The Best Email Sign-Off, and 15 to Avoid
Sending an email can be a complicated process. If you’re sending a business-related message you will need to be as respectful as possible, sending one to your child’s teacher requires sincerity, one to a family member can be as laid back as you’d like in many cases.
The perfect email means your content is short and to the point making it easier to read. Your sign-off needs to reflect that but also relay your point. Whether you’re expressing gratitude or expecting a response, we’ll cover the perfect professional email sign-offs first.
As stated previously, the type of sign-offs you include in your email will vary depending on who you’re sending it to. It’s important to keep your audience in mind when sending any form of written communication. So without further ado, here are some sign-offs to include in your professional emails.
“I look forward to hearing from you soon!”
This type of email sign-off lets the recipient know that you are expecting a response. Whether it be a resume or a sales pitch, it is only polite for the other person to respond, and including this in your email states that you are expecting a reply. You can change it up to say “I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you further” as well.
“Your valuable time is greatly appreciated”
If your recipient is at work chances are they don’t have a lot of time and they receive a lot of emails. Including this sign-off is one way to express genuine gratitude that warrants a polite response.
Warm regards is a great way to end an email because it is polite and professional. Some may think it is slightly old-fashioned but it is simple and to the point which is perfect for emails.
Sign-Offs to Avoid
Some of these are acceptable under certain circumstances but most are not recommended for formal or professional emails.
“Thanks” and variants along with that tangent (“thanks again,” “thanks!” “thanks so much” and so on) all come across as a little disingenuous. Not only do we all read emails with a bit of a sarcastic tone in our head, but if you’re emailing to ask someone for something – rather than to genuinely express thanks – it’s a tad obnoxious. Avoid.
While you may have been taught to always end a letter – and thus an email – with sincerely, just don’t. If you’re starting your email with “Dear”, you can get away with finishing with “sincerely”, but otherwise, avoid – even in some formal applications.
3. … soon
“Talk soon,” “speak to you soon,” or even “more soon” – lending with anything “soon” generally commits you to talk to that person again. Fine if you intend to send a follow-up email or meet someone in person; less fine if you have zero intention to make an effort to speak with them. While a casual reply, it can come across as insincere.
4. Your name
Ending an email by just signing off is seen as pretty cold and abrupt. Unless it is a final reply to an email where you’ve answered a question and received a reply, this one wouldn’t convey any message other than “I’m done talking to you.” So, it’s best to avoid leaving only your signature.
5. Your initial(s)
Signing off with your initials or first initial is a tad friendlier than writing out your full name, but it’s still just as abrupt. It also leaves people relatively in the dark as to who you are, so really only best used if you’re talking to someone you already know reasonably well.
Surprisingly, ending an email with nothing at all is absolutely fine, but you can’t do this in your first email. Always put an end to your email first and, as more emails are sent in quick succession, you can drop the formalities.
Stiff and outdated. Only bring this one out if you’re emailing a government official or someone from the clergy as “respectfully yours” is the standard closer in that situation.
8. XX [Kisses]
Unless it’s a family member or close friend, you shouldn’t be doing this. Some casual work relationships find this acceptable, but it’s really only something you do with someone you already know you can do this with. Don’t spring it on someone out of the blue, it’s creepy.
This reply is, along with “all the best” and “best wishes”, a relatively safe ending to go with if you’re being polite but informal. The more words you add, “best wishes” or “all the best” for example, the more formal the sentiment becomes. Some feel that “best” and its variants can be too effusive, but for the most part, it should serve you fine.
“Yours”, and variants thereof (“yours truly”, “yours faithfully” and so on) sit on the more formal end of the spectrum. As with “best”, the more words you add, the more formal it becomes. “Yours” does have another complication, though: many wonder exactly what you’re offering when you say “yours”, and “yours faithfully” indicates something incredibly formal like a forthcoming marriage proposal. Avoid.
11. “Your Friend”
This one can split many people. It’s just a bit too formal and sits a tad close to “sincerely” for some. However, some do see it as passable, generally the younger generations as we make friends with most of our colleagues anyway. We don’t recommend sending “Your Friend” ever to an older co-worker or one who is in a position of authority.
12. Thanks so much!
It’s not only unprofessional, but it’s also lacking in grammar. Depending on your recipient this could perfectly fine (if it’s the final email to your IT support team after they’ve fixed your issue for example).
Only really acceptable if you’re British, otherwise it seems a little patronizing. The same can also be said with “ta”, but “cheers” is generally a favored response that’s also pleasingly casual and – to us Brits – perfectly acceptable instead of “thanks” and more formal email sign-offs.
15. As ever
The generally favored way to end an email is “as ever”. It may not be an ideal finisher for initial contact, but it’s great for replying to someone you speak to often over email. It carries no expectancies, connotations, or tone to read into. It’s simply you signing off as you.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are times when the perfect email can make a great impact on your next step in life. Here are some more questions about email sign-offs to help you send perfect emails.
Is an email sign-off really a big deal?
This all depends on the context in which you’re sending an email. If you’re sending a memo via email to a co-worker or some class notes to a classmate, it probably isn’t such a big deal. However, the wrong email sign-off could send the wrong message. For example, if you send ‘Yeah, thanks’ to someone who is trying to help you, it could come across as snide or sarcastic.
Unfortunately, text-based communications lack context which means it’s easy for your recipient to get the wrong idea. So, beware of how your reader will take the message that you are sending because, yes, your reader will likely see your sign-off.
Should I add a signature?
Absolutely! Listing your name, contact information, and company makes it much easier for your recipient to respond to you in the future. Not to mention, a signature is widely accepted as a symbol of someone who understands how email communications work.
Don’t Overthink It
If you’ve ever read, and re-read an important email before sending it, this section applies to you.
Of course, it’s natural to consider who you’re sending the email to and why. If it’s a sales email, it’s best to leave a positive sign-off that also encourages a response. Something like “I look forward to speaking with you further” is ideal here. But, that phrase wouldn’t work well in a condolences email for example.
While it can be intimidating to send an important email, most people generally skim their emails and won’t judge you too much on your sign-off.