- Most professional emails should end with a call to action, sign-off, your name, title, and contact information.
- Be thoughtful about the sign-off you use in your email messages; avoid being potentially offensive or unprofessional.
- Some all-around safe and professional sign-offs include “best,” “regards,” and “thank you.”
Don’t overlook your sign-off; writing a clear, effective, and professional email is equal parts art and science, and if you put a lot of effort into making the body of your messages, don’t fumble at the end with an email ending that’s curt, rude, or tonally inappropriate.
That’s true whether you’re writing an email to coworkers, a potential client, hiring manager during a job hunt, or any other situation that can arise in your daily correspondences.
Tips for ending a professional email
You can think of the end of your email as a conclusion that ties everything together and poises you and your correspondent for success. That means that, for the most part, every email should have some kind of closing — don’t end your message abruptly and then sign off with a curt “Sincerely.”
It’s a good idea to get in the habit of closing any important email with these four elements:
- A summary or call to action: This is a final sentence that leaves your correspondent with the most critical information, whether it’s, “I look forward to continuing this conversation in our meeting on Monday,” “Thanks for putting your proposal together by next week,” or “Thank you for considering me for this role.”
- A contextually appropriate sign-off: Whether it’s “Thank you” or “Sincerely,” use some form of sign-off to segue from the email to your contact information. See the next sections for sign-off suggestions.
- Your full name and title: It’s a good idea to include your full name. Just your first name or initials can be too familiar for some kinds of emails, but more importantly, if the message gets forwarded or snipped, other recipients can lose the context of who sent the message.
- Contact information: If you’re sending an email, the recipient obviously has your email address. Or do they? Again, if the message gets forwarded or snipped, other recipients might not have access to the email header and may not be able to reply directly to you. Alternatively, you can use the closer to supply additional contact information, such as your phone number or website.
Email sign-offs you should use
Your sign-off in particular deserves some additional thought because many sign-off expressions have unanticipated implications or can convey an unprofessional tone. Here are a selection of all-around excellent sign-off choices that should serve you well in the vast majority of professional email situations.
- Sincerely: This is an all-around solid choice for all professional emails, but it’s especially suitable for initial contacts and when you are exchanging emails with recruiters and hiring managers.
- Regards: This is the vanilla cake of sign-offs — plain, unremarkable, and inoffensive.
- Best: Signing off with “best” works well in virtually any situation, though it’s somewhat more casual than “sincerely.” It’s a good choice for communication within your team and with correspondence whom you know well. Switch to sincerely for more formal messages.
- Thank you or thanks: Saying thank you (or the more casual thanks) is a great choice for email messages in which you, unsurprisingly, are asking for the recipient to take some kind of action. Even if the email is purely informational, it’s still a professional and inoffensive choice.
- Respectfully: This is among the most formal sign-offs you should consider using. It’s a great choice for emails sent to government officials or executives in senior leadership positions. For other correspondences, though, you might want to dial it back and use one of the other options.
Email sign-offs to avoid
Likewise, there are some regrettably common sign-offs that strike a very unprofessional tone and can offend some recipients, or at the very least demonstrate a lack of polish.
- Sent from my iPhone or Sent from Android: This choice is sure to trigger many people who see this as a weirdly mundane brag. While some people use this sign-off as an indirect way of saying “I apologize for the typos, because I sent this from my phone,” even that is a poor reason to use that sign-off. If you’re sending a professional email, take the time to clean up your typos, even on your phone. Note that your phone’s email settings might use this sign-off by default, so be sure to take the time to change it.
- Cheers: While a somewhat innocuous sign-off for people in the UK, it can seem contrived or pompous when sent by an American. If you wouldn’t greet someone with an English accent, don’t end an email with “cheers.”
- Yours in [religious icon of your choice]: Likewise, avoid “blessings,” “have a blessed day,” or any other religiously themed closer. The reason should be obvious; you should not expect your correspondence to share your religious culture, and anything you say might not just be tone-deaf or inappropriate, but catastrophically damaging.
- Thnx: Don’t abbreviate your sign-off. Email isn’t a text message, and many professionals expect email correspondence to be somewhat formal.
- Looking forward to hearing from you: At first glance, this sign-off seems friendly and engaging, but depending on the content and context of the email, this can be interpreted as a passive aggressive call to action. This might be fine for some emails — especially informal ones and emails without any sort of ask — but it’s best avoided if your email includes a request for a deliverable.