In the professional world, familiar phrases can be useful. After all, they help you communicate your needs and wants in a way that’s widely accepted and understood. And the ubiquitous phrase “I look forward to hearing from you” can be a useful shorthand at the end of an email. But, as with all shorthand, you sometimes run the risk of coming off as insincere if you use it, as anyone who’s ever received a “just checking in” email can certainly attest.
Here’s what you should know about the phrase, including when to use it and when to avoid it.
What does “I look forward to hearing from you” mean?
The phrase “I look forward to hearing from you” is one way to communicate that you expect to get a reply from the person you’re emailing or writing to. The expression uses a phrasal verb, which combines the verb “hear” with the preposition “from” to create a new meaning: “receive a reply.”
The tone of this expression is friendly but firm—it’s less open-ended than “I hope to hear back.” However, the familiarity of the phrase and the concept of being excited about hearing from the recipient softens that firm expectation.
When should you tell someone “I look forward to hearing from you”?
This English phrase is a solid, professional email sign-off that works whenever you’re talking to someone you want to get a reply from in the near future. For instance, it can be particularly useful in the following situations:
That said, it can be easy to fall back on this phrase out of habit, even when it may not be the best option. For example, if you have specific expectations about when you’d like the recipient to get back to you, or what kind of feedback you need from them, other phrases may be more appropriate.
7 alternatives to “I look forward to hearing from you”
“Let me know if you have any questions—I’m happy to help”
Sometimes you don’t necessarily need or expect a response, but you want to leave the door open in case the reader needs to talk to you. That’s when this phrase is helpful. For instance, if you’re emailing your boss or a client, stating that you are open to that kind of collaborative experience and are prioritizing their needs can help establish rapport. It also works well the first time you email someone since it’s so friendly.
“Talk to you soon”
This phrase—or “I hope to hear from you soon”—works well as an alternative to “looking forward to hearing from you” since it’s a different way of conveying a similar expectation. The time element (“soon”) can also be altered to something more specific. For instance, if you and your correspondent have now scheduled a meeting and you don’t need to hear anything before then, you might choose to say, “Talk to you next week.”
“I appreciate your timely response”
This is a direct way to say that you anticipate a response and that it’s time-sensitive. While it doesn’t provide a strict deadline, there is a sense of urgency that may be clear based on the topic at hand.
Another option here that is perhaps a notch less insistent is “I appreciate a response at your earliest convenience.” That way, you can acknowledge that the recipient is busy and may not be able to get back in a “timely” fashion. However, if you truly need a quick answer, the original phrasing (or asking for a “prompt” response) is the way to go.
“Unless I hear otherwise, I’ll assume we’re all set”
There’s a lot of trust in this phrase, so it makes the most sense when used in less formal work environments or among teams you’ve worked with extensively. This phrase, like “Talk to you soon,” conveys that you don’t necessarily need a response, while adding that you do expect to be made aware under certain circumstances, for instance, if something unexpected comes up.
“Please keep me informed”
This phrase is short and to the point, and it doesn’t attempt to talk around the fact that you require updates. For that reason, it’s best used when you’re overseeing a project or employee and genuinely need to be kept in the loop. It also implies a sense of trust in the recipient because you don’t feel the need to clarify exactly when updates should or shouldn’t come. So you should reserve this phrase for those you’ve worked with previously, rather than new hires or collaborators.
“Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll [X]”
This is another open-ended option, which works best if you’re emailing someone who has no obligation to respond to you. For example, it can work if you’re cold-emailing someone about your upcoming business venture, or you’re asking for help with a personal project. It also allows you to set expectations about the way that their response would be handled, which can in turn help them understand if they’re able to help.
Be direct with a call to action
A call to action (CTA) is a direct statement about what you need from the reader, so it can be especially useful in an email template that’s going out to a large audience. For example, you may need the recipients to complete a task (such as filling out a survey), provide context, or point you to the right person. The CTA requests an appropriate follow-up email providing the information or action you requested so you don’t have to track down your recipient later for that information.
3 examples using alternatives
- Job application cover letter: Let me know if you need any additional context about my work history or have any questions. I’m always happy to help.
- Sales email: If you’re interested, click the link below to schedule a quick 15-minute phone call to discuss the details.
- Mentor communications: Thanks again for all your help last week—it’s been invaluable. I eagerly anticipate your feedback on the next project!
“I look forward to hearing from you” FAQs
What does “I look forward to hearing from you” mean?
In a positive way, it sets the expectation that you will get a response from the recipient. It also implies that you do enjoy working with them or appreciate their time.
When should you use this type of expression?
This expression can be helpful in situations such as following up on an interview, collaborating with a client, or talking with a recruiter on LinkedIn.
What are three alternative expressions?
If you don’t want to use this phrase, you can instead say, “I appreciate your timely response,” “Let me know if you have any questions,” or “Please get back to me by [date],” depending on your situation.