Properly formatted correspondence reflects the CEO's administrative assistant's attention to detail and conformance to standard business processes. When a CEO directs her administrative assistant -- or, a typist, in some instances -- to prepare a letter for her signature, that CEO may not be around to actually sign the letter. In her absence, the person who prepares the correspondence may have authority to sign the letter on the CEO's behalf.
Many CEOs give blanket authorization to their support staff to sign their correspondence. Others limit signing authority to an executive assistant or another administrative employee they trust to use independent judgment. They might designate the types of communications they can sign and dispatch without having to obtain the CEO's approval. In this case, when the assistant who prepares the letter signs on behalf of the CEO, the signature should read: Mary Smith/by jd. The assistant signs the CEO's full name, a forward slash, the word "by" and the typist's initials in lower case.
When an administrative assistant or similar high-level support-role employee works closely with the CEO, employees generally recognize her as a stand-in when the CEO is out of the office or unavailable. Many administrative and executive assistants have greater latitude than some department supervisors and managers, because they work so closely with their CEOs and because their CEOs consider their assistants' decision-making capabilities and judgment in handling workplace issues. Some assistants -- Jane Doe in this example -- type correspondence directed by their CEOs and sign their own names to it, as in "Jane Doe for Mary Smith, CEO."
When a CEO dictates correspondence and the typist transcribes the letter, she formats it on letterhead and provides it to the CEO for her signature. In this case, the typist should always include the initials of the CEO, followed by a colon and then the typist's initials in lower case. This follows the signature block, meaning the closing salutation and the CEO's typewritten name. For example, under the space where the CEO signs the letter, the typist puts, "MS:jd," which indicates Mary Doe, the CEO, dictated the letter and Jane Smith transcribed it.
To make typewritten letters look like they contain a handwritten signature, create two different JPEG images of the CEO's signature. One image should be the CEO's signature without any add-ons, such as the typist's initials in the signature block. The typist can copy and paste this image in the signature block between the closing salutation and the CEO's typewritten name. Another version for the administrative assistant's use can be the CEO's signature, a slash and then the admin's initials in lower case. This one can be useful when the admin prepares the letter and sends it with authorization from the CEO.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.