Love is in the air, but is it in your cover letter?
After you’ve written a couple of paragraphs about your work experience, skills, and enthusiasm for the job and company, it’s time to wrap things up. We’ve written about email sign-offs, but closing your cover letter comes with its own set of rules. Here are Grammarly’s best tips for signing off a letter to a potential employer.
Nobody wants to hire an employee with bad manners. Make sure to thank the reader for his or her time with a brief sentence. “Thank you for your time and consideration” is standard, but if that sounds too formal, try changing the wording to reflect the way you normally speak. The cover letter is a great place to let your personality shine, so adapt the language to suit your style.
Contact Information and Call to Action
Don’t make the hiring manager’s job any harder than it needs to be. Include your contact information in the header of your letter and toward the end of the text. You should also add a “call to action,” a marketing term for a message that prompts the reader to do something such as clicking a link, signing up for a newsletter, or buying a product. In this case, you want the hiring manager to offer you an interview.
Example: “Please feel free to contact me at [phone number] or [email address]. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
If you’re feeling especially bold, flip the script! Tell the hiring manager that you’ll be in touch soon to follow up on your application — but be courteous and respectful of their time.
Choosing the Best Valediction
Most letters begin with some kind of salutation or greeting, whether it’s “Yo Homes” or “To Whom It May Concern.” The closing of your letter – formally known as a valediction – should mirror the tone of your opening salutation. The standard business letter etiquette dictates that you begin with “Dear [Mr./Ms. Manager],” and the most common closing is “Sincerely,” but that’s not your only option.
Thank You: A classic for a reason, you can’t go wrong with a simple expression of thanks.
Best/Kind Regards: A solid choice that conveys a warm, caring tone.
All the Best: A personal favorite, it subtly implies that the letter writer is the best. Not a bad subliminal message when you’re on the job hunt.
Respectfully: A little more reserved and formal than other choices, it’s a good choice for a more conservative hiring manager.
Cover letters are business documents, so you should avoid an overly friendly or familiar tone—even if you know the hiring manager personally. Obviously you wouldn’t sign off “Love,” but “Thanks” and “Cheers” are a little too casual for a cover letter. You should also steer clear of old-fashioned phrases like “Faithfully Yours.” According to Amy Levin-Epstein, writing for CBS MoneyWatch, you should “[c]hoose the sign-off that fits the industry — and your personality — the best.”
Remember, having all the right words won’t count for much if they’re misspelled or punctuated incorrectly. Grammar matters, so make sure you proofread multiple times. Read your work out loud, ask a friend, and run your work through a spelling and grammar checker before you send your letter.
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How to open and close your cover letter
On a cover letter, formality is rarely a bad thing.
Write your cover letter opening and closing with these tips.
In a tight job market flooded with resumes and cover letters, it’s a given that your documents and messages need to be error-free. So how else can you distinguish your communications? Appropriate openings and closings that convey professionalism and polish.
Use our tips below on how to start your cover letter with a proper greeting and sign off with a polished signature. And if you need additional writing tips, join Monster today, so the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service can help you impress employers with a high-impact resume and cover letter.
Cover letter openings
Write a formal greeting, such as Dear Ms. Alvis or Dear Mr. Yang. If you're unsure of the person’s gender and can’t find out, write the full name, as in Dear Chu Li or Dear Chris Beltran.
While it is increasingly common to see greetings without the "Dear" in business, it is less formal. When applying for a job, sometimes you want to start off formally, even though you may take a less formal tone in subsequent written exchanges.
If you’re unfamiliar with someone’s name, be sure you don’t confuse the first name with the family name, which can easily happen in today’s global business environment, depending in part on the languages you know. For example, the CEO of Lenovo is Yang Yuanqing. His surname is Yang and his first name is Yuanqing (in Mandarin, the family name is written first), so if you are addressing him, you would write Dear Mr. Yang and not Dear Mr. Yuanqing.
A final comment on people’s names: be sure to spell them correctly. That is one typo no recipient will miss.
What if you cannot track down a contact name for your cover email? Use a generic salutation, such as Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Recruiting Manager or Dear Human Resources Professional. (Avoid To Whom It May Concern; it is antiquated.) Another option is to write Greetings, which is somewhat informal but polite. You could also dispense with the opening greeting altogether and start with your first sentence, although some recipients might find that approach to be abrupt.
In all openings, be sure to capitalize the first letter of every noun and follow your greeting with punctuation. Use either a colon (Dear Mr. Yang:) or a comma (Dear Recruiting Manager,).
Cover letter closings
End your message with a formal closing, such as Sincerely, Regards or Best regards. If your closing contains more than one word, capitalize only the first word, as in Best regards or Sincerely yours. And be sure to put a comma after your closing. A common error in business communications is the omission of that comma.
Your full name goes on the next line. No need for the extra space that used to go on letters for the signature. Write your telephone number and email address on separate lines after your name. Although this contact information is on your resume (and your email address is on your email), including it with your cover message makes life easier for the recipient.
This post is by Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene, authors of The Business Style Handbook, An A-to-Z Guide for Effective Writing on the Job