Eleana Bowman
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How to end a professional email
Last updated: October 1, 2022
Eleana Bowman
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How to end a professional email
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Think of a movie where you thought the ending was unsatisfactory — maybe the final twist was implausible, or the finale was abrupt or unclear. How did it make you feel? Were you confused, dissatisfied, doubtful?

When you end an email the wrong way, you may have a similar effect on your recipient.

At best, they may wonder what next steps they should take or if they should even respond. At worst, it may cost you your dream job or a potential sale.

Here, we’ll look at why email closings matter for formal emails and what makes a good email closing phrase. We’ll also look at how to finish an email in eight professional ways compared to six sign-off phrases you should avoid.

Why are email closings so important?

As Jeff Shibasaki of Culture Gaps writes, “emails should be free of ambiguity and cross-cultural insensitivities that could lead to miscommunication, misinterpretations, and misunderstandings.”

A good email closing reiterates the purpose of your email, who the sender is, and provides relevant information for the next step. It leaves no room for misunderstanding or confusion, no matter who you’re sending the email to.

Further, an email closing is a good way of wrapping up a conversation. It serves the same purpose as a goodbye wave on a Zoom call or a handshake after a meeting to say thank you.

Brittney Cooper, professor at Rutgers University, calls professional correspondence such as email writing “a life skill and professional skill every student expecting to enter the workforce needs to know.”

As an important piece of the “good email puzzle,” it’s worth learning how to write good email closings, too, especially in business communication.

What should you consider when signing off on an email?

If you’ve been spending all your time tweaking your email subject line, know that closing your email well is equally important.

What are some things to pay attention to when signing off an email? Take a look.

1. Context

What is your email about? Is it a job application? A sales pitch? A follow-up after an interview?

Depending on the type and purpose of your email, you will need to choose a fitting ending.

Something else to consider: is this the first time you’re corresponding with a recipient, or is this one of a long series of emails you’ve exchanged?

This helps you decide if you should use your full name, include contact information, or state your designation to close the email out.

2. Relationship with the recipient

Emailing a friend is different from emailing a potential employer or professor.

Similarly, sending a cold email is hardly the same as reaching out to an acquaintance you met on Facebook.

When sending a cold email or reaching out to a professor or employer, it’s best to adopt a professional tone. On the other hand, if you’re emailing a coworker, acquaintance, or friend, you may use a semi-formal sign-off such as ‘Cheers.’

3. Closing line

Your closing sentence comes just after your call-to-action and states your expectations.

Toby Howell, a writer for Morning Brew, suggests directly asking for what you want instead of using a generic closing line such as, “Let me know what you think.”

For instance, in his application to Morning Brew, he closed his email with, “Let me know if you’d like to schedule a time to talk.”

(Image source)

This sets a clear expectation for the next steps and creates a sense of urgency.

Some other direct closing lines you might want to use could include:

  • Job application: Let me know if {day} works for you for a Zoom call.

  • Asking for more hours: Please let me know tomorrow if you can provide me with more hours.

  • Swapping a shift: If you’re good with swapping shifts with me, let me know today, and I’ll tell our manager.

  • Potential mentor: I look forward to learning more about the subject from you.

4. Sign-off Phrase

A sign-off phrase is used to thank someone, wish them a good day, or simply act as a formal goodbye.

Common sign-off phrases include ‘Regards,’ ‘Best,’ and ‘Thanks.’ We’ll cover these in detail below.

5. Signature

Your email signature includes your name, job title, and contact information. You’ll want to omit your job title if you’re applying for a job, of course.

What contact information should you include?

Your email (yes, again), phone number/Skype Id, and links to relevant social media profiles such as Jobcase, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all important elements that can be added to your signature.

This helps potential employers and customers learn more about you.

Avoid cluttering this area with big company logos, disclaimers, or unnecessary information.

It may distract the recipient from the purpose of your email. Instead, include one or two important links that can help verify your credibility.

6. P.S. Section

The P.S. section is an effective way to make your reader notice an important point in your email.

Your P.S. section, if you choose to include one, comes after your sign-off phrase and signature:

You don’t necessarily have to add a P.S. section in every email you send. But if you think of something that doesn’t seem to fit in the body of the email, you can add it there.

A P.S. section can also be useful to remind the reader of something important or give them a call to action. In the example above, the reader gets called to action — they need to let the writer know if they can’t find a time that works.

3 tips for ending your emails like a pro

Even if you’re an email writing expert, you can always learn a thing or two about writing a more effective closing remark.

Here are some tips for professionally ending an email.

1. Use your full name

Using your full name in your email signature immediately tells the recipient who you are and removes confusion. Without your full name or contact information, the recipient may treat your email as spam.

Short forms and nicknames are best avoided, as they may lead to confusion.

For instance, ‘Chris’ could stand for ‘Christina’ or ‘Christopher,’ so make sure you clearly specify.

2. Be professional

Closing your professional email with an overly casual sign-off such as “XOXO” or “See ya later” is a strict no-no.

You also want to avoid “clever” sign-offs like “Sent from Jack’s typewriter.”

In general, it’s best to stick to a conventional sign-off that matches the tone and recipient of the email.

Note: if you are corresponding with someone who speaks another language, you should be able to converse with them in their native language.

That means you should be well versed in ending an email in Spanish if the recipient is a native Spanish speaker. The same goes for French, Chinese, German, or any other language.

Use an email closing or signature that matches professional etiquette in different cultures.

3. Read it out loud before you send

Imagine ending a job application with ‘Severely’ instead of ‘Sincerely’ or a sales pitch with a broken website link at the end.

Reading an email before you send it can help you catch these awkward mistakes and fix them before it scorches your chances with the recipient. Furthermore, reading it out loud can help you catch awkward phrasing.

Here are some questions to keep in mind while reading your email closing line and sign off:

  • Are there any typos?

  • Is the closing appropriate for the recipient?

  • Is your request clear and the final call-to-action obvious?

  • Have you added your contact information?

6 unprofessional email closings to avoid

Now you know how to end an email like a pro. But it’s easy to make a mistake when you close out your emails. Here are six unprofessional closing examples you should avoid in business emails.

1. Using slang like ‘TTYL’

Avoid acronyms in your email closings. In fact, you should avoid acronyms in all your business emails when you’re writing in a professional setting.

You should also avoid slang and acronyms like ‘Thx’ and ‘Rgrds’.

2. Talk later

‘Talk later’ fits well in informal emails but doesn’t work well in a professional setting.

Let’s say you actually will talk to this person later. If you feel the need to express this sentiment, use the variation ‘speak soon’ instead. It’s still informal, but it fits better in a professional setting.

3. Peace out

You may have good intentions when you use ‘peace out’ to end an email. But, like ‘talk later,’ this sign-off is too informal for a professional email.

And although you meant it to be friendly, it can also come off as sarcastic in the wrong context. Remember that because email uses written words, you can’t inject inflection or tone of voice in it.

4. ‘Yours’ or ‘Yours Truly’

Both ‘yours’ and ‘yours truly’ have a personal tone to them. These are personal closings you should keep for friends or family.

Keep these out of your work emails, as they may make the person receiving them uncomfortable.

5. Take care

Writing ‘take care’ can be well-intentioned, but it can come off as passive-aggressive or as if you were giving a warning. Just like ‘peace out,’ this send-off’s tone is too ambiguous for a work email.

Stick to using this send-off in personal emails for close friends.

6. Emojis

Wondering if a well-placed emoji could help you communicate better? Not in a formal correspondence.

To be safe, keep emojis out of your work emails. They belong in informal situations, like when emailing or texting friends and family. While some coworkers may use them with you, it’s better to avoid them when you’re not 100% sure they’ll be well-received.

8 email sign-offs that never fail

Thomas Jefferson wrote one of the most popular closings of all time to newly elected president George Washington. He said, “Your most obedient and most humble servant.”

Should you write such an elaborate closing to your emails? Only if you want the person receiving it to treat your email as a joke.

Modern email sign-offs are usually only one or two words and quickly convey the sender’s message.

You’ve seen examples of what not to write in your sign-offs. But what can you actually write instead? Whether you’re closing an email to a professor or a potential employer, here are eight professional email sign-off ideas for you.

1. Regards

A variation of “Kind regards,” this is a straightforward, formal closing. It’s best for cold emails as well as job applications.

Make sure not to write the singular word ‘regard,’ as this mistake will make you appear unprofessional.

2. Sincerely

This universal and straightforward sign-off works great for a cover letter. Be careful how you use it, though, or it may have the opposite effect.

A good example of the correct use of ‘Sincerely’ is this LinkedIn outreach email, sent by Justin Bariso:

(Image source)

Thanks to this genuine-sounding request, the email won him not just a new connection but a mentor for life.

3. Best wishes

This sign-off is a perfect blend of friendliness and formality.

Keep the context of the email in mind before using it, though.

For instance, if you’ve just helped the recipient set up a new account, or you plan to do business with them, you might use this closing at the end.

You can also use the variation’ warm wishes’ if you’d like.

4. All the best

This is similar to “Best wishes,” but in a more semi-formal way. It’s a great closing salutation to use when you have a bit of rapport with the recipient.

5. Thank you

“Thank you” is the best way to express gratitude if you’ve just completed a call with a client or an interview. It’s also useful when you’ve asked the recipient for feedback or sent a request.

Be sure to use it sparingly, though, and avoid saying “thank you in advance.” A “thank you in advance” conveys that you expect the recipient to do something for sure and may come across as aggressive.

6. Faithfully

This is another semi-formal way of closing an email. Like “Sincerely,” be sure to use it in the proper context, and only when you mean it.

7. Cheers

“Cheers” works well for emails that are friendly and casual in nature. For example, emails to your friends or coworkers could use this informal sign-off.

8. Have a wonderful day

Feel free to substitute this with “Have a wonderful weekend” if you’re emailing someone on a Friday. Depending on your tone, you can also change the wonderful to something like “great” or “lovely.”

It’s a thoughtful sign-off that could be used when emailing people you know, such as a professor, coworker, manager, or employer.

Making an excellent last impression

Learning how to write professional emails from beginning to end gives you an advantage.

A professional email closing is the best way to showcase your communication skills and attention to detail. It leaves a positive impression on your recipient right at the end of your correspondence.

Some vital factors to remember when closing an email include:

  • Who the recipient is

  • The purpose of your email

  • The action you want the recipient to take

Remember, there may not be applause for writing a great email, but it could be the difference between a lost opportunity and a fruitful working relationship if done right.


Want to create more fruitful relationships and grow your network? Get involved in the Jobcase community today!

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