lower case. If your boss's name is John Robert Smith and your name is Jane Doe, for example, you would type JRS/jd or JRS:jd.

 

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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