Right around third grade, we learn the proper way to write a letter. Start with the recipient, add a salutation, write up the body, and finally, add the signature. Our letter-writing skills serve us well all the way through college, but before you know it, you're in your first job, wrapping up an email, and it hits you: how on Earth should you say bye in a professional email?
If you've been pondering this question, you're not alone. The truth is we're never taught how to write, much less sign off on, a professional email in the first place, so plenty of people feel unsure about the proper choice of ending. At 24 Seven, our mission is to help the working world work better by offering unparalleled hiring and job recruitment services – so to help make the working world a little easier for you, here's our guide to how to sign off on a professional email.
How to End a Professional Email
Let's start with the basics. As any job recruiter would tell you, the standard way to end any letter is with "sincerely." And don't get us wrong, sincerely is a perfectly acceptable sign off for an email – but it's also unoriginal and overused. So let's take a look at some of our other options. Here's a short list of the most common email sign offs for professional emails:
Unless your email is going to a particularly formal or traditional business professional, "fondly" and "yours truly" both fall into the same category as "sincerely": they work, but they're formal and monotonous.
As a global staffing agency, we always recommend showing your personality – within reason – when it's appropriate. To that end, cheers, best, and take care have all become front-runners in the modern age of email professionalism. In particular, we recommend cheers. What was once a quaint British phrase for saying goodbye has become a mainstay in American professional email culture, offering an upbeat, simple, and perfectly professional option for ending your emails. It’s pleasant, unique, and will make you stand out just enough. So far I’ve only encountered one company that uses cheers to end its emails and my experience has always been… cheery.
While "best" works well as a standalone sign off, it's corollary, "regards," is a slightly less attractive option. Regards can carry something of a negative connotation, so we'd recommend avoiding it unless you're bearing bad news.
What NOT to Write in a Professional Email
Now we've covered what's an acceptable sign-off in a professional email. But what about the things you should never use in professional email correspondence?
Unless you're writing to a spouse that happens to be a coworker, never, EVER use "love," "hugs," "xo," or anything else in that category. While endearing, they come off as extremely unprofessional and juvenile. As a leading job recruitment agency, we've seen firsthand how employers react to different email sign offs – and trust us, if you end an email with "XO," the reaction will not be pretty.
Practice Professional Emails with a Job Recruitment Agency
Professional email writing is a skill just like any other, and by following these guidelines and getting plenty of practice, you can easily turn yourself in an email etiquette expert. And if you stick with 24 Seven as your job finding agency, pretty soon your new boss will be coming to you for tips on workplace etiquette!
This post was updated on May 3, 2022.