The first rule of ending an email: Don’t overthink it. Signing your name is often sufficient. Unless you commit some egregious error, like being rude or insulting the recipient, the reader may not think twice, or even notice, your sign-off.
Still, we respect your desire to get it right. And some emails do require a specific tone of voice: You can’t end a message to a potential employer in the same way you’d close out a note to your close coworker.
In this article we’ll also discuss the best way to end an email according to experts, and the sign-off that gets the highest response rate.
Professional sign-offs to end an email
This one gets the job done. On the formal end of the tone spectrum, sincerely is a professional, unobtrusive way to end an email.
Respectfully is neutral, formal, and professional. This one is great for ending an email to a new connection.
Best / all the best
This sign-off is on the more casual end of professional, but still appropriate in nearly all situations.
Barbara Pachter, a business etiquette expert; Will Schwalbe, author of SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better; and Aliza Licht, SVP of global communications for Donna Karan International, told Business Insider that ending an email with best is, well, the best.
It’s simple but warm, inoffensive in all cases, and a good way to play things safe. Whether you’re emailing a friend, a colleague, or a superior, best passes professionalism the test.
Friendly ways to end an email
Warmly is a more familiar way to end a professional email. This one is often best for connections you already know.
Email app Boomerang identifies cheers as the email sign-off most likely to get a response (that isn’t some form of thank you). Cheers sees an almost 55 percent response rate, just 10 percentage points behind the number-one closing, thanks in advance. It’s friendly, casual, and just different enough to make an impression.
Have a great day/week/weekend
This is a great sign-off for emails sent toward the end of the day or week. Simple.
Grateful ways to end an email
Use this simple sign-off when you’ve asked the recipient for something.
Thanks in advance
Thanks in advance is the email closing with the highest response rate, according to Boomerang. It shows gratitude, but also conveys that you’re expecting something. You should use it carefully, since it can come across as demanding, but hey—there’s a reason it reels in more responses.
Thanks for everything
Thanks for everything is a great email sign-off when you’re wrapping up a project with someone or even saying goodbye to your coworkers.
The best (and worst) ways to end an email, according to a pro
Business consultant and recruiter Christabel Khumalo tells InHerSight, “‘regards,’‘best regards,’‘sincerely,’ and‘warm regards’ are always the safest sign-offs,” but that email writers should ultimately read the room. “Follow your writer's tone. If the person you’re writing to is keeping things formal, stay away from casual sign offs such as‘cheers’ or‘later.’ But put it into context. While‘cheers’ may be appropriate for a correspondence with a friendly colleague, it may not be the most appropriate sign off when comforting them regarding their recent loss.”
As for the worst: “I can't think of a time where being ultra casual in a professional space has ever been beneficial. Keep the‘xoxo’ and‘with love’ sign-offs for your pals.”
Ending your email is about more than just choosing a sign-off
Choosing a professional sign-off is a good move, but it’s perhaps more important to end the body of your email thoughtfully. Be clear about what you need from the recipient—the answer to a question, specific information, their availability for meeting.
I’d love to discuss our working together on the new designs. I have availability on Thursday after 2 p.m. Let me know if you’re free.
I got an email from Neil today about a potential referral. Can you let me know whether we’ll be accepting new customers this month? If so, I’ll chase down that lead.
Thanks in advance,
If you’re introducing yourself to someone or emailing about a new project, offer to help them with a problem. De’Andrea Matthews, director of diversity and inclusion at Wayne State University, says “the best way to end an email is to ask a probing question, like‘let me know how I can be a resource to you in this process.’”
I’m glad we bumped into each other today. Sounds like your new venture is off to a great start. Let me know how I can be a resource for you right now.
If you’re emailing about a job, express interest, offer to provide more information, and give them a way to contact you. “When you're emailing HR reps, recruiters, or hiring managers,” executive coach and talent consultant Terry McDougall says, “be sure to close out your email with your interest in the company and your contact information.”
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me this morning. I think my background would be very useful to growing the inspection team at ACME, and I’d love the chance to talk to the hiring manager about the management position. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (email or phone is great) if you need more information.
About our sources
Christabel Khumalo is a business consultant who supports businesses with their staffing, leadership, and business planning needs. She believes that service is and will always be the social fabric that binds us together. When she’s not busy helping businesses grow, you’ll find her behind her Nikon camera lens, traveling the world with her husband and two daughters.
Graced with an abundance of gifts, De’Andrea Matthews is an international speaker and author. She is the founder and CEO of Claire Aldin Publications, an award-winning hybrid publishing company based in Michigan.
Terry Boyle McDougall is a career coach and CEO of Terry B. McDougall Coaching. She helps high-achieving professionals remove obstacles that keep them stuck so they can enjoy more success and satisfaction in their lives and careers. Before becoming a coach, Terry was a long-time corporate marketing executive where she led teams, developed strategies, and advised senior leaders to drive business results. She is the author of Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms.