The Best Ways To Close A Business Letter (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 7, 2020

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Being able to write and format a business letter properly is an essential professional skill. Whether over email or in a physical form, a well-formatted letter shows that you can communicate formally and professionally. It helps you gain the trust of those you work with and for by demonstrating that you’re someone who knows what you’re doing.

A business letter closing serves as a “wrapping up” and a visual signal that the message contained above is a full, completed thought-out piece of communication. You can use your closing to summarize the fundamental tone and content of your letter. You can also use it to re-emphasize the most important parts of the message.

A good closing helps you make a positive “final impression” on the receiver of your message. The receiver will use this closing to signify what they should take away from your letter, or perhaps even draw conclusions about you and your communication style.

Thus, a good business letter closing can help establish you as a graceful and efficient communicator. This article shows you how to format and write a business letter closing that best accomplishes your goals.

Format for Closing a Business Letter

Before you think about the perfect closing sentence and words, become familiar with the basic format for ending formal letters.

First, decide whether you’ll be sending this letter via physical mail or email. If it’s a more formal setting or occasion, consider sending the message by mail. In this day and age, a physical letter holds more weight and has more of a personal touch, but is, of course, less time-sensitive. Emailed letters have a quicker and slightly less formal feel, but still, be sure to follow proper formatting and formalities.

If you are sending your letter by physical mail, you’re going to want to leave space between your complimentary closing and your name so that you can add your signature. Something like:

“Sincerely,
Joseph Miller”

And you would sign your signature in pen on the printed letter between the closing and your typed name.

However, if you’re sending an email, it’s not possible to add a written signature. So email closings simply don’t leave space for one. So it would look more like:

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

“Sincerely,
Joseph Miller”

In both emails and physical letters, after your typed name, you want to include all relevant contact information. You do this to provide a centralized area that your letter-receiver can refer back to as they prepare their response. Include your phone number, email, and — if you sent a physical letter — your home or business address.

The final step in formatting your business letter closing is just to ensure that you’ve maintained consistency and professionalism throughout. Be sure you’ve used the same font throughout, your paragraphs are correctly aligned and spaced, and that the tone of your letter matches what you are trying to say in a polite way.

End Your Letter with Impact

Before you give your complimentary closing, make sure you end your letter with impact. Your final sentence should be one that summarizes the purpose of your message. Think, “if they only read this final sentence and nothing else — what would I want them to take away?”

Maybe you want to restate an important date, such as a deadline or meeting time. Or you might want to give a final statement of gratitude, praise, or reinforce a connection you made with someone. If your letter is disciplinary or raises a concern of some sort, you may want to summarize the next steps.

If you are making a request, offering an invitation, or in any other way needing something back from your recipient, you’ll want to include what’s called a “call to action.” This is a way of applying a gentle amount of social pressure onto someone to respond to your request by letting them know you will be waiting to hear back.

A call to action might be something like telling your recipient you are looking forward to hearing their response. Or it may look more like giving a specific date and time when you would like your request filled by.

Suppose you don’t need anything specifically from your recipient, but you would still like to let them know they are free to contact you at any time. In that case, you might think about working in the phrase “please don’t hesitate to contact me” or “please let me know if you need any further assistance.”

Sometimes, our letter’s primary goal is to extend gratitude or let someone know they are appreciated. If this is the case, the final sentence is your place to really drive home the impact this person (or their actions) has had on you

Whatever your main purpose is, make it clear in your closing sentence.

What to Consider When Deciding on your Closing

First, consider the context of your letter. Your chosen closing should, of course, be in line with your purposes for writing the letter.

A closing for a thank you letter will be different from a closing for a cover letter or a letter expressing concerns for an employee’s performance. For instance, “many thanks” is really not the best choice for a disciplinary letter.

You’ll also want to consider the level of formality you’d like to keep, with certain closings conveying more or less formality. For many, this is a chief concern in their choice of complimentary closing. For this reason, we’ve divided our suggested letter closings into two categories: more formal and less formal.

The second aspect that largely determines your choice of letter closing is your relationship with the recipient. The level of formality is usually inversely correlated with the level of familiarity you have with the sender. In other words, choose more formal closings for strangers or people you don’t know well, and select less formal closings for those you know well or work with often.

You’ll also want to consider whether this person is your senior or someone you are subordinate to, or if this person is a colleague on the same professional level as you. You’ll obviously want to use a more formal closing for the former and a less formal closing for the latter.

Finally, consider for the last time what you are trying to accomplish with this letter. Choose whichever closing achieves these aims best and aligns with your personal style of writing.

10 Best Letter Closings for a Formal Business Letter

  • More formal closings

    The following closings convey a formal or very formal tone. These are the closings you might use when writing to your boss, a prospective employer, a potential business connection, or a new client.

    1. Sincerely. This one is a great all-purpose formal standby. It doesn’t draw much attention to itself but still fulfills the requirement of ending a formal letter.

    2. Best regards. This option takes a typical closer and amps it up a bit. You can also use “warm regards” or “kind regards” to keep the formality but add a touch of extra (appropriate) friendliness.

    3. Respectfully. This closing is perhaps the most formal and is best used when you would like to convey the utmost deference to someone. You can also use it at other times when to reinstate your respect for your recipient.

    4. Thank you. Naturally, this is an excellent closer for a letter expressing thanks, admiration, or gratitude. You may want to consider a different closing if you have already said thank you more than once in the body of your letter.

    5. With gratitude. Another great choice for a letter of appreciation, this closing emphasizes the positive impact your recipient has had on you.

  • Less formal closings

    These closings convey a more friendly or familiar tone that is still professional and business appropriate. You might use these in letters to colleagues, established clients, subordinates, or anyone you know on a personal basis.

    1. Regards. This closing is the less formal counterpart to “sincerely” in that you can use it as a neutral standby.

    2. Best. This is a brief closing with a positive tone. Some may consider this closing a bit too curt, but most find it perfectly acceptable as a business letter closing.

    3. Thanks again. If you’ve already stated your thanks in the body of the letter, but you’d still like to end with a note of gratitude, this is the choice for you.

    4. Many thanks. Similarly to “thanks again,” this sums up the gratitude expressed in the body of your letter. This is also a great closing if you are requesting something.

    5. Best wishes. This closing is cheerful and warm without being inappropriate, so use it whenever you’d like to convey that message.

What Not to Use as a Business Letter Closing

You should avoid the following closings in professional letters as they either express a bit too much familiarity or don’t convey a professional tone. By all means, please use these as closers in your letter to grandma or your postcard to a friend, just never in your business relationships

  • Too Friendly

    • Love

    • Fondly

    • XO

    • Yours truly

  • Too Informal

    • Bye for now

    • Cheers

    • Ciao

    • Peace

    • See ya later

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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