How to close your cover letter
Monster career expert Vicki Salemi says to end your cover letter with a handshake, not a fist bump.
Goodbyes can be hard. Both in person and in writing. Do you get stiff and uncomfortably formal in your written closing statements, or do you like to keep them super light-hearted to the point where it’s almost comedic? Maybe you just avoid the closer altogether? But there has to be a right way to finish strong, especially when it comes to signing off a cover letter.
Luckily, there has been some recent analysis on the art of the written closing statement. In a new study, email software company Boomerang looked at sign-offs from more than 350,000 email threads to see which are most frequently used. There were eight popular closings, all ones you’ve probably used at some point in time: Thanks, regards, cheers, best regards, thanks in advance, thank you, best and kind regards.
Using these closers in emails is one thing, but the point of a cover letter is for you to stand out—and get a response back. That’s why Boomerang dived further into these emails to uncover which of these popular closings had the best response rate.
To our surprise, “thanks in advance” was deemed the most effective in the study. But from a job seeker’s point of view, at least, something about that phrase just doesn’t sit well with us.
That’s why we asked Monster career expert Vicki Salemi, who has read countless cover letters in her 15 years in corporate recruiting, to tell us what your sign-off says about you from a recruiter’s perspective.
Is “best” really best?
While the study determined “thanks in advance” was most effective when it came to receiving a response, Salemi is telling you—in advance—that it might not be best to close out your cover letter with that particular phrase.
“It sounds like a fist pump instead of firm handshake,” she says. “No one I ever considered as a candidate got looked over for being too formal and polite in their correspondence; however, the opposite—being too casual—always made me pause.”
When in doubt, Salemi says to go for the standard golden salutation: “Thank you.” She also likes “best,” “kind regards” and “best regards.” And although not mentioned in the study, Salemi says “sincerely” and “all the best” come across as formal and classy.
Say “adios” to these faux pas
When it comes to a cover letter, there is definitely a wrong way to write your sign off. Namely, if you go too casual, your cover letter is probably going into the trash.
“Even if you’re applying to a job at a startup with a laid back culture, avoid closings like ‘adios’ and ‘ciao,’” Salemi says. (Of course, ignore this rule if you’re applying to a job in which you’ll need to speak Spanish or Italian.)
Oh and maybe save the “cheers” for later when you’re out at the bar you’re your friends celebrating your new job.
“’Cheers’ is extremely casual and great for when you want to buddy up with someone,” Salemi says. “But as for a potential employer when you’re supposed to present your most pristine, polished self? Not effective.”
Just don’t leave without saying goodbye
Never thought this would be so complicated, did you? At this point, you are probably considering just ending your cover letter with your name, phone number and email address and calling it a day.
Well, turns out that’s not such a great idea either, Salemi says.
“It’s like working out without a cool down,” she says. “You need to come full circle and close it out.”
The main thing to remember about a closer, Salemi says, is that you shouldn’t overthink it. Something like, “Thank you,” “Thank you for your consideration” or “Looking forward to hearing from you soon” should be just fine.
XOXO, uhh, we mean: “Thank you for reading,”
Find more cover letter writing tips on Monster
It’s a saying that you’ve probably heard before. However, many people don’t realize it applies to cover letters. Not that I blame them. There’s so much conflicting information out there about whether or not hiring managers even skim cover letters, let alone get to the very end of them.
Here at The Muse, we’re strong believers in the fact that you should write every cover letter as if it’s going to be read from top to bottom. Because if it is—and it likely will be—you’d hate to get tossed in the no pile because you ended with something along the lines of, “whatever, peace out.”
Obviously that’s an exaggeration (I hope!), but there are ways to end your cover letter that will get you nixed from the get-go—and they’re a lot more common than you think. So, in honor of crafting the perfect cover letter, here are three definite don’ts, as well as what to write instead.
1. “I Will Call Your Office in a Week to Schedule an Interview.”
I have no idea where this (threatening) advice originated from, but ending your cover letter like this will not give the impression that you’re a go-getter who takes initiative. It will, however, make you seem egotistical and possibly delusional. This is just not how you get an interview. You want to end by showing that you’re a pulled-together professional, not a demanding child.
“I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I can contribute.”
2. “Through This Position I Hope to Gain a Deeper Understanding Of…”
This sounds polite and pulled together, but it still sends the wrong message. The concluding line could be the last thought you leave with the hiring manager before he or she decides whether or not to call you in for an interview. Think about it: Do you want it to be focused on what they can do for you or what you can do for them? Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and you’ll know it’s the latter.
“I’m excited to offer my expertise in…”
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3. “I Don’t Like Writing Cover Letters and You Don’t Like Reading Them…”
Again, I don’t blame people for being frustrated about cover letters. Are they necessary or aren’t they? What else is there to talk about if you’re not supposed to write the same stuff that’s in your resume? I get it. But, oh my goodness it does not mean you should submit something like this. This supposed “straight talk” is definitely one way to get attention, but not the right kind. The job application is where you present your best self—and if this is your best self, can you blame the hiring manager for passing?
Just don’t. Write an actual cover letter. Here’s a template.
You would think sending in a cover letter is better than not sending one in at all, but if you’re just going to phone it in, you’re not doing yourself any favors. In fact, you’re probably wasting your time. So, if you want to reap all those benefits of writing one, make sure you’re giving it your best effort all the way until the end. It’s as easy as the tweaks mentioned above.