Writing formal letters, especially covering letters for job applications, can be a daunting task. You’ve got to start off with the correct salutation, clearly and concisely convey your message, and then there’s the sign-off. Is it “sincerely“? Or “faithfully“? “Best wishes“? “Kind regards“?

The rules are fairly simple. If your salutation is “Dear Sir/Madam”, always use “yours faithfully“. If addressing a person by name (for example, “Dear Mr Jones,”), you should use “yours sincerely“. Taking out the “yours” from “yours sincerely” is also an acceptable alternative.

Best wishes“, “kind regards” and the like are much more informal. They can be used between friends and work colleagues who have established a relationship. I like “kind regards” as an email sign-off as it denotes more friendliness than “regards” whilst also maintaining a formal and professional air. Anything that involves “hugs” should be kept strictly between close personal friends!

An extra thing to note is that whether using ‘sincerely’ or ‘faithfully’, the first letter is never capitalized.

There’s a handy guide here with some good opening and closing lines as well as setting out “yours faithfully” and “yours sincerely” as I have explained above.