Etiquette for Business Letter Signatures

Woman wearing eyeglasses.jpg

The prevalence of electronic mail over the traditional typed and mailed letter may leave a new generation not knowing how to sign a business letter. Regardless of how your correspondence is transmitted--either via the post office or email--some rules still apply.

1 How to Close

In a formal business letter, never close the correspondence with "Regards" or "Kind Regards." If the recipient's name is unknown, use "Yours faithfully." If you know the recipient's name, use "Yours Sincerely" or "Sincerely Yours." Do not use closings like "Love," "Always," "Warmly" or "Cheers," as they can be misunderstood and appear unprofessional.

2 The Signature

Your handwritten signature (in the case of a mailed letter) should appear between the closing and your printed name. The space where you will sign should be four lines. In an email, your handwritten signature may be included as part of your electronic signature, in which case no spaces are needed. This automatic footnote signature should include your contact information, as if it were letterhead or stationery.

3 Spacing

In a typed and mailed letter, the closing and signature should be either flush left in line with the left margin, or on the right in alignment with the address at the top of the page.

Amy Cates is an award-winning writer and journalist whose byline has appeared in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers. She holds a B.A. in English, with master's coursework in journalism. Cates is currently completing her master's degree in English. Her clients have included national consumer and trade publications, as well as corporate and nonprofit organizations.