Emails and the business world are in a serious, committed relationship. They honestly can’t live without each other. Depending on the type of work you do, you may read or send a few emails a day—or a hundred. Solid business writing will require you to write professional-level emails. And knowing how to end an email professionally is just as important.
Ending a Professional Email
You’ve invested the time thoughtfully preparing and writing an email. You just need to end it… and then you start to second-guess yourself. How do you sign-off the right way? What tone will your closing take? How much information do you need to provide in the signature line? All valid questions and you’ve come to the right place to find practical tips on how to end an email professionally.
You Can’t Leave Out the Closing
Employment or business-related emails require a closing that finds the perfect balance between formal and less formal (e.g., friendly). And if you struggle with what to say and opt to leave out the closing, you will only appear unprofessional and perhaps rude. Don’t rely on the email signature line to play the roles of both the closing remarks and the signature—it doesn’t work that way. The closing must stand on its own.
How to Choose the Right Closing
Think about your relationship with the person you are emailing. Is it a potential employer? A supervisor? A coworker? Your personal relationship—or lack of familiarity—will help you determine what to say and what not to say. Closing an email to a good friend you work with or your boss of eight years will be more informal than an email resume cover letter to a stranger. But because we are talking about how to professionally end an email in business writing, the informal to the formal degree is relatively small.
Examples of Professional Closings:
- Kind regards,
- Sincerely yours,
- Best wishes,
- All the best,
- Best regards,
Examples of Less Formal Closings for a Close Friend or Colleague
Perhaps you do have a close relationship with the person you are emailing. You consider them a friend. In these situations, it is perfectly fine to use a less formal closing. Consider these examples:
- Yours truly,
When in doubt about whether or not you should go with a less formal closing, it is best to err on the side of caution. Go with a more formal email closing. Remember, your goal is to end the email on a professional note.
And don’t forget to use a comma after your closing remark.
Examples of What to Avoid in the Closing:
- Talk soon,
- See ya,
- Love, (seriously… this should be a no-brainer)
- Using nicknames for yourself or the other person
- Emojis (they have their place in the world and we love them, but this is not the appropriate time)
Use an Email Signature
The last impression your email will make is the signature. Never underestimate the value of a professional email signature to close a well-crafted business email. This is the opportunity to provide your contact information. It is especially important when you are emailing a hiring manager or recruiter.
What to Include in Your Email Signature
In the very least, your email signature should include:
- Your full name (not a nickname)
- Email address
- Phone number
Depending on who you are emailing, you may want to add:
- Job title
- Company name
- Company website
- A link to your LinkedIn profile page
Writers, graphic designers, or others in creative fields may wish to add a link to an online portfolio or professional website.
Proper Formatting of an Email Signature
Here’s a few examples that demonstrate the proper format of an email signature:
Finance Director, Company Name
City, State Zip Code
Setting Up Your Email Signature
Your email server will have a few steps for you to complete your automated email signature. Just go to “Settings” in your email account to get started.
Remember: Whatever you choose to put in your email signature will be automatically added to all of your outgoing messages. It’s a great time-saver when sending emails. But there are times when you may need to tweak the length of the signature. Or you may not want it to auto-populate every email you send. If you use one email address for all your emails—business and personal—then it could get awkward if you send a sweet email to your mom and end it with a signature that looks like you’re applying for a job.
Ditch the Inspirational Quotes
We’ve all gotten an email with an inspirational quote hovering just below the signature line. It can be a little strange. Perhaps the person set up the email signature and then forgot they added the little quote about showing gratitude for life or cookies or bunnies. Or they didn’t realize the quote would be included in every single email they sent. Inspirational quotes are for friends and family, not professional emails.
Don’t Go Overboard
A word of caution: Don’t try to sound more important than you are. If your email signature has eight lines and multiple links to websites, you risk coming across as trying too hard. Instead, aim to impress by nailing the format and content. Demonstrate you know how to write succinctly and professionally. Then choose an appropriate closing remark and just enough details in the signature lines. Sometimes saying less says more.
So, before you hit send on that next business email, make sure you’ve employed these tips to professionally close an email.