How to close a cover letter

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(MoneyWatch) In applying for a job, do you ever wonder how to finish a cover letter? As much as your opening line -- and that first impression -- counts, closing your introduction on a positive note is key. How you sign off will depend on your industry and whether you know the contact, but there are some general things to keep in mind. Here are some to review before pressing "send":

Think about how formal you want to be. If this is a formal letter, you have many options, and there is some room for personal preference. " ' Sincerely' is traditional and can date you, but will never be wrong," says Dale Mayer, author of "Career Essentials: The Cover Letter." "Using 'Best,' is more current and is not wrong. Other options include 'Regards,' 'Respectfully' and 'Thank you'." Choose the sign-off that fits the industry -- and your personality -- the best.

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Provide your contact number one more time. Particularly with an informal note (for instance, if this is a friend or a recruiter who you're acquainted with) it can be helpful to include a phone number under your name after you sign off, notes Mayer. Sure, they have your contact information in your resume, but the idea is to make it as easy as possible for them to reach out to you. The idea is to keep the conversation going. And on that note....

Say you'd like to discuss further. You want to leave the door open and urge your prospective employer to invite you to step through it, says Martin Yate, author of "Knock 'em Dead 2013: The Ultimate Job Search Guide." "Say you'd like to talk and give a number, or promise to follow up with a phone call -- and do it. No one gets hired without conversation, and this is the quickest way to get one started," Yates says. Of course, if the job posting says "no phone calls," follow the instructions.

Check your letter for typos. There are few worse feelings than pressing "send," re-reading the note and noticing a typo. Read it slowly-- out loud if possible -- and you should catch any errors. You can also use the copy-editor's trick of reading your letter backwards. That makes it easier to spot mistakes because your brain processes words as discrete units rather than as parts of longer sentence blocks. And if you're sending out a bunch of letters on a single day, make sure you have entered the right company and contact.

Finally, follow up on whatever you suggested as the next step. If you promise to call within a week, call within a week. If they asked for no phone calls, follow up with a quick email underlining your enthusiasm about the position and desire to discuss it. 

  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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