Well, you’ve done it. You’ve written the email that will land you the job, get you the big meeting, or convince your landlord to finally replace your non-functional stove.
But now you must choose how to end your flawless email. Do you play it safe and use “Best” as your sign-off? Do you reveal your enthusiasm with an exclamation point? Do you go rogue and make a joke about how you, like Garfield, hate Mondays? It’s a big choice.
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There’s definitely not an email sign-off that works for every situation, but there are some sign-offs that are better than others — and, because I get a lot of pitch emails, I’ve pretty much seen them all.
Here’s a ranking, from worst to best.
20. “Looking forward to hearing from you,”
This one is too long and a little presumptuous, especially if you’re cold-emailing someone. However, if the other person has already been rude to you, this is an effective way to be passive-aggressive!
19. “All best,”
Has never even once come across as warm. Only creepy.
17. A joke about Mondays
So few jokes about Mondays are funny. Almost none, in fact! Thus, you should not risk this. Even (especially) if you are a professional comedian.
Unless you grew up actually saying “cheers,” this is corny.
15. “Thanks in advance,”
This is a weird one because it sounds too formal, but also sounds like the way you’d sign a compulsory apology letter after egging your bio teacher’s car.
Only Victorian ghosts use this.
12. “Best regards,”
Only kind Victorian ghosts use this.
11. “Talk soon,”
Obviously, you should only use this sign-off if you actually expect to talk to the person soon. Also, “talk to you soon” is not that much longer. Just use that!
10. “Thank you so much,”
9. “Thank you,”
Fine, but kind of makes you sound like a sixth grader? Unless you are a sixth grader. In that case, this is the sign-off for you.
Only use with people you already know. Otherwise, it can seem like you didn’t try. Works best for chill emails.
7. “Thank you!”
If you can pull off earnestness, go for it! But if you can’t, don’t use this! No one will believe you!
“Best” is as ubiquitous as it is controversial. But I don’t think it’s that bad. If someone uses “best,” they’re probably trying to keep things low-key. And in a world of overly flowery emails, that’s not so bad, right?
Honestly, there’s not much difference between this and “thanks” with a comma. If you can, though, opt for the comma, especially if you have used lots of exclamation points elsewhere.
So cool that we have to think about this constantly!
4. Your name only
Some people think eschewing a sign-off line comes across as cold, but I don’t agree — it simply feels straightforward. Also, it requires less effort, which is always good.
3. Your initials
A colleague of mine refers to signing off with your initials (i.e. “CB”) as “monogramming an email.” It’s like having a custom wax seal, except you are online and not sending anything by courier.
The best form of thanks! Of course, this sign-off is ideal if you’re literally thanking someone for something. In a way, through, every email sign-off should be a thank you. Why? Because someone took the time to read your email, which was probably too long.
1. “All the best,”
This sign-off is the ideal sign-off: a pleasant mix of warmth and formality. “It’s the Oprah hug of sign-offs,” says a colleague. I agree.
Email away, you Outlook wizard.
All the best,
UPDATE: Sep. 14, 2023, 5:48 p.m. AEST This article was originally published in Feb. 2018, and has since been updated in Sept. 2023.