The Best (and Worst) Email Sign-Offs for Job Seekers
This is it. You’ve found the job of your dreams. After meticulously assembling a cover letter and custom resume that carefully highlights your relevant skills and work history, it’s time for your email sign-off, and you’re drawing a blank.
How should you sign off on your job application? Is “thanks” good enough, or should you go with something classic like “sincerely”? What about updating your email signature? Is “sent from my phone” acceptable these days?
The definition of acceptable and unacceptable communication changes over time. And that includes signing off on an email to a prospective company. It’s easy when it’s friends and family. But, when it’s a prospective employer, it’s not always easy to find the right sign-off to express your interest in the job without sounding needy.
While the “worst” email signatures may be obvious, you might be surprised which signs-off end up on the “do not use” list. And, there are several email sign-offs to companies on the approved list that are surprising and also divided our experts.
The Best Email Sign-Offs to an Employer
Before we tell you what the best (and worst) email sign-offs are, here’s a pro tip: there is no one “best” email sign off that will guarantee you get the interview or the job. There are only email sign-offs that are “better” than others.
In the end, a well-crafted cover letter and resume, along with a fantastic interview, will help you in your job search. But, using one of the “better” sign-offs will improve your chances of moving ahead because, if nothing else, they will always make you sound like the professional you are.
“Best” is a shortened version of “best regards,” and is often thought of as the sender sending positive feelings (or wishes) to the recipient. While most people see it as a sincere and authentic sign-off, there are those that consider “best” a bit corny or even inauthentic when you don’t have a prior relationship.
This was one of the sign-offs that caused a division among our experts. Brie Reynolds, Career Coach and Development Manager at FlexJobs, says that she has seen “best” used frequently. However, she cautions job seekers not to use it until “you know someone at least a little bit or have a more casual relationship with them.” And, Career Coach Betsy Andrews confesses that she’s never seen it.
However, for most, “best” is the “best” sign-off. It generally comes across as professional without being too personal. If nothing else, “best” is fairly neutral and inoffensive.
This email sign-off is a little more formal than its sister “best,” but it works well, too. You can use “best regards” when you’re emailing a potential employer for the first time and then revert to “best” after that.
Similar to “best regards,” “best wishes” is a little more formal than some of the other sign-offs and is what Reynolds recommends you use when you’ve never interacted with someone. Much like “best regards,” you can revert to “best” once you’ve established a relationship with the recipient.
“Warm regards” is another sign-off that splits experts. This sign-off can be a way to thank someone without using the words “thank you.” It displays a comfort level with the other person without crossing any boundaries.
While this can be an acceptable sign-off, some experts warn you should never use this sign-off until after you’ve established a relationship with the recipient. Still, others say this sign-off is never appropriate in business emails and could be viewed as “fake” if the recipient feels you aren’t a particularly “warm” person.
This email sign-off has specific uses. For example, if you’ve been contacted by a hiring manager who wants to schedule an interview with you, you can sign off your email by writing “looking forward.” Not only does it show optimism on your part, but it conveys the idea that you’ll be in contact again in the future.
Thank You (And Its Variations)
Thank you, thanks, thank you again, many thanks, much thanks. People like to be thanked, so when you’re in doubt, use this as your default. Any version of “thanks” shows that you appreciate your reader’s time for looking over your job application, interviewing you, or even connecting you with someone in their network.
As Career Coach Toni Frana points out, “a ‘many thanks’ [or one of the variations] solidifies the appreciation to the recruiter for reading your application.” Because, let’s face it, a recruiter reads a lot of applications.
This is another sign-off that sparked some debate among experts. Andrews thought it was perfectly fine, while Reynolds mentioned that when she sees “sincerely,” she “assume[s] it’s an older job seeker because it seems more of a classic option.”
And, other experts tend to side with Reynolds, noting that “sincerely” doesn’t really have a place in this era of instant communication. “Sincerely” comes across as old-fashioned and stiff. That said, as far as safe and inoffensive sign-offs go, you can’t go wrong with “sincerely.”
When in doubt, your name may be the perfect sign off. Yes, it’s a little short and to the point, but better to sign-off with only your name than sign-off with something inappropriate.
The Worst Ways to End an Email to an Employer
While there is no “best” sign-off, only “better,” there are some email sign-offs that are the worst. While some of these also sparked some debate among our experts, generally speaking, you should skip these sign-offs in your job seeking emails.
All we can say is…yikes! Love is an ending for a greeting card to your sweetie, not a potential boss. Although you might love the idea of working for a particular company, love should not come into play when signing off a business email—ever.
Not only does this sign-off sound old-fashioned, it is best used in handwritten letters, not a pitch to a potential boss. Much like “sincerely,” “yours truly,” sounds a bit “classic,” even stuffy, and is best used in formal communications or in print.
Sent from My iPhone
As a busy job seeker, there will surely be times that you might be on the go when you spot an amazing job listing you want to apply to. While there’s nothing wrong with sending a response email to a recruiter who contacted you from your iPhone, you definitely don’t want to let them know that.
Why? Although it helps explain typos, you want to give your reader the idea that you’re dutifully answering emails at your desk—not at the mall or from your kid’s classroom.
While abbreviations are appropriate for friends and family, it’s never a good idea to abbreviate any words in your resume or cover letter, and certainly not so for your email sign-off.
After all, you don’t know who is reading your job application and might mistakenly think that your abbreviation is a typo—and toss it in the trash.
Thanks in Advance
While “thanks,” “thank you,” and all the other variations above are OK, this particular variation is not. When you’ve sent a job application, you’ve asked the recipient to do something for you—like read your resume. But, don’t assume they’re going to do that and don’t thank them for something they haven’t agreed to do.
A simple “thank you” is all you need. But, if you really feel the urge to write more, consider, “Thank you for your time,” or “Thank you for considering my request,” as alternatives.
Have a Blessed Day
There’s nothing wrong with being a faithful person. But like “love,” including anything religious in tone in your email sign-off might rub the reader the wrong way. So try to avoid mixing religion with your resume and cover letter application!
Similarly to “love,” “fondly,” implies there’s more than a professional relationship here. While it suggests friendship more than anything, it does not belong in a business communication.
Another sign-off that isn’t wrong but maybe isn’t right is “respectfully.” In some situations, it may be perfectly appropriate to sign-off with this. But, those situations are likely few and far between during your job search. If you’re in direct communication with the CEO of the company, that might be a time to sign-off your email with “respectfully.”
Most experts advise against using this one in your regular job searching. It might look inauthentic—like you’re trying to kiss up to the hiring manager. Or, worse, it may make you look inexperienced. Either sentiment isn’t positive, so it’s probably best to skip it.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And, while that might be the case, emojis of any kind do not belong in a job seeker email. This is not a text or Instagram post, so save the emojis for personal communications.
While there may be nothing wrong with “cheers” when you know the recipient, it is best to skip this during the early stages of your job search.
While the exclamation point is having a moment, it does not belong at the end of a professional email. In a job seeking email, this could come across as unprofessional or even immature. It’s best to skip these until you’ve established a relationship with the recipient (and know their feelings on the subject!).
Sure, typing just your initial saves time (J instead of James), but this is one shortcut you need to skip in a professional email. Much like emojis, you’re not sending a text, and not taking the time to type your whole name can come across as rude, insensitive, or just plain lazy. This is one form of sign-off that should only be used once you’ve established a relationship and rarely in a business one.
While there’s technically nothing wrong with this sign-off, it’s not really appropriate for a business email, especially if there’s not an established camaraderie.
Again, this could come across as mildly threatening. The recipient hasn’t agreed to speak with you, yet you’re already saying you’re going to follow-up? Not quite the right sentiment for a job seeking email, and it could land your application in the trash.
There are many professional email sign-offs a job seeker can use when communicating with recruiters or a prospective employer After investing all the time and energy into making your job application as perfect as it possibly can be, make sure you end it on the right note to strike job search success!
Still stumped? Can’t decide which “thank you” fits? Consider chatting with one of our career coaches. They’ve seen tons of email sign-offs and can help you pick the “best” one for your situation.
Alexis Reale and Rachel Pelta contributed to this post.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
Originally published November 4, 2015. Previously updated December 20, 2016.
Don’t forget to share this article with friends!
Jennifer Parris, FlexJobs Career Writer
Jennifer comes from corporate America… and a four-hour daily commute! Now, as a Career Writer for FlexJobs , she commutes to the corner office (in her house, that is) in under 60 seconds! Says Jennifer: “I’ve always been a writer,…Read More >
We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please leave a comment below! All fields are required.