When thinking about how to close out an email, all the clichés come to mind. How can you “leave them wanting more,” and “how much is too much?” How do you know if “less is more?” It’s tricky if you’re a job candidate because you have to strike a business casual or professional tone that is appropriate for the culture—when you don’t know exactly what that culture is?
How to End an Email
How you close a professional business email is essential. Job seekers need to strike the right tone—not too formal or stuffy, but also not too casual. You can’t leave out the closing; it serves a function in the structure of the email that closes the loop. But you also have to find the right tone that suits your functional relationship, even if you haven’t met the hiring manager yet.
Before we tell you what not to use, let’s name some of the endings that are probably better and safer for job seekers. We like:
- Ending with “best” is a smart, inoffensive, and professional way to close an email. “Best” as in, “Best wishes,” or “Best regards.”
- Thank you is okay to use in context, like, “Thank you for considering my application.” But don’t write “Thanks!;” the exclamation mark is just a bit much.
But what about the big no-no sign-offs? Which ones should you avoid if you’re sending out a cover letter to a hiring manager?
- Never use slang or acronyms, such as TTYL (talk to you later) or TAFN (that’s all for now). A professional email is not a text. Please don’t treat it as such. Along the same lines, never use xoxo—do we even need to tell you why?
- Sincerely is the old standby, and it still works in formal settings. But unless the email is a cover letter, it might be a bit formal or perhaps even cold.
- Using “Warmly” seems like it might work, but it’s risky and could also turn off the recruiter. Warmest is in that same family.
- Cheers—If you’re not British or Australian, “Cheers” is strange and pretentious.
- “Looking forward,” as in, “Looking forward to our next steps,” could work. But if you email “Looking forward to hearing from you,” but you don’t know if you’ll be hearing from the hiring manager it may be a bit weird. Along the same lines, “Speak with you soon,” may not work.
- The casual version of “Speak with you soon,” is “Talk soon.” Please don’t use it; it feels like slang and strikes a tone that isn’t professional enough. You could say, “More soon,” but again, that seems casual when you want to establish a professional tone. Too, how does the candidate know there will be more soon? It sets an expectation that may not even be real.
- “Yours,” seems incomplete. Yours what? You could try “Yours truly,” but that still seems a bit informal? “Yours faithfully,” is a bad idea unless you’re getting married.
- Respectfully could work. But it wouldn’t work in a startup culture. Think enterprise-level, executive c-suite role, instead of a developer shop where everyone is in jeans.
Email correspondence with a potential hiring manager or recruiter is an essential part of the job application communication process. But setting the right tone at the end of the email probably depends upon the job you’re applying to and the culture you’re trying to fit into.
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