Sign Off in Style: How to End a Letter Effectively
The way you end a letter or email is often just as important as the way in which you begin it. Crafting an effective sign-off can help to create a lasting impression and ensure your message resonates with the recipient.
Whether you’re sending a formal business letter or email, writing an informal note, or following up on a job application, there are certain rules of etiquette that should be followed when signing off. In this article, we'll discuss how to make sure your closing words leave readers feeling positive about both you and your message.
Importance of sign-offs in business letter writing
The purpose of a sign-off is to maintain professionalism, express appreciation or gratitude, and show respect when concluding correspondence. It’s also an opportunity to leave the recipient with a lasting impression—one that demonstrates your writing skills, attention to detail, and communication abilities.
Signing off should feel natural rather than forced. The tone of the sign-off should be appropriate to the content and context of the letter. For example, in a formal business letter, you might use “Sincerely” or “Yours truly.” Whereas on an informal note, a more casual phrase such as “Take care” or “All the best” would be more suitable.
Regardless of how formal your writing is, always make sure to leave at least one line of space between your closing statement and signature so that it stands out clearly. This will ensure your message ends on a professional and polite note.
Formal vs. informal sign-offs
To decide which type of closing is appropriate for the letter you’re writing, always consider the context and relationship between yourself and the recipient.
Formal sign-offs are generally used when sending formal business letters to people you don’t know personally or when applying for a job. Examples of formal sign-offs include “Sincerely,” “With best regards,” “Yours truly,” or simply “Regards.”
Meanwhile, informal sign-offs are more suitable for friendly emails or notes sent to family and friends. Examples of informal sign-offs include “Warm wishes,” “Take care,” “All the best,” “Best wishes,” or even just a simple “Thanks.”
Tips for effective letter endings for professional email
No matter what kind of letter you’re writing, there are certain tips and tricks you can use to ensure that your sign-off is effective.
First, choose an appropriate closing phrase based on the context of the letter. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to make sure that your choice of words reflects the tone of your message.
Second, don’t forget to include a call to action if necessary. Depending on the purpose of your letter or email, you may need to provide directions for what should happen next—for example “Please contact me with any further questions” or “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
Finally, be sure to double-check your spelling and punctuation. A mistake-free sign-off will not only leave a lasting impression on the recipient but also demonstrate your attention to detail and professionalism as a writer.
Common letter closing mistakes to avoid
It’s important to be aware of certain common mistakes that people make when signing off their letters.
One of the most common errors is using the wrong form of address. For instance, don’t use “Dear Sir/Madam” if you know the recipient’s name—instead, use “Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. followed by their last name.
Similarly, avoid using overly informal phrases such as “Cheers” or “Love” unless you truly feel comfortable doing so with this particular recipient. These types of words can come off as too casual or unprofessional in a formal context.
Lastly, never leave your letter or email unsigned.
Generic or inappropriate sign-offs
can leave a negative impression on the recipient and undo all of your hard work. Therefore, you should always take time to choose an appropriate sign-off that is tailored to the context of your correspondence. This will ensure that your letter ends on a positive note and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
Overusing exclamation points or emojis
can also give your letter an overly casual feel, so try to avoid using them in a professional context.
Neglecting to include a sign-off
can make your letter seem abrupt and rude, so always be sure to include a closing statement before signing off.
At the same time, it’s also important not to go overboard with salutations—stick with one sign-off and leave it at that. An excessive number of exclamations or declarations of gratitude will come across as insincere and overdone.
Incorrectly addressing the recipient
By taking the time to choose an appropriate sign-off that is tailored to the context of your correspondence, you can ensure that your letter ends on a professional and polite note. This will help you leave a positive lasting impression on the recipient and demonstrate your attention to detail as a writer.
Examples of effective sign-offs to end a business letter
When it comes to signing off your letter, there are a variety of phrases you can use depending on the purpose and context.
For more formal business letters, some appropriate sign-offs include “Warmest regards,” “Respectfully yours,” or simply “Sincerely.”
Meanwhile, for friendly emails or notes sent to family and friends, you could use phrase such as “Love and light,” “Take care,” or even just a simple “Thanks.”
No matter what type of letter you write, always be sure to end it with a positive tone that will leave the reader feeling good about both yourself and your message.
End your letter with unique and creative sign-offs
Sometimes you may want to go beyond the traditional letter ending and express your gratitude in a more unique and creative way.
For instance, if you are writing a thank you note after an interview or meeting, consider ending your letter with closing examples like “Gratefully yours” or “I am indebted to you for your time.”
On the other hand, if you are sending a happy birthday message to someone close to you, try something like “Wishing you all the best today and always” or even just a simple “Cheers to another amazing year!”
No matter what type of phrase you choose, taking the time to find an appropriate and meaningful sign-off will demonstrate your thoughtfulness and professionalism as a writer.
How to end a letter when you apply for a job
When you finish writing your job application letter, make sure to sign it with a friendly but professional closing like “Sincerely” or “Respectfully.” Make sure to include your typed name and any applicable contact information below the signature line in case the employer needs to reach out to you.
Thanking the recipient for their time is always appreciated, so feel free to write an additional sentence expressing gratitude before signing off. Examples of appropriate closings can include statements like “I appreciate your consideration” or “Thank you for taking the time to review my qualifications.” This simple gesture shows that you are truly thankful and interested in the opportunity. A strong conclusion will leave a lasting impression and could be the difference between an employer considering you for a position.
Use the following letter closings template when ending your letter:
<Your Phone Number>
<Your Email Address>