What polite wording should be used in a covering letter?

A simple greeting, not a copy and paste.

A cover letter A well-written letter is an important asset for your application and can help you stand out from the competition. A crucial stage in your motivationThe polite way of concluding your letter should show your respect and professionalism towards the recipient. But there's no point fine-tuning a conclusion if the rest of the letter isn't of the same standard.

If you're not inspired and don't have a formula in mind, be wary of the tempting proposals you glean from the Internet. Always remember that your letter should accurately reflect the respect you wish to show the recipient.

Here are a few examples of polite formulas commonly used in a cover letter, both in the introduction and the conclusion. These examples only cover the most common cases. If you are a law student and you are addressing a lawyer or a judge, you will of course take their function into account.

The letter call, to start the letter :

    • Dear Sir or Madam, (on one or more lines)
    • Dear Madam,
    • Dear Sir
    • Dear Madam,
    • Dear Sir,

Note that you should only use these last two phrases if you know the person you are talking to well enough. Referring to a complete stranger as "dear" may seem inappropriate and risks giving a personal tone to a relationship that does not exist. Don't use "Mr and Mrs" either, or you risk showing your contempt for the most elementary forms of politeness.

Reminder of title or function, marks of deference

    • gender

It is also important to personalise your letter according to the recipient and the company. If you know the person you are sending the letter to, there is no need to address it to Dear Sir or Madam...

    • the title

If you are speaking to someone whose job title you know and it is important, you can quote it in the section reserved for the addressee's contact details: Monsieur le Directeur de la...

Start with "Madame," or "Monsieur," and don't forget to capitalise the first letter as a sign of deference. There is no need to mention the position of the person you are addressing in the salutation, except in special cases (you don't write to the President of the Republic every day!).

    • capital letters

As an exception to the rule of using lower case for common nouns in the middle of a sentence, a capital letter should be used in the salutation. Mrs or Mr should also be written out in full, without ever using abbreviations.

To finish the letter :

    • I would like to thank you in advance for your consideration of my application and remain at your disposal should you require any further information. Yours respectfully
    • The "Thank you in advance" option for Your attention [...] and I remain at your disposal for any discussion or additional information. would be awkward, as it is not customary to thank your reader and ask them to read you, almost before they have even read you! Please refer to our advice on the use of be willing to express your gratitude in your letters and thank your interlocutor in the most formal way.
    • I look forward to receiving your reply.
    • The all-too-frequently encountered variant "Je prie d'agréer Yours sincerely"is to be avoided. It is customary to use "agree with the expression". express a feeling, an attitude, a mark of consideration or respect, but not a greeting. We can therefore write: "Please accept the expression of my respects". The Academy also states that the verb agréer can also introduce the term assurance. You could therefore write: "Please accept the assurance of my consideration". Finally, avoid going overboard by specifying "in anticipation", which only adds a form of eagerness to act, knowing that your reader could understand that you are in despair...

The final formula

    • Please to approve(or Madam, Sir or Madam), my best regards distinguished.
    • Please to approve(or Madam, Sir or Madam), my respectful greetings.
    • Yours respectfully
    • Yours sincerely

Avoid "best regards" or "best wishes", as the person you're writing to might think you're throwing all your feelings at them in a jumble and that they'll have to choose the best ones! Avoid "Cordially", "cordial greetings", "High consideration" and "Deep respect", which are out of place when writing to a superior, a recruiter or your future employer. At the end of a letter, they could ruin everything!

Also, avoid "Je vous prie de croire" and "prie de bien vouloir", which add considerably to the tone of the speech. If you insist, use "Please believe" instead. Finally, if you're a man, don't convey "your best wishes" to a woman, just pay your respects.

When in doubt, choose the simplest formulation.

    • Yours sincerely

You should, of course, avoid overly familiar or informal expressions. Neither "Hi" nor "Kisses" should be used in any professional correspondence. Keep it formal. On the other hand, don't be too polite just because you're looking for a job!

As you can see from these examples, the longer the sentence and the more bombastic the style, the less sincere your approach will be. So use isolated phrases rather than long sentences, and break up your speech:

    • Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information. Yours sincerely

You'll come across as more sincere and respectful.

Finally, don't forget to reread, or better still have it proofread your letter to ensure that it is well written and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

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