What polite way to end a cover letter?

Simple greeting

How to finish a cover letter?

Addressing a future employer isn't always easy. Whether you know the recipient of your letter or not, the relationship is still that of an individual who pays for his or her labor. In any case, if you feel that your position as an employee doesn't make your employer a superior, please accept the fact that he's your customer, and as such deserves all the consideration due to that status.

In practical terms, this means that, without showing too much deference, you need to maintain a certain balance in what you say.

The right tone for addressing your future boss

Don't be condescending, obsequious, contemptuous or authoritarian. So prefer a gentle, respectful imperative: "Please accept..." rather than "Please...".

Avoid an overly deferential tone, but don't fall into the opposite trap of being too light-hearted: save the "Cordialement", "Bien à vous" or "Cordiales salutations" for later, as they could be misinterpreted by your interlocutor who is not yet your colleague.

Offer your distinguished or respectful greetings, but be aware that, in principle, only a hierarchical superior is in a position to distinguish his or her subordinate... Your best regards or best feelings will also do the trick.

In all cases, avoid using expressions that are too convoluted... and that you don't know any better than the person you're talking to.

If you're referring to the expression or assurance of your feelings or consideration, just remember that you can't associate them with greetings. So banish "the expression of my greetings" and "the assurance of my greetings...". On the other hand, it's perfectly acceptable to convey or accept greetings.

If you use "Dear Sir or Madam" at the beginning of your letter, include it in your closing address. On the other hand, avoid using a pompous or overlong title: don't use "Je vous prie de croire, Madame la responsable des ressources humaines" or "Monsieur le Président Directeur Général". Save your alexandrines for poetry! As with your salutation, avoid the "Mademoiselle", as it may sound old-fashioned or even contemptuous of your interlocutor.

Finally, in a professional context, never express your feelings and avoid paying your respects (a man can pay his respects to a woman). Remain formal in all circumstances, favoring a cordial tone and common formulas.

Use common polite expressions:

    • Yours respectfully
    • Yours sincerely

Banish polite formulas and incorrect abbreviations:

    • "Yours sincerely".
    • "Please accept, Mr. Director of HR...". Respect the language of recruiter. Monsieur" is abbreviated to "M.", not "Mr", which means "Mister".

Avoid pompous formulas when addressing your interlocutor. Despite his eminence and distinction, he'll still be on his feet to read you and you to write!

    • "Please accept [...] the expression of my deepest respect" or "Please accept my highest consideration".
    • "Please [...] believe Madame, Monsieur, responsable des ressources humaines..." Don't express your gratitude too early.

Keep it simple, concise and don't forget to be yourself! It's easier to be criticized an amphiguric formulation is your simplicity. Keeping your letters simple is a good way, if not the best way, to express your respectful feelings towards the recruiter or your greetings.

Spelling, a mark of respect

Alain, in his Propos sur l'éducation, said: "Spelling is respect; it's a kind of politeness. It would be pointless to apply the above advice if you neglected to spell the polite expressions you had so much trouble choosing! So make sure you always have your application proofread and corrected by a professional writer.

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