Cover letters are hard. Most people don’t write formal letters anymore, period. Add in the pressure of impressing a total stranger enough to land a job interview, and you’ve got a recipe for some truly stilted business writing — or some very weird rhetorical miscalculations.
Many job seekers struggle especially with the challenge of how to end a cover letter. Get too creative, and you run the risk of putting off your reader. Stick to a cover letter template too faithfully, and you’ll miss the opportunity to stick the landing.
The Parts of a Cover Letter
First things first: let’s talk about what a good cover letter should include. It’s not enough just to write a line or two stating that you’re sending your resume for consideration, even if you’re emailing your application to a hiring manager you already know. There’s a formula to cover letters, and you need to follow it — or else.
“If any elements are missing, it may very well disqualify you from consideration,” writes Alison Doyle, job search expert for The Balance Careers. “A cover letter is comprised of several parts: your contact information, a salutation, the body of the cover letter, an appropriate closing, and a signature.”
The body of the cover letter typically consists of three or four paragraphs. When we talk about how to close a cover letter, we’re talking about that last paragraph and the closing right above your signature.
How to Use the Last Paragraph to Your Advantage
The last paragraph should reiterate your interest in the position, briefly summarize why you’re a good fit for the role and offer your contact information to the hiring manager. (Note that your contact information will appear in several places throughout your letter — the heading in the case of a separate attachment or mailed letter, and the signature file in an email.)
At The Muse, Aja Frost notes that the last paragraph can fulfill several purposes, depending on what you need. For example:
…if you want to proactively answer a potential concern, here’s a good place to do it. Let’s say you’re currently living in Atlanta, but you want to work in Portland. End with one sentence explaining that you’re moving, such as “I am relocating to Portland in May and look forward to working in the city.” This line shows your reader you fully read the job description, and that location (or relocation) won’t be an issue.
You can also use that last paragraph to emphasize how your experience makes you the ideal candidate, for example: “I believe that my customer service experience, combined with my background in IT, have made me a strong candidate for the role. I hope you’ll contact me at your convenience to discuss the job and how I can help your organization.”
Whatever You Do, Avoid This
In a separate Muse article, Lily Zhang talks about perhaps the worst way to end a cover letter: the threatening “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,” she writes. “It will, however, make you seem egotistical and possibly delusional. This is just not how you get an interview.”
Just don’t do it.
Good Closing Lines — and Ones to Avoid
Finally, it’s important to choose the right closer to wrap things up. Stick with tradition here: “best” is fine, as is “sincerely,” “regards,” “thank you for your consideration,” etc.
Tell Us What You Think
Managers, tell us: what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in a cover letter? We want to hear from you. Share your stories in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.