7 Ways to Address Your Cover Letter That Aren't "To Whom It May Concern"

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To Whom It May Concern: I am applying for this job I found at this company that I spent so little time researching I can’t quite remember what role is open and I’m not positive I know the name of the company or what it does. Also, I decided to address it to “whom” because you must have a whom or two over there, right?

If that sounds absurd, now you have a taste first-hand of what it’s like for a recruiter or hiring manager to see the words “To Whom It May Concern” at the top of your cover letter .

And I hope that that bland, overripe, “To Whom It May Concern”-y taste has sufficiently convinced you to vow never to use the phrase again, at least when it comes to your current and future job applications. (You may find other situations where it’s appropriate—such as when lodging a customer service complaint—but I can assure you your cover letter isn’t one of them.)

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Those five little words tell a recruiter or your prospective boss a lot, and none of it is good. Not only does the phrase make you sound like a yellowing doily on your grandmother’s coffee table (in other words, ancient), but it also smacks of laziness, or apathy, or a lack of resourcefulness, or some combination of any number of characteristics that won’t help you get hired. Because to them, if you were truly excited about the idea of working for this company, you’d surely take the time to tailor your greeting.

Yes, job searching can be tedious and frustrating and sometimes mildly soul-crushing, and maybe you’re pretty sure you’d rather step on a beehive than spend any more time writing cover letters. But at the end of the day, your goal is to get a new job, or at least land an interview. What’s the point in dashing off another cover letter if the very first words on it will make the reader wrinkle their nose and toss it aside?

So do everyone a favor and next time, try one of these “To Whom It May Concern” alternatives.

1. Dear/Hello [Name of Person Who’d Be Your Boss]

The best thing you can do for yourself when addressing your cover letter is figure out who the person filling the open role would report to—i.e. your potential future boss.

Sometimes it’s easy: When I applied for my current role, the job description said something like “This role reports to the editor in chief.” I went to The Muse’s team page, found the editor in chief, and wrote my letter to her. But other times, it won’t be as immediately clear. Do some research and see if you can infer who it is, or if you happen to have a connection at the company, ask them!

While you’re doing your company research, try to assess how formal the culture is to determine:

  • Whether to start with “Dear” or “Hello” (or maybe neither—you can also go with just their name)
  • Whether to use honorifics (Mr., Ms., Dr., Prof., etc)
  • Whether to use a full name or just a first name

You’ll probably want to err toward more formal if you’re not sure, and make certain you don’t accidentally misgender someone with the wrong honorific (if you can’t confirm it 100%, drop any gendered language and just use the name).

Even if you don’t have your prospective boss’s name and choose one of the options below instead, make sure you still ask yourself the same questions about formality and tone.

2. Dear [Name of the Head of the Department for Which You’re Applying]

If you’ve made a good-faith effort to figure out who your boss would be and it’s just not yielded any answers, don’t panic. It’s not always possible to find that information at this point in the process.

However, you might still be able to address your cover letter to a specific person by simply choosing the head of the department the role falls under. Sure, it may be your prospective boss’s boss, or their boss, but in a way, you’d still be reporting to them up the chain. And it demonstrates that you made an effort and considered what part of the organization you’d be joining and how you’d fit in.

3. Dear [Name of Department for Which You’re Applying]

Along the same lines, if you can’t find the name of a department head , you can go ahead and address your letter to the team or department. For example, you could say “Dear Sales Department” or “Hello Product Team.”

4. Dear [Name of Recruiter]

Now, if you’re determined to write to a specific person but have given up on finding the manager or department head, there’s still hope! If you can zero in on the recruiter or talent acquisition specialist (or the head of recruiting), you can address your letter to them. After all, they’ll likely be the first ones to read it and decide whether you should move on to the next step.

5. Dear [Whatever This Company Calls Their Recruiting Team or Department]

But if you can’t figure out a name there, you can also address the team—just take a few minutes to look up what exactly this particular company calls it. You’ll end up with something like “Dear Recruiting Department” or “Dear Talent Acquisition Team.”

And you might want to stick the name of the company in there and make it something like “Dear Muse Talent Acquisition Team.” That way, you’re giving a first signal that you know which company you’re applying to and not just sending a generic letter.

6. Dear Recruiter/Hiring Manager

Another option is to address your letter more generically to the recruiter or hiring manager by using those titles, i.e. “Dear Recruiter” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”

7. Dear [Role for Which You’re Applying] Search Committee/Hiring Manager/Hiring Team

But even then, you might want to be a little more specific by incorporating the role you’re applying for into the salutation. For example, you might say “Dear Account Executive Search Committee” or “Hello Happiness Hero Hiring Manager” (yes, that’s a real title ).

At the very least, you’re showing that you know what role you’re applying for and that you’ve done some amount of tailoring of your application—more so than a “Dear Recruiter” would immediately indicate.

Your ultimate goal when you’re writing a cover letter is to get to the next step in the hiring process. Just remember that the whoms won’t be impressed if you address them as such. After all, they do have names, roles, teams, departments, and committees. Pick one of those instead and your letter is much more likely to get read, and you’re much more likely to get hired.

to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

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Should You Use “To Whom It May Concern” In Your Cover Letter

Recruiter-backed alternatives to 'To Whom It May Concern'. Learn how to personalize your cover letter with tailored greetings, and get tips on researching the hiring manager's name to make a strong, professional first impression.

6 months ago   •   6 min read

One of the hardest parts of writing a cover letter is getting the greeting right. After all, it’s a letter, so you have to address it to someone...

But who do you address it to? You may have heard that it’s not a good idea to use “to whom it may concern” in your cover letter. But if you can’t use that phrase, what should you use instead?

One easy answer is “Dear hiring manager.” It’s to-the-point and respectful without being as impersonal.

However, if you can find the person’s name, that’s even better— and these days, with all the information available on company websites and LinkedIn, people may expect that if you care about getting this job, you’ll do enough research to learn their name.

In this article, we’ll discuss when you might be able to get away with using “to whom it may concern,” why it’s usually a bad idea, alternatives to this phrase, and how to become an expert researcher to find the name of the person who will be hiring you.

Let’s get started!

Key advice from a recruiter to keep in mind when trying to decide if you should start your cover letter with ‘To whom it may concern’

When it’s ok to use a generic greeting like “to whom it may concern”

Although "To whom it may concern" is seen as as outdated or impersonal in modern job markets, there are specific situations where you may still want to use it:

Formal or traditional industries

In academia, where traditions are respected, using "To Whom It May Concern" demonstrates an understanding of and respect for established protocols.

Research the culture of the industry or organization. If their communication typically uses a formal tone, you’re good to go.

Large organizations with unknown recipients

When you’re applying to a multinational corporation where you’re not exactly sure who will be reviewing your letter, and the company's communication style is generic. In this case, you can also use “Dear Hiring Manager” or one of the other alternatives we suggest later in this article.

With large organizations, you can use “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager” as a safe option when the company structure is complex and you can’t identify a specific person. However, try to at least send your greeting to the department (e.g., "To Whom It May Concern in the Marketing Department").

When personalization is not possible

If the job listing provides no specific contact information and your research yields no results.

It's better to use a generic yet respectful greeting than to guess incorrectly. However, if you can find any information at all, drop the generic greeting like a hot potato.

In cultures where it’s the norm

In certain cultures or regions, formal greetings are still the norm, especially in conservative sectors.

Understand the larger cultural context of the company. In some global markets, "To Whom It May Concern" is still standard practice.

When not to use a generic greeting

Even though there are a few cases where you can get away with it, the majority of the time using "To Whom It May Concern" is not your best option. Here are some situations where you should avoid it at all costs:

In modern, informal industries

In tech startups or creative fields like advertising or design, where more casual and innovative cultures thrive.

Many modern industries value personality and creativity. Using a generic and formal tone in your cover letter can suggest a lack of effort or research in understanding the company's culture.

When information is available

If the job listing includes the name of the hiring manager or if you've found the hiring manager through research.

In these cases, not using the hiring manager’s name can come across as lazy or imply that you don’t pay attention to details.

Small to mid-sized companies

Smaller organizations where teams are closely-knit and the hiring process is personal.

Using a generic salutation in more personal settings can imply a lack of genuine interest in the company and its people— not a great look.

Companies that emphasize personal connection

Organizations that value individuality and personal connection, which is often highlighted in their job postings or company culture pages.

A generic greeting may raise red flags with these companies, who often look for candidates who live out their values of personalization and individuality.

To sum up: if you’re not 100% sure that you can use “To Whom It May Concern,” don’t use it.

The best alternatives for “to whom it may concern”

Even if you need to use a generic phrase, there are way better options for the beginning of your cover letter than “to whom it may concern” in most cases.

Your choice depends on the information you have about the job posting and how comfortable you are with using informal/personal language. Here are some alternatives worth considering:

“Dear Hiring Manager”

This is one of the best ways to address the reader of a cover letter when you don’t know the recipient’s name. It’s professional, maintains respect for their role, respects their privacy, and is widely accepted.

“Dear [Job Title]”

If you're applying for a specific role but don't have a name, addressing the cover letter to the job title (or the job title’s supervisor) can work.

While "Dear Hiring Manager" is a more widely accepted way to start, "Dear [Job Title]" is specific and directly addresses the role you’re applying for.

You can use this alternative when you're aware of the job title for which you're applying and the company’s org chart. For instance, "Dear Marketing Manager" when applying for a marketing position.

“Hello [Department Name]”

This one is a good choice when you know the department you're applying to but not the individual. It demonstrates that you've done some research to identify the relevant department.

Use this when you know the specific department you’re applying to but don’t know the name of the hiring manager. For example, "Hello Marketing Department" when applying for a marketing role.

“Dear [Company Name] [Department Name] Team”

When you want to address a group of people, such as the entire HR team or a department, this option works well. It shows that you recognize the collaborative nature of the workplace and hiring process.

Choose this when you believe your cover letter may be reviewed by a team or multiple individuals within the organization. For example, "Dear ABC Company HR Team."

“Greetings”

This is a versatile and friendly alternative that maintains a polite tone (while avoiding assumptions).

Use "Greetings" when you have very limited information about the hiring manager or when you want to maintain a neutral and respectful tone.

“Hello Hiring Team”

If the company you’re applying for has a very casual company culture, and you know that a team will be reviewing applications, you can acknowledge their collective effort with this casual and friendly greeting.

Make sure that the company truly supports a casual approach. In some industries (like finance or law) or more formal companies, this is too informal and may be seen as disrespectful.

Strategies for finding the hiring manager's name

For many cover letters, your best bet is to find the name of the person who will actually be reviewing your application. You can often find the hiring manager’s name by following these steps:

Start with the job posting

Review the job posting or advertisement carefully. Sometimes, the name or contact information of the hiring manager is provided. Look for any details that indicate who you should address your application to.

Check the company website

Visit the company's official website and navigate to the "About Us" or "Contact Us" section. Look for executive profiles, department heads, or a directory that may list the hiring manager's name.

Social media

Check the company's social media profiles, especially LinkedIn and Twitter, for any mentions or posts by the hiring manager. They may share updates or insights that can help you identify them. On LinkedIn, search for the company's page and explore employee profiles to identify the hiring manager or relevant department head. Sometimes, LinkedIn profiles include details about their roles.

(Pro tip: before you reach out on LinkedIn, make sure you run your profile through LinkedIn Review so you’re ready to impress your potential future boss!)

Company directory

Some organizations maintain an online company directory with contact information for employees. Search for this directory on the company's website and see if you can find the hiring manager's name and title.

Contact the HR department

If all else fails, you can call or email the company's HR department and politely inquire about the name of the hiring manager or the appropriate contact person for the job application.

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to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

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What to Write Instead of "To Whom It May Concern"

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In This Guide:

What are the best alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern."

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Quick Answer: "To make a good impression in your cover letter, avoid using ""To whom it may concern"" or ""Dear Sir or Madam."" Instead, use a more personal approach like ""Dear [Mr./Mrs./Ms/Mx.] [Last Name]"" or address the whole HR team such as ""Dear HR team"". If you do not know their name, use their job title like ""Dear HR Manager"". Remember, personal touch always counts!"

If you've ever used the "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam" opening line in a cover letter and it didn't quite work in your favor, i.e.you didn’t get a call for an interview, in this article, you will find out why.

Furthermore, we’ll also give you some good openings to use instead.

The recruitment field in 2024 is not the same as in 2015. The complex migration movements worldwide, recent war conflicts, and cultural movements like "Black Lives Matter" and "Me Too" made the globe a melting pot, where hundreds of nationalities and cultures have to find ways to co-exist and work together successfully.

A close, personal approach works wonders, so you should avoid mechanical and impersonal language like "To whom it may concern" and "Dear Sir and Madam." So, really you don’t have an excuse not to write a good opening for your cover letter .

It is self-explanatory why – opening with either one of the above salutations completely disregards the human behind the complex work structure. Moreover, it shows you didn't put the minimal time investment and minor effort to research the name of the right recruiter to address.

Especially nowadays, almost everyone has accounts on any possible social media that exist, even more so – the recruiters. So it may take you no more than a few minutes to find the right HR name to address in your cover letter!

Last but not least – using the outdated "To whom it may concern" can be interpreted as a lack of interest or motivation to find out who's reading on the other side. Such salutation would also imply you write your Cover letters hastily, or even worse – you use one generic motivation letter for all the companies. Both impressions you want to avoid if you are about to succeed and get that fantastic job!

Now that you know why you should never write "Dear Sir or Madam" on a cover letter, in the age where everyone can turn into a spy thanks to the vast opportunities the Internet carries, let's prepare you for the perfect substitutes!

You can read more on writing highly enticing and attractive cover letter salutations in our Cover Letter Salutation That Entices the Recruiter to Learn More About You .

What are the best alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern."

There are a proven set of cover letter openings that are suitable for today’s business landscape and are also a better fit than any impersonal greeting. Let’s take a look at them.

If you know the hiring manager's name – use it.

Having that info aforehand is the best-case scenario! The right recruiter's name is in the job ad, or you managed to dig it out from the socials of the organization or via a quick call to the HR department.

Then you can proceed with the gold standard salutation of cover letters:

Dear [Mr./Mrs./Ms/Mx.] [Last Name]

That formal business salutation suits well in a cover letter for a more conservative or corporate organization.  However, be aware of some underwater riffs you can trip in here!

Let go over some specifics to ensure you avoid potential clashes or massive failures – like wrong addressing based on the marital status, gender, or orientation of your recipient.

Dear [Mrs.] [Last Name]

Use when the recipient is a woman, and you know she is married. Use also when  you don't have information about her marital status.

Dear [Ms.] [Last Name]

If you are sure the recruiter is an unmarried woman, then definitely switch the Mrs. with Ms.

Dear [Mx.] [Last Name]

It does not happen way too often, but occasionally you may stumble upon a Recruiter's name, which you are unsure if it is female or male. Some names do have this quality of being gender indecipherable. In this case, you can use the gender-neutral salutation Mx.

If you don't know the hiring manager’s name, use this instead.

Whether the Internet gives you the power to do any research for the company and its HR team, sometimes we need to accept that we cannot find the right person from HR to address. It can happen with job ads posted as confidential or managed through an external recruitment agency.

Even then, remember the rule: personal touch – always. There are several ways to establish that.

Address the whole HR team

No name, no problem! You can still show up as a great communicator by addressing the whole HR team:

  • Dear HR team
  • Dear Recruitment team
  • Dear Hiring team

These are all fantastic options for you to use, which – aside from all else, will also increase your chance of your Cover letter being forwarded to the right HR sooner!

Address the HR by their job title

You don't necessarily need to know your recipient's name to address them personally. For example, one way to salute the HR or other addressee is by using their job title. Take a look at these variations and use in your Cover letter the one that is most appropriate for your case:

  • Dear HR Manager
  • Dear Hiring manager
  • Dear HR Director
  • Dear Managing director

Use these PRO tips in your following cover letter and guarantee your application will not only be read from "head to toe," but you will also make the right impression from the start!

In this article, you learned the surefire, success-proof salutations for a cover letter, which help you not fall short with outdated salutations like the impersonal and not so professionally sounding "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam."

In corporate communication, you can opt for opening lines like:

  • Dear [Mx.] [Last Name] is a handy gender-neutral salutation;
  • Dear [Ms.] [Last Name] applies only in cases you are sure the addressee is an unmarried woman. Otherwise, you're safe sticking to Dear [Mrs.] [Last Name];
  • Dear [First Name] works wonders in cover letters for start-ups and scale-ups and fits well with their tone;
  • Dear Hiring team addresses the whole HR department, builds rapport, and increases your chances of being attended by the right recruiter;
  • Dear HR Manager or Dear [Job role] is a professional solution when you don't have the name of the recruiter responsible for the job opening.

Now your turn! Who you're going to address in your cover letter? Get in the zone and write a breathtaking and elegant Cover letter that is synonymous with success with our cover letter builder .

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To Whom It May Concern Alternatives – How to Address a Letter When You Don't Know Who Will Read It

Abbey Rennemeyer

If you need to reach out to someone but don't know their name, what do you do? Well, the answer used to be, "To Whom It May Concern."

Why did this stuffy-sounding phrase become the go-to form of address for unknown recipients? Well, back in the day (before Google, basically), it was a lot harder to find basic information about people you didn't know.

But since people still had to apply for jobs and get in touch with companies, a standard solution seemed helpful. Thus, "To Whom..." started being used.

But the times they are a-changin'.

So how do you address a cover letter or email to someone you've never met, or whose name you just can't find, in the 21st century?

Don't worry - there are many alternatives to the stodgy, old-fashioned "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam".

In this article, we'll look at:

  • how to address a letter in the first place (taking into account tone, formality, titles, and gender neutrality)
  • all the most common ways to address someone without knowing their name, and when/why you might use each
  • how you can discover someone's name if you really want to personalize your letter
  • when it actually is acceptable to use "To Whom It May Concern"

Alright - let's do this.

How to Address a Letter in the First Place

First of all, it helps to know how exactly to start your letter in the first place. This may seem obvious, but there are a few things to consider.

Tone and Formality

When you're communicating with someone you don't know, you should put some thought into how you address them. Even if you know their name, it's not like you're buddies - yet. So you probably wouldn't start a letter with "Hey babe, what's up?"

So what do you say? Well, you can usually count on "Dear [name]" (or any of the other options below if you don't know their name) - it's formal but not stuffy, and it's a pretty widely-accepted way of starting a written communication (at least in the States).

You should probably avoid any language that's too familiar or where your meaning could be misconstrued (see the "Hey babe" above). Until you've established a bit of a rapport with this person, keep it polite and basic.

Titles and Gender Neutrality

If you know the person's name, you have a couple options when addressing them.

You might want to address them as Ms. X or Mr. Y. Just make sure you know how that person identifies so you can use the proper title. If you're not sure, you can try to find out more information (see methods below) or choose some other form of address.

For women/femmes, be aware of whether you use Miss, Mrs, or Ms. The safest bet is to use "Ms.", as it doesn't imply a married or single status. If you know that the person prefers one over the others (you see "Please contact Miss Jennifer Morgan for more information" or something similar), use that.

If you want to discover how someone identifies, you can try to find them on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram are probably your best bets). Sometimes people will list their pronouns in their profiles, like "Jennifer Morgan, she/her" or "AJ DePew, they/them". Not everyone does this, but it's becoming more common.

Lastly, if someone has a Doctorate or other official title/honorific, you should address them that way. For example, "Dear Dr. Morgan" or "Dear Professor DePew".

Not all of this applies if you don't know the person's name. But it's still good to keep in mind when communicating with someone you don't know.

Now let's get into those alternative forms of address.

Alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern"

If you don't know the name of the person to whom you're writing, that's ok. There are still some decent options that will let them know that you did your research and you care.

Dear (Position/Job Title), like "Dear Director of Sales"

If you're applying for a job in, say, the Sales department, chances are someone with the title "Director of Sales" will be your boss (or your boss's boss...).

And while you most likely aren't applying directly to that person (that is, they won't be the first to see your application/cover letter), they're still a relevant person/position to whom to address your communication.

Using this form of address shows that you've at least done your homework regarding the position for which you're applying, how the departments are structured, and so on.

Dear (Team/Department), like "Dear Social Media Department" or "Dear Social Media Team"

If you're not sure how the company is structured, or what positions you might interact with if you get the job, you can take it step back.

Starting off with "Dear Social Media Department" isn't quite as direct as singling out one person, but it's still relevant and thoughtful.

Using this type of address works well if you're applying to a larger company/team and it's really hard to single out one position or person who will definitely see your application.

Keeping it Casual with "Greetings", "Hello", "Good afternoon" and so on

We've all probably gotten emails that start with "Hi there!" or just "Hello". These forms of address are certainly more casual than "Dear X", but they might be the right choice in certain situations.

If you can't find out any specific information about where your application might be going, something like "Hello there" or "Hi there" is a good neutral option. If you're sending your email first thing in the morning, "Good morning" also works well.

It will be fairly obvious that you have no idea to whom you're speaking, but at least you're being polite and neutral.

Before using this option, however, it might be a good idea to do some research into the company's culture. If it seems like they're fairly relaxed and casual, these greetings are probably ok.

Dear (Name of person who'd be your boss/to whom you'd report)

Now, perhaps you don't know exactly to whom you're applying or sending that cover letter. But you might be able to figure out who your boss would be (if you got the job).

Dig into that company website. Read the bios, figure out who's on what team, and who's in charge of what. If you can learn to whom you'd report, you can address your letter to them.

Sure it sounds ambitious (and maybe a tad presumptuous?) but it does show that you know how to do your research. And that you care about the job, the company, and putting your most knowledgeable foot forward.

Dear (Name of the head of the department to which you're applying)

If you're not sure who would be your boss if you got the job, but you still want to use someone's name, zoom out a bit. You can likely figure out who's the head of whatever department you'd join if you got the position.

Once you've found that person, write your letter to them. Again, it's not the most direct (and they likely won't even seen your application, at least not in the beginning), but it's better than "To Whom It May Concern", that's for sure.

And again, similar to the previous option, it shows that you're trying to learn as much about the company as possible.

Dear (Name of recruiter)

If you know the name of the recruiter who'll be reviewing your application, you can certainly address your cover letter to them. It might take a little effort to figure that out, but it does make your cover letter/application stand out.

If you're working with a recruiter, you can ask them. You can also get in touch with the company and see if they'll tell you who that person is. But if you can't figure that out...

Dear (Recruiting Manager or Hiring Manager)

Sometimes those names really are elusive. But it's a pretty good guess to assume that a recruitment or hiring manager will be involved in the process. So addressing your letter to the position might get their attention.

Dear (Position for which you're applying) Hiring Manager, like "Dear Network Engineering Hiring Manager"

When you want to be as specific as you can, but don't know a name, you can always address your communication to the team or committee that's actually hiring you.

To do that, just list the roll you're applying for (like Network Engineer, Social Media Manager, or Database Analyst) followed by "Search Committee", "Hiring Manager", or "Hiring Team" – for example, "Dear Network Engineer Hiring Team".

This way you show that you're aware of the department you'd be part of if you get the job and you're directing your inquiry to them.

Dear (Department) Head, or Dear Head of (Department)

If you want to target the head of your (hopefully) future team, you can address your letter to the head of that department.

It's ok if you don't know their name – just say something like "Dear Network Engineering Department Head".

Dear (Name of referral)

Lastly, if you know someone who works at the company, and they've given you a referral, you can always address your letter to them.

This is particularly effective because it shows that you have a relationship with someone who already works there, and you can be fairly sure that your letter/application will make it past the "first look".

Your friend or acquaintance can check out your letter and then decide who the best person would be to review it.

Bonus: Dear (Full name)

If you find the name of someone on the hiring committee or in the department to which you're applying, that's great. But what if you're not familiar with the origins of that name, and how people are addressed in that part of the world?

In this case, it can be a good idea to use the person's full name. In some places, like Hungary, Taiwan, or Japan, for example, people list their last names first. So by using their full name, you're not presuming to call them by only their first (or last) name.

How to find the right contact person

If you're determined to find a name to which to address your letter, there are a number of ways you can go about it. You can:

  • Ask your recruiter or HR rep - they can often help you get that info
  • Look on the company website - the "About Us" page often has tons of helpful info and details about the team
  • Look in the job application/description - sometimes there are instructions there
  • Look on LinkedIn - this is often the go-to resource for job seekers, as many people are on LinkedIn and have publicly visible profiles
  • If you know someone at the company/in the department, ask them
  • Call and ask the office manager/administrative assistant (and be honest about why you're calling - say you want to personalize your cover letter and you were hoping they could help point you in the right direction)

When it's ok to use "To Whom It May Concern"

There are a few situations where it's appropriate to use "To Whom It May Concern". Mostly they occur when you don't need or want to know the name of the person you're addressing.

So you can use that phrase when:

  • You're providing a recommendation or a reference check for someone else (the company doesn't expect you to research them and find the exact right person to address the letter to).
  • You're submitting a complaint to a company (if you received a defective product, weren't satisfied with their customer service, and so on).
  • You're introducing yourself to someone you've never met and you don't know much about (like if someone requested a quote from you for a service, and so on).

Now you know how to address your correspondence when you don't know your reader's name. See, it's not as scary (or as outdated) as it seems.

Former archaeologist, current editor and podcaster, life-long world traveler and learner.

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Drop “To Whom It May Concern” for These Cover Letter Alternatives

Jacob Meade

Use This Default Greeting

Keep your introduction personal, frequently asked questions: “to whom it may concern” on a cover letter.

The weakest way to start your cover letter is with “To Whom It May Concern.” This vague, antiquated phrase causes a hiring manager to ask, “Does this really concern me?” – at which point your letter will pale compared to all the more urgent matters on their desk.

Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid “To Whom It May Concern” as your salutation. See how to address your recipient more clearly and confidently.

First, replace “To Whom It May Concern” with the more straightforward “Dear Hiring Manager.” Consider this phrase your new default for those rare cases where you don’t know anything about your addressee or the hiring organization. But also view it as a foundation on which it’s important to put other details revealed by the job posting.

Here are the five most common types of information you can find in a job posting, along with tips for adding them to “Dear Hiring Manager.”

1. Company name

Most job postings specify the hiring company. In these cases, simply place it before “Hiring Manager.”

Dear [Company] Hiring Manager:

Dear SZN Inc. Hiring Manager:

2. Division or department name

If the job posting doesn’t name the company, it may still mention the division or department you’d be working for. Take the same approach.

Dear [Department] Hiring Manager:

Dear Sales Department Hiring Manager:

3. Addressee’s job title

Some job postings give the title of the person you’re sending your application to or would report to in the role. Replace “Hiring Manager” with their given title.

Dear [Job Title]:

Dear Recruiting Manager:

Dear Internship Coordinator:

You can combine these first three variables to the extent you know them, such as with:

Dear [Company] [Job Title]:

Dear TAO Services Accounting Manager:

But depending on the job details, that can make an awkward “noun pileup” such as:

Dear PricewaterhouseCoopers Sales & Marketing Department Recruitment Officer:

In these cases, keep the job title but move the other details above your greeting, as in:

PricewaterhouseCoopers Sales & Marketing Department 300 Madison Ave New York, NY 10017

Dear Recruitment Officer:

Or, if you’re sending your cover letter as an email message, you can move details up to the subject line instead:

[Subject] Job inquiry – PricewaterhouseCoopers Sales & Marketing

4. Work culture

If you know or can tell a hiring company’s work culture is on the casual side, you can trade out “Dear” for the less formal “Hello,” “Greetings,” or even “Good morning.” You can also make the text slightly less formal by trading the colon at the end of the line for a comma.

Greetings SOE Services,

5. Addressee’s name

As the best option, trade out “Hiring Manager” for the addressee’s name if it appears on the job posting.

Dear [Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Last Name]:

Dear Mr. Bergsen:

Use “Ms.” for female recipient names unless the job posting suggests they’re to be addressed as “Mrs.” or “Miss.”

If the recipient’s name is non-gender specific, use their full name (or just their first name for a company with a more casual work culture).

Dear Alex Thompson:

Apart from “Dear Hiring Manager” and its many variations, you can also avoid “To Whom It May Concern” by referring to the job opening at hand, as in:

Re: [Job Title] Opening

Re: Sales Manager Job Opening

This option is specific and concise enough. But we don’t recommend it because it’s not very personable. When possible, address your recipient directly – your cover letter is, after all, a letter. By keeping that human touch, you’ll help hiring managers envision you as someone they can call and have in for an interview.

Is it professional to say, “To Whom It May Concern”? -

Technically, yes. “To Whom It May Concern” is a formal phrase long used for certain business communications. But it’s a poor choice for a cover letter and may even be seen as unprofessional by recipients whose names you know or can easily find.

Why is “To Whom It May Concern” a bad cover letter greeting? -

Because it comes off as vague and passive. Two main goals of any cover letter are to engage with a specific employer or job opening and to strike a confident tone. You can serve these goals better by addressing your recipient directly or using “Dear Hiring Manager” if no details about them are available.

Can I omit my cover letter greeting altogether? -

Yes, but we discourage it. When your letter cuts straight to the first sentence, it can make hiring managers doubt you’re addressing them specifically. It can also make them unsure if they’ve even received your full message.

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Jacob Meade

Jacob Meade

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, ACRW)

Jacob Meade is a resume writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience. His writing method centers on understanding and then expressing each person’s unique work history and strengths toward their career goal. Jacob has enjoyed working with jobseekers of all ages and career levels, finding that a clear and focused resume can help people from any walk of life. He is an Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) with the Resume Writing Academy, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.

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10 Best Alternatives To “To Whom It May Concern”

“To whom it may concern” is a common way to start a letter or email when you don’t know who you’re addressing. While a good option, it can seem outdated or overly formal. This article will look at some good alternatives.

What Are The Best Alternatives To “To Whom It May Concern”?

The preferred option is “greetings.” It’s quick and to the point and works in both formal and informal settings. “Greetings” is a great option when you’re unsure who you’re addressing and when you’re unsure about how formal the communication should be.

“Greetings” is a great neutral way to open an email or a letter. It’s not as formal as “to whom it may concern” but it also isn’t casual. Additionally, it’s not dated.

Dear [Department]

“Dear [department]” is a good option when you know which department within a company or organization you’re addressing. “Dear” is a standard way to open professional and formal letters, and addressing the department explicitly can help properly route your message.

Here are some examples:

Dear Hiring Manager

“Dear hiring manager” is appropriately professional, but not quite as formal as “to whom it may concern.” That makes it a great alternative.

Dear [Job Title]

To [description].

The description you put will typically refer to a person or a group of people. For example, you could say “to the person in charge of equipment check out” or “to the team putting together the event.”

Generally, “to” is less formal than “dear.” So if you wanted to make any of the “dear” options above less formal, you could replace “dear” with “to.”

Good Morning/Afternoon

“Good morning” or “good afternoon” are polite ways to open an email. They’re neither formal nor informal and are a standard greeting that any native English speaker will recognize.  

Note that “good morning/afternoon” cannot be replaced with “good night.” “Good morning/afternoon” is a greeting whereas “good night” is a way of saying “goodbye.”

Dear Sir or Madam

“Dear Sir or Madam” is more formal than “to whom it may concern.” It’s also more direct, which makes it more appropriate for things like fundraisers and event invitations.

I Hope This Email Finds You Well

“I hope this email finds you well” is a standard semi-formal way to open an email, especially in professional settings. When a “dear” opening feels too formal and something like “hello” feels too casual, “I hope this email finds you well” is a good choice.

Sometimes it’s best to start with a simple “hello.” “Hello” is moderately formal and appropriate for professional and casual settings alike.

“Hi there” is a casual, upbeat salutation that’s useful in situations where high energy and personality are more called for than formal writing. This sort of greeting is most common in things like branded emails and blog mailing lists.

You may also like: “To Who” or “To Whom”? Correct Version (With Examples)

How to Use To Whom It May Concern (Alternatives Included)

Mike Simpson 0 Comments

to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

By Mike Simpson

Every letter needs a solid salutation. Why? Because it helps the reader figure out who you’re talking to. But what if you don’t know the name of the person you’re addressing? That’s where “to whom it may concern” comes in.

“To whom it may concern” is a generic salutation that can apply to nearly anyone, making it the default approach if you don’t have a contact’s name. But is it a good idea to use “to whom it may concern” in a cover letter ? Well, that depends.

If you’re curious about using “to whom it may concern” in a letter, here’s what you need to know.

Starting a Letter

Before we dig into the nitty-gritty of using “to whom it may concern,” let’s pause for a quick second and talk about starting a letter in general. As a job seeker, there’s at least one kind of letter you’re going to be writing regularly: the cover letter.

Do you actually need a cover letter? Yes, yes, you do. While most hiring managers assert that customizing your resume is the most important thing you can do, nearly half also want to see a cover letter. That’s a big percentage.

Plus, 83 percent of recruiters say that a great cover letter can land you an interview even if your resume isn’t a spot-on match. Holy cow, right? That alone should put cover letters on your must-do list.

Whenever you write any kind of letter, you want to start strong. After all, you need to convince the reader to actually finish the entire thing. If you don’t capture their attention quickly, that may not happen.

In most cases – after you fill in some contact information at the top – the first thing you need in your letter is a salutation. Why? Because it’s polite and directly acknowledges the reader.

Without a greeting, you’re letter just hops into whatever you want to talk about. If you’re writing a cover letter, that means you’d diving into a one-sided discussion about yourself.

The salutation recognizes that there is a person there “listening” to what you’re sharing. It’s a light form of appreciation. Yes, it’s a small gesture, but it’s an important one.

To Whom It May Concern

Alright, let’s take a second to talk about the use of “to whom it may concern” as a letter opening through time. While its exact origin isn’t entirely clear, the phrase does have a long history.

One of the most noteworthy examples is from a document written by President Abraham Lincoln. In a July 18, 1864 letter , he began with “to whom it may concern.” So, the phrase is at least that old.

Generally, the salutation serves as a generic opener when you either aren’t speaking to a particular individual (as a person might do with an open letter to the public) or when you don’t know who the reader is. It’s a polite and incredibly formal way to address an unknown individual. “Dear whoever” just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

Now, if good old Abe Lincoln used it, does that mean you should too? Well, in most cases, no, you shouldn’t. Really, it should be treated as a greeting of last resort, especially for cover letters. If you have any other reasonable alternative that feels even the slightest bit more personal, that’s probably the better choice.

Plus, it feels really old-school. It doesn’t seem like it fits in modern society. The same goes for “Dear sir or madam,” which equal parts generic and out of place.

Now, does that mean you can’t ever use “to whom it may concern” in your cover letter? No, it doesn’t. Instead, it should simply be the last option you explore after everything else falls through.

So, what should you use instead? Well, we’ll get to that in a minute.

It is important to note that there may be a few exceptions. If you’re writing a letter of recommendation that may be used in more than one way – such as for a job search and for college admissions – then “to whom it may concern” might be a better bet. That keeps the reader audience broad, allowing the letter to serve more than one purpose.

But cover letters only have a single reason for existing. As a result, it’s best to get more specific with your greeting.

Proper Usage of To Whom It May Concern

Alright, let’s say that, for whatever reason, “to whom it may concern” is all you’ve got. If that’s the case, then you need to make sure you use it the proper way.

There’s a pretty good chance that one question has been dancing through your mind: Do you capitalize to whom it may concern?

In most cases, when you’re starting a cover letter, you do want to capitalize the greeting. So, that would mean that the to whom it may concern capitalization should look like this:

Additionally, you’ll usually follow it with a colon instead of a comma. It’s the formal approach, which is the perfect choice in these circumstances. So, that gives you:

To Whom It May Concern:

Just remember that you should only use this approach to opening a cover letter if you really can’t figure out anything better. But if you’re really stuck with it, you now know how to use it right.

What about “to whom this may concern?” How do you use that? Typically, you don’t. “To whom this may concern” isn’t the traditionally accepted approach. If you use that, the hiring manager might just assume that you have no idea how to start a cover letter, and that’s no good.

Alternatives to To Whom It May Concern

Okay, we’ve said it a few times now, and it bears repeating once more; don’t use to whom it may concern in your cover letter unless that’s all you have available. But what should you use instead? Glad you asked.

First, you’re always better off using the hiring manager’s name if you can find it. This makes your cover letter feel more personal. So, whenever possible, go with “Dear [Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr.] [First Name] [Last Name].” It really is the best choice.

What about “Mx. [First Name] [Last Name]?” Is that okay to use?

“Mx.” is a gender-neutral way of addressing a person, and it’s increasingly popular with people who consider themselves nonbinary. However, it’s best to only use this if you are 100 percent sure it’s the hiring manager’s preferred title.

Why? Because “Mx.” is still a bit rare in the business world. People who aren’t familiar with it may think that it’s a typo, and that won’t reflect well on you. Plus, there’s also a bit of controversy surrounding its use and, if the hiring manager has strong feelings about it, that could hurt your chances of getting the job.

So, unless you know that the hiring manager prefers “Mx.” it is better to go with something else. If the contact has a gender-neutral name and you can’t find out anything else about them, skip the title and use “Dear [First Name] [Last Name]” instead.

But what if you don’t have the name of a contact? Then, it’s time for a different approach.

You can try “Dear [Job Title/Role]” as an alternative. For example, “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear IT Department Manager” could work. It’s at least a bit more personal, as it’s clearly speaking to a particular individual.

Next, you could go with “Dear [Department].” Again, this is a bit less ideal, as it’s opening it up to a group instead of a specific person. Still, “Dear Marketing Department” is still better than “to whom it may concern” for a letter salutation.

If the workplace is more casual, you may even be swing “Greetings” as the entire salutation. It’s less formal and a bit warmer. However, it might not sit well with every hiring manager, so you may only want to use this one if you know the company is pretty darn relaxed.

Tips for Finding a Contact Person

By now, you know that using the contact’s name is the absolute best approach when you’re writing a cover letter. If you want to find it, start by reviewing the job ad.

In some cases, the contact person’s information is right there in black and white. In others, you may be able to figure it out based on other contact details. For example, if you’re told to send your resume to an email address, and that email is clearly based on a person’s name, you may have all you need to know. A lot of companies use employee first and last names to create their email addresses, so this may be all you need.

Other companies use certain details from a person’s name, like first initials and full last names, or partial first and last names. At times, this enough information for you to figure the rest out. You can use resources like the company website or LinkedIn to find a match based on what you do know.

But if any clues about the person’s name aren’t in the job ad, how do you find it?

In this case, a great place to begin is the company website. If you can find staff bios or an overview of the company’s organizational structure, you may be able to suss out who is overseeing the role. This is especially true if the job ad includes the job title of who you would be reporting to, as there may be only one employee with that title in a suitable department.

If that doesn’t work, head on over to LinkedIn. You can head to the company’s page to look for a staff list or may be able to figure out who your contact would be by doing a search.

Contacting members of your network may also be a good idea. If you know someone who works at the company today, they may be able to clue you in by providing you the hiring manager’s name.

Finally, you could try to reach out to the company and simply ask them. Let them know that you are preparing to apply for a job and want to know who you need to address your cover letter to. Now, they may decline to give you that information, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

If none of those approaches work, then it’s time to use one of the “to whom it may concern” alternatives we listed above. If you at least know the job title or department, that could be enough. Plus, you can always go with the classic “Dear Hiring Manager,” as that will usually strike the right chord.

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, there is a time and place for “to whom it may concern” in a letter, just not usually in a cover letter. Try all of the alternatives above before you default to a generic greeting. That way, you’re cover letter is more likely to make a great impression, increasing the odds that you’ll get called in for an interview.

to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.

His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others.

Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .

About The Author

Mike simpson.

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Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .

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to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

The Future World of Work

9 “To Whom It May Concern” Alternatives In Cover Letters

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

Last updated: April 25, 2024

It would be great if you could find contact information about your hiring manager or potential employer; the rest of your cover letter intro would be a breeze to write. 

To Whom It May Concern

However, since such info is not always available, you need a backup plan for your greeting. To Whom It May Concern is a common go-to, but for jobs where they appreciate the effort, this option might not cut it. 

Let’s find other ways to say To Whom It May Concern that make your job inquiry stand out better.

In this article:

9 alternatives to to whom it may concern that works great.

Instead of To Whom It May Concern , you can say Greetings, Good Morning/Good Afternoon, Dear Hiring Manager, Dear [Department], Dear [Role], Dear Mr/Ms [Last name], Hello/Hi, Dear [Company Name] Team, Dear [Name of Referral Source] (if you have a referral).

To Whom It May Concern cover letter

Some should be used with caution, however. 

1. Greetings,

Compared to To Whom It May Concern, Greetings sound more approachable without losing professionalism (like Hello or other overly casual greetings). Its brevity also helps keep the focus on the main content of your letter.

After thoroughly researching Acme Corp’s innovative work in sustainable architecture, I am writing to express my strong interest in the Marketing Manager position advertised on LinkedIn.

2. Good Morning/Good Afternoon,

This one is a tad friendlier than the impersonal To Whom It May Concern and a quick, safe choice if the job posting has a very short deadline. 

Sometimes, applicants might have already had some informal contact (e.g., a phone screening) but haven’t gotten a name. In that case, Good Morning/Good Afternoon can be a more natural continuation of the conversation.

Good Morning,

I’m writing to express my enthusiasm for the Social Media Manager position at Acme Corp. Having followed your company’s innovative work for a while now, I believe…

3. Dear Hiring Manager,

It’s always safe to assume there’s a hiring manager responsible for the role. Dear Hiring Manager directly addresses the intended recipient without unnecessary guessing and also conveys your respect for the hiring process. 

Dear Hiring Manager,

The Social Media Manager position advertised on LinkedIn immediately caught my attention. With my 5 years of experience in digital marketing…

4. Dear [Department],

This option is great if you want a professional greeting that still shows you have done your research. It demonstrates your basic understanding of the company’s structure, which is particularly well-suited for job descriptions emphasizing collaboration within an entire department.

Dear Marketing Department,

I’m excited to learn about the Social Media Manager position advertised on LinkedIn. With a proven track record of increasing project efficiency…

5. Dear [Role/Department Head],

Mentioning the job title showcases your initiative in research and understanding the company’s needs. 

It works well for positions with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as it tailors the opening to the specific expertise you’re offering. Plus, there’s a clearer touch of personalization here compared to the broader Dear Hiring Manager , especially in smaller companies.

Dear Engineering Manager,

Having recently been impressed by Acme Corp’s pioneering work in sustainable building materials, I’m eager to contribute my skills as a Structural Engineer to your team. My 7 years of experience in civil engineering have been…

6. Dear Mr/Ms [Last name], 

Suppose you have a credible source for a last name (e.g., a mutual connection). In that case, this greeting is more specific and shows effort on your part. The gender-neutral “Mx” also feels more inclusive, according to non-binary respondents I have surveyed.

Dear Ms. Johnson,

Having consistently exceeded sales goals by 25% in my previous role at ABC Company, I’m confident I can bring valuable skills and experience to the Marketing Manager position.

7. Hello/Hi,

Hello or Hi are decent alternatives. However, they should be used cautiously, preferably for startups or highly creative companies with a casual work environment. Remember to research the company culture first before deciding on this greeting.

Never use them for professional settings or when the timing is uncertain; Hello/Hi implies you expect the unknown recipient to be reading it right away, which isn’t always the case.

I came across the Social Media Manager position advertised on your website, and it immediately piqued my interest. Having 5 years of experience in digital marketing with a passion for sustainable fashion, I believe I could be a great fit for your team.

8. Dear [Company Name] Team,

Opt for this fantastic option when you cannot find any information about the recipient (even their department). The greeting still acknowledges the company you’re applying to and feels slightly less generic than To Whom It May Concern. 

In some cases, for a very small company where everyone might be involved in hiring, the greeting will work in your favor and is more accurate than targeting a specific department or person. Better, there are no gendered assumptions here.

Dear Acme Corp Team,

I’m writing to express my keen interest in the Graphic Designer position advertised on LinkedIn. Having honed my design skills for 5 years…

9. Dear [Name of Referral Source] (if you have a referral),

Leveraging your referral’s connection is the quickest way to get your application noticed; I myself tend to spend more time on resumes with a strong referral source. This strategy also provides more valuable context for the hiring manager and vouches for your skills and personality. 

Dear Sarah Jones,

Hi Sarah, this is [Your Name] from our conversation at the recent marketing conference in Hanoi. I’m writing to express my keen interest in the Social Media Manager position. As we discussed at the conference…

Can You Still Use To Whom It May Concern Cover Letter ?

To Whom It May Concern isn’t the most recommended option for a cover letter opening in today’s professional landscape. However, there are rare situations where it might be marginally acceptable, such as for small companies where everyone might be involved in hiring (though you should consider Dear Team even then). 

How to use: 

Center align the phrase on a separate line after your address information. Remember to leave a single line space between To Whom It May Concern and the body of your letter. 

And do you capitalize “to whom it may concern”? My answer is Yes. The first word, all nouns, and titles are typically capitalized in formal salutations; this case is no exception.

Is It Okay To Skip The Salutation Altogether?

A casual work environment might consider this omission acceptable, but I personally don’t recommend it. Even if your extensive research fails to reveal any contact information about the recipient, a simple Dear Company Name team is better than nothing.

You might also like: How Long Should A Cover Letter Be? 7 Powerful Ways To Close A Cover Letter How To Start A Cover Letter Greeting? Who To Address Cover Letter To

My article has covered what to use instead of To Whom It May Concern. Even when you fail to gather any contact information about the person responsible for the hiring team, a Dear Company Name or even Hi/Hello is better than skipping the greetings altogether. Write to me if you still need advice for future job applications!

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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To Whom It May Concern: When And How To Use

What do you do if you need to write an email but don’t know the name of the recipient?

In this case, you may turn to the once-popular “ To Whom It May Concern ”.

Today, we are looking into how and when to use this phrase and even provide a sample cover letter starting with “To Whom It May Concern”.

Plus, we will give you several alternative greetings if you find “To Whom It May Concern” old-fashioned.

To Whom It May Concern: When And How To Use

Table of Contents

How to write a To Whom It May Concern cover letter – example

An email starting with “To Whom It May Concern” is not particularly different from any other email you write.

The one small difference to note may be a difference in tone — an email that starts with “To Whom It May Concern” will typically be more formal than an email starting with “Hi”.

Moreover, when you start your email with “To Whom It May Concern”, you admit that you don’t know the person you are addressing.

This means that your email will probably include more general information and no personal references.

Here’s a quick example of how to use “To Whom It May Concern” in an email.

A cover letter using “To Whom It May Concern” as a greeting:

To Whom It May Concern: My name is John and I am writing in response to a job listing for Senior Sales Manager posted on your company’s website. As a professional sales manager with over five years of experience and a solid portfolio of big contracts and resultative marketing campaigns, I believe that I could be a suitable candidate for this position. Your job listing mentions that you are looking for someone with experience in IT sales and marketing — and this is the area I specialize in exclusively. Over the past three years, I’ve headed several big digital marketing campaigns for my current employer that have resulted in the rise of online engagement among our clients by over 50%. I have also raised the conversion rate for our promotional listings by 20% over the past six months. I believe that my proven track record of successful marketing projects, professional commitment and work ethic make me a candidate worth considering. I am sure that I can become a valuable asset in your current marketing initiatives and would love to contribute to your company’s success. I am looking forward to your feedback on my application for the Senior Marketing Manager position. Please let me know if you have any further questions or would like to see my marketing portfolio. Please find my resume attached to this email. Thank you for your time and for considering my application, Sincerely, Mark Rivers

Here’s how to write a cover letter .

When to use “To Whom It May Concern”

“To Whom It May Concern” may sound a bit outdated and the phrase is used much less often now than before.

However, according to a 2020 survey of over 1,000 hiring managers , 83% of them say that addressing a cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern” will have no impact on their hiring decision.

Here are some typical instances for when you might want to turn to “To Whom It May Concern”:

Cover letter

A cover letter is typically read by a number of people: from HR managers to heads of departments and even the company director.

As you may not be able to “predict” who will be reading your email, you may want to start your email with “To Whom It May Concern”.

To Whom It May Concern: I know that one of Company X’s current goals is to create a centralized hub for all things medical-related online. So this is an incredible opportunity to build a one-of-a-kind online database for patients and healthcare providers. And it’s an excellent fit for my professional and personal interests. To make an impact, I’d like to apply everything I’ve learned about internet growth marketing and search engine optimization to this effort.

Check out our post on What is the purpose of a cover letter ?

Reaching out to a new client

If you send an email to a new client you may want to start it with “To Whom It May Concern”.

However, make sure to use this opportunity to find out the client’s name for future correspondence.

To Whom It May Concern My name is Martha Stuart, and I’m a sales representative at MailDuck, a company that makes it simple to mail customized postcards from a mobile device. Since you recently showed an interest in finding out more about MailDuck, we thought we’d provide you with further details about what we do and why we’re the best service. Please find attached our products and competitive prices. If you sign up before the end of the month, you can save 40% on your first purchase! I hope to get a response from you soon!

Project or company feedback

If the purpose of your email is to get feedback that might be read by multiple people or departments it makes sense to use a generic phrase like “To Whom It May Concern” to start your email .

To Whom It May Concern Thank you for staying over the weekend to assist customers with the billing issue we faced. Our engineers are working around the clock to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Thank you for standing with us in these times of trouble. Your commitment is duly noted. Company X will never forget your contribution to its growth, and we’ll surely compensate you accordingly.

Filing a complaint

If you are writing an email to complain about a product, service or somebody’s work you may want to use “To Whom It May Concern” to avoid pinpointing a specific person.

To Whom It May Concern This letter is to inform you that on November 5, 2018, I purchased spoiled goods. I was assured that the ordered items would arrive in good condition at the time of my purchase. Unfortunately, they arrived spoiled instead. Please find the attached photo and the confirmation of delivery. Do investigate this and either issue a refund or resend the product. I appreciate your time and consideration on this matter. Sincerely, Matha Stuart

Letter of introduction

If you’re writing a letter of introduction to someone you don’t yet know you may use to address your email.

Once again, make sure to ask for the person’s name so that you can address them by the proper name and your next email.

To Whom It May Concern I’m writing to introduce you to Matha Stuart, who I’ve worked with at Company X. As you may already know, I serve as the organization’s Managing Director and collaborated with Matha on many projects. She has more than ten years of experience in the industry and is a fantastic manager. Matha hopes to relocate to Los Angeles. And she would be grateful for any advice you could give her regarding how to look for a job, as well as any assistance you could offer. Please find her resume attached here, and feel free to reach out to her at [email protected] or (555) 231-6587 with any questions. I appreciate your help in advance. Sincerely, John Brady

Prospecting emails

A lot of businesses send out prospects and emails and letters to get in touch with new clients.

As you don’t know the name of the person you are right into, it’s acceptable to use “To Whom It May Concern” in this case.

However, if it is at all possible, do your best to find out the name of the person who will be reading your email.

This will make a much better impression and increase your chances of landing a contract with this client.

To Whom It May Concern I can see from your website that you’re trying to get more traffic to your website. Without knowing the specifics of your business strategy, I am confident our SEO strategy can be integral to your success. I have been following your company for a while now. But you might not be familiar with Company X. Our services focus on three primary objectives: Benefit 1 Benefit 2 Benefit 3 When would you be available for a quick conversation to discuss the future of MailDuck and how we might help? Best, Signature

Related: How to Write a Professional Email

How to avoid using “To Whom It May Concern”

It’s best to only use the generic “To Whom It May Concern” if you can’t find the name of the person you are writing to.

The best possible way to address the email is by using the name of the person you are writing to.

For instance, if you are sending a job application, do your best to learn the name of the hiring manager. Here are just a few ideas on how to do that:

1. Look through the job listing

Quite often, you will be able to find the name of the hiring manager or employer in the job description or job listing itself.

2. Check the website

If you can’t find the name of the contact in the job description, check the company website.

Often, companies will have a page dedicated to their team where you will easily find the name of the hiring manager.

3. Ask your employer

If you still haven’t found the name of the person you should be addressing, consider calling the company and checking with the reception.

You can try to explain your situation and say you are looking for the name of the hiring manager.

If you’ve tried all of this and you still don’t know who you should be addressing, you may have to turn to “To Whom It May Concern” or a similar generic greeting.

How to use “To Whom It May Concern?”

You can use the phrase “To Whom It May Concern” at the beginning of a letter or email – or other forms of correspondence — when you are not sure about the name of the person you should be addressing.

This might happen at many points in your job search.

  • For example, you might be sending a cover letter, letter of recommendation, or other job search materials to someone whose name you do not know.
  • Note that when you address a letter or email with “To Whom It May Concern”, the phrase should be capitalized and followed by a colon.
  • As we’ve mentioned above, “To Whom It May Concern” is a rather outdated expression.

While you can still use it, there are also more modern alternatives that you may want to consider.

Please find some options below.

To Whom It May Concern Alternatives

Here are just a few ideas of greeting that you can use instead of “To Whom It May Concern”:

Here are some options:

  • Dear Hiring Committee
  • Dear Hiring Team
  • Dear HR manager
  • Dear HR representative
  • Dear Human Resources Team
  • Dear Recruiting Manager
  • Dear Recruiting Team
  • Dear (name of department) Manager
  • Dear (name of department) Team

You can also use a general greeting that is meant for a group of people.

For instance, if you are reaching out to someone in your network for help with the job search, you can start your letter or email with “Dear Friends and Former Colleagues” or “Dear Friends and Family” and so on.

Summing things up

So, here are a few key take-aways about using “To Whom It May Concern” in emails:

  • You can address an email with “To Whom It May Concern” when you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to: for instance when applying for a job.
  • In most cases, you should do your best to find out the name of the person who will be reading your email. This will let you avoid the more generic and outdated “To Whom It May Concern”. Try checking the website of the company you are emailing, their social media pages or even consider calling the reception.
  • There are alternatives to using “To Whom It May Concern”. Start your email with a simple “Hello” or a more specific “Dear Hiring Manager” — and so on.
  • You may also want to start an email with “To Whom It May Concern” when you don’t want to address a specific person — for instance, when filing a formal complaint.
  • Use “To Whom It May Concern” when writing an email to a group of people instead of a specific individual — for instance, when giving feedback.

Best Alternative Salutations for “To Whom It May Concern” on a Cover Letter

Wisedoc

Looking for a job is a job in itself! You're essentially competing with hundreds, possibly thousands of other candidates, and your resume could get ignored if you don't have a lasting first impression of your cover letter.

When you're job-hunting, your main goal is to impress the hiring manager and get the job . Your cover letter provides the hiring manager with the first impression of you, and you want to stand out in the crowd by showing your attention to detail in the cover letter's salutation .

However, many job applicants automatically think that using "To Whom It May Concern" is the norm and acceptable. With several salutation alternatives available, it can likely confuse you, and your choice can be the ultimate factor in whether you get a call for an interview or not.

Let's explore when it's appropriate to use "To Whom It May Concern" and discuss a few alternatives that could be better options for your cover letter .

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

The salutation is mainly used for business correspondence when the recipient is not known and will come across as impersonal, generic, and lazy when you're trying to impress a hiring manager.

If you don't know who the hiring manager is, you can do a quick internet search, or go straight to the company's website, or even visit their Linkedin to find contact information. This act will make you look interested in the position and differentiate your resume's cover letter from the other candidates.

There may be instances where there are no details available on the internet, but you can avoid using "To Whom It May Concern" and replace it with an alternative salutation.

For most cover letters, the conventional salutation may be considered obsolete, but there are times when saying 'To Whom It May Concern' is suitable. The following are some examples of when you should use 'To Whom It May Concern.'

[Fig2] to whom it may concern

  • Writing a personal reference or letter of recommendation: If someone asks you to write a [letter of recommendation]( or a personal reference for a position on their behalf, the gender-neutral 'To Whom It May Concern' or 'Dear Hiring Manager' is acceptable.
  • Writing a letter to potential clients: Using "To Whom It May Concern" is appropriate if you send out cold emails or email campaigns to attract new clients, and you don't have the name and contact details of the person in charge of making sales decisions.
  • Providing customer feedback to a company: When providing feedback to a company, you may not know who is responsible for receiving customer feedback. The salutation will come across as professional and inclusive.
  • Making a new client connection: When introducing yourself to a prospective client, you want to stick to a gender-neutral salutation, as you may not know the gender of the recipient
  • Including a cover letter addressed to an unknown recipient: When sending your resume, some companies don't have any direct contact information available. As a result, to maximize your chances of success, keep your cover letter professional. When writing "To Whom It May Concern," it's imperative you capitalize all five words .

There are many instances when you should avoid using "To Whom It May Concern" on a cover letter. Let's look at a few examples of when you should use an alternative salutation:

  • The company's website has an "About Us" page: Researching a company allows you the opportunity to stand out from the other candidates. You get to learn about the people who work there, and you can use this information to write a standout cover letter addressed to the person responsible for the hiring process.
  • The job posting has the hiring manager's contact information: Most job postings have the hiring manager's name and email address. Pay attention to this information on job postings, and you'll come across as interested in the position and professional.
  • You have access to insider information: You may know someone who works for the company you're applying with. Your acquaintance can provide you with the person's contact information responsible for reviewing your application.
  • A professional website lists a specific recruiter: Companies often use several professional websites to attract and recruit candidates. The recruiter or hiring manager's direct contact information is usually available on these websites.
  • Information can be obtained via the customer service department: Get creative and call or email the company's customer service department and ask them to provide you with the contact details of the hiring manager.

Here are some better alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern" that demonstrate that you put some thought into your application.

  • Dear (Full Name): If both the first and last name are known, it is acceptable to omit the title and address the person by their full name. But please be cautious, do not mention name if you’re not so confident on first and last name.
  • Dear (Dr./Professor/Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss): This is likely the most acceptable because it's the most personal and directly acknowledges a person's identity and builds a strong foundation and positive interaction.
  • Dear (Job title): If you don't know who will be reviewing your application but know the person's role, you can use the actual job title as the salutation on the cover letter. Examples include HR Manager, Hiring Manager, Human Resources Representative, etc. You will be acknowledging the role and responsibility while distinguishing your cover letter from others.
  • Hello Hiring Manager: This salutation is a safe option as most companies have hiring managers who review job applications.
  • Greetings (Department) Head: Some company's value their privacy and don't give access to hiring managers' information. If this is the case, refer your cover letter to a specific department, such as Human Resources.
  • Dear (Team or Department): It's best to use an inclusive salutation addressing more than one person if you know your application will be reviewed by a hiring committee or an entire department. You will portray yourself as professional and show them that you will be the perfect fit for their company culture.
  • Remove the salutation: There are so many hiring managers who don't bother to read your salutation as they're too busy skimming through your cover letter and [resume](https://wisedoc.net/blogs/remote-work-no-experience-tips-to-craft-your-resume). Eliminating the salutation can be a good option if you have enough information in your cover letter to make you stand out from the get-go.

Remember that your ultimate goal is to get to the next step in the hiring process. Every hiring person or recruiter has a name, even if you don't know it yet. By putting in effort into your cover letter's salutation, you will automatically stand out amongst the other candidates, potentially getting you an interview.

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Five Other Ways To Say “To Whom It May Concern”

Looking for a phrase to use in place of “to whom it may concern”? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you five formal alternatives.

To whom it may concern alternative. Find them below.

“To Whom It May Concern” Alternatives

To whom it may concern is becoming increasingly outdated, especially if the name of the recipient is known or can be found online. Depending on what you’re writing, other options you can use instead are:

  • Dear [Name of Recipient]
  • Dear [Job Title]
  • Dear [Department]

To whom it may concern is a salutation often used at the start of formal letters or emails. In the age of the internet and easily accessible information, to whom it may concern is sometimes considered old-fashioned. Below, we’ll give you five other ways to say to whom it may concern.

Other ways to say to whom it may concern.

Phrases You Can Use Instead of “To Whom It May Concern”

Keep in mind that the following alternatives can take the place of to whom it may concern, depending on what you’re writing.

This one is pretty straightforward, and should only be used in less formal correspondence with coworkers and colleagues in which a professional relationship has already been established.

Hello Sarah, Can you please do me a favor and forward me the emails you received from John?

2. Greetings

This option is perfect if you’re writing a company-wide email or memo. You can also personalize this alternative by specifying who will be receiving it.

Greetings Accounting Department, Please be advised that the weekly meeting has been rescheduled from 1:00 to 1:30 PM.

3. Dear [Name of Recipient]

If you know the name of the recipient, then there’s no reason not to include it in your salutation. Just remember to use correct spelling and titles.

Dear Dr. Cabell , Thank you for presenting your new findings to our students.

4. Dear [Job Title]

If you’re not sure about the name of the recipient, you can also use their job title. This is commonly found when writing cover letters.

Dear Hiring Manager , Attached to this email are my cover letter and resume.

5. Dear [Department]

This alternative works for formal company-wide emails or memos, as well as cover letters.

Dear Human Resources Department , On behalf of the entire company, we want to thank you for your hard work.

The last three alternatives are perfect for cover letters and formal emails. Besides using proper salutations when writing these, you’ll also want to ensure you’re using proper tone and style. LanguageTool can help rephrase your sentences to be more formal, more fluent, and even shorter. Try it today.

Using “To Whom It May Concern”

Even though it’s becoming less and less frequent to come across the salutation to whom it may concern, some people do still use it, and that’s okay.

If you’re writing an email or cover letter and aren’t sure who is receiving it, then use this option. But before you do, try to find the name of the person (or department) who will be receiving your email or letter. If you do happen to find it, then it’s recommended to use the alternatives listed above.

Gina

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Status.net

“To Whom It May Concern” [How, When, Alternatives]

By Status.net Editorial Team on June 16, 2023 — 7 minutes to read

“To Whom It May Concern” is a phrase used in formal letters as a salutation when the recipient’s name is unknown. It is considered a polite way to address a letter when you are unsure who will be reading it. While it has been used for many years, its usage in correspondence has declined recently, making it seem somewhat outdated and old-fashioned.

Using “To Whom It May Concern” suggests a level of formality in your communication. This can be useful, especially when addressing potential employers who may appreciate the traditional approach. However, some employers might view it as an indication that you have not put enough effort into finding the recipient’s name. In that case, using this phrase might come across as lazy and could negatively impact your chances of landing an interview.

When writing a formal letter that includes “To Whom It May Concern,” it is crucial to ensure the spelling and formatting are correct. That includes double-spacing after the colon and using proper capitalization. Remember that correctness in such details reflects your attention to detail and professionalism.

Although “To Whom It May Concern” has its rightful place in formal letters, you should make an effort to find the recipient’s name whenever possible. This demonstrates your willingness to research and personalizes your message. If you cannot find the specific individual’s name, consider alternative salutations, such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear [Department] Team”.

Related: How to Start a Letter (and Mistakes to Avoid)

“To Whom It May Concern” Capitalization

It is important to remember that the phrase “To Whom It May Concern” should be capitalized properly to adhere to standard writing conventions.

The first letter of each word in “To Whom It May Concern” should be capitalized, including the prepositions “To” and “It.” This is because the phrase functions as a formal greeting and should be treated as such. Additionally, it is important to avoid using all caps or lowercase letters, as this can appear unprofessional and may convey a lack of attention to detail.

In general, proper capitalization is an important aspect of effective communication in both written and spoken language. By following standard conventions and taking care to capitalize important words and phrases, you can ensure that your message is clear, professional, and easy to understand. Whether you are writing a formal letter, an email, or a report, taking the time to pay attention to capitalization can make all the difference in how your message is received.

How to Write “To Whom It May Concern” with Examples

When to use “to whom it may concern”.

“To Whom It May Concern” is a formal greeting used in professional correspondence when you are uncertain of the recipient’s name or position. Use this phrase when you do not know the name or gender of the person to whom your letter or email is directed. This type of greeting is particularly useful in job applications, inquiry letters, complaints, or any other situation where you need to reach out to an organization without a specific contact person.

Example Use of the Phrase

When using “To Whom It May Concern,” follow it with a colon and begin your letter or email with a professional tone. Here’s an example:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to inquire about the open position of Marketing Manager at X Company. With my extensive experience in marketing and passion for your brand, I believe I would be a valuable addition to your team.

[The body of your letter continues here]

Remember to keep the content of your letter or email formal and professional, and use appropriate formatting, such as bullet points and bold text, to emphasize important information.

When Not to Use “To Whom It May Concern”

When you are writing a business letter or correspondence, it’s always better to address the recipient by their name. Doing so demonstrates professionalism and a personal touch. 

How to Find the Recipient’s Name

  • Check the company’s website: Look through the company website, specifically in the “About Us” or “Team” sections to see if you can find the name of the person you’re contacting.
  • Utilize LinkedIn: This professional networking website is a goldmine for contact information. Search the company and look through employee profiles to see if you can find the person in charge of the department in question.
  • Contact the company directly: If all else fails, call or send an email to the company’s main contact number or email address. Ask the human resources department or receptionist if they can give you the name of the person you need to address your correspondence to.

Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern” when you have a specific contact person or department to address your letter or email. This generic greeting can make your correspondence feel impersonal and may even give the impression that you didn’t take the time to research the recipient’s name.

Only use this phrase when it’s truly necessary, such as in a blind submission for a job or when you have exhausted all efforts to find the addressee’s name.

Alternative Ways to Say “To Whom It May Concern”

Instead of using “To Whom It May Concern,” there are alternative ways of addressing your recipient that can help create a more personalized and engaging tone in your writing.

Example of Alternatives Ways to Say “To Whom It May Concern”

  • Dear [Job Title] : If you know the specific position of the recipient but not their name, using the job title is a great way to address them, e.g., “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Customer Service Representative.”
  • [Department Name] Team or [Company Name] Team : If you are addressing a particular team or department, you can use their name, e.g., “Human Resources Team” or “Widgets Inc. Team.”
  • Good Morning/Good Evening : Appropriate for more informal settings or when writing to a group, you can use the time of day as a salutation, e.g., “Good Morning, Sales Team.”
  • Dear Sir/Madam : Although slightly formal, this greeting is still widely used for formal communication when the recipient’s name or gender is unknown.

Remember, when using these alternatives, always capitalize on the first letter of each word in your salutation, just as you would in “To Whom It May Concern.”

Before using alternatives, it’s always worth putting in some effort to find the recipient’s name. This can make your message more personal and show that you took the time to research. You can search for the recipient’s name on the company website or their social media profiles. Having the correct name and adjusting your pronoun usage accordingly (he, she, they, etc.) can help build a stronger connection with your recipient.

Choosing the right greeting for your letter or email can set the tone for your entire message. By opting for alternatives to “To Whom It May Concern,” you can create a more personalized and engaging piece of writing that sets you apart from others.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning behind the phrase ‘to whom it may concern’.

The phrase ‘To Whom It May Concern’ is a formal greeting used in correspondence when the recipient’s name or specific job title is unknown. It signifies that the content of the letter or email is relevant to anyone who may be responsible for handling the issue addressed in the message.

When is it appropriate to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in a letter?

Use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ when you don’t know the recipient’s name, their specific role, or the appropriate salutation. For example, if you’re submitting a generic job application or a formal complaint to a company without a specific contact person.

What are some suitable alternatives to ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in correspondence?

If you want to avoid using ‘To Whom It May Concern’, consider alternatives such as ‘Dear Hiring Manager’, ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, or ‘Dear [Department Name] Team’. These options allow you to maintain a formal tone while addressing a specific group or individual.

How can the recipient’s name be found for addressing a letter more personally?

To find the recipient’s name, try checking the company’s website, LinkedIn or other professional networking sites, or making a phone call to the company to ask for the appropriate contact person. Personalizing the salutation can help make a better impression.

What is the proper punctuation to use after ‘To Whom It May Concern’?

After ‘To Whom It May Concern’ use a colon (:) to properly punctuate the phrase. For example, “To Whom It May Concern: I am writing to express my interest in the open position at your company.”

Can you provide an example of using ‘to whom it may concern’ in a sentence?

Here’s an example: “To Whom It May Concern: I am submitting this letter of recommendation for John Smith, who worked under my supervision for three years.”

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  • To Whom It May Concern | Usage & Alternatives

To Whom It May Concern | Usage & Alternatives

Published on June 22, 2023 by Jack Caulfield .

To Whom It May Concern is a formal greeting that can be used to start an email or letter addressed to someone whose name you don’t know or to no one in particular. It’s still used, but it’s considered somewhat old-fashioned and impersonal. There are better options in most contexts.

Using this salutation can suggest to the recipient that you’re sending out a mass email to many different people or that you couldn’t be bothered to learn anything about the person to whom you’re writing.

Even if you don’t know the name of the person you’re writing to, it’s usually best to either find out or use a job title or department name to make your salutation more personal.

Dear Head of Marketing, …

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Table of contents

Alternatives to “to whom it may concern”, when and how to use “to whom it may concern” correctly, “to whom it may concern” vs. “dear sir or madam”, other interesting language articles, frequently asked questions.

The best alternative to “To Whom It May Concern” is to write to a specific person where possible. If you know or can find out (e.g., online) the name of the person you’re addressing, then you should use it.

Use a title like “Ms.” or “Mr.” in combination with the person’s last name , or write out their full name . In a formal context, you usually shouldn’t address someone by their first name alone.

Obviously, you won’t always be able to find out the name of the person you’re writing to, and you may not be reaching out to a specific person at all.

It’s often still better to make your greeting a bit more specific by using a job title  or  department name , showing that you’re not just reaching out completely at random. Capitalize the title or department name.

Dear Department of Finance, …

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There are some contexts in which “To Whom It May Concern” is the best choice. It’s legitimate to use this salutation when your letter or email is really addressed to a nonspecific group of people or to an entire organization. Some examples include:

  • A formal complaint directed at a company in general
  • A reference or recommendation letter for someone who will be applying to a variety of positions
  • A  letter of interest to be sent out to various organizations

When you do use “To Whom It May Concern,” make sure to write it correctly. It’s considered most formal to use a colon (rather than a comma) after this phrase. You should also make sure to capitalize every word and to get the phrasing right: use the object pronoun “whom,” not “who.”

  • To whom it may concern,
  • Dear Whoever it may Concern:
  • To Who It May Concern:
  • To Whom It May Concern:

A salutation that’s often used interchangeably with “To Whom It May Concern” is “Dear Sir or Madam.” Both greetings are considered very impersonal, formal, and old-fashioned, but there is some difference in usage:

  • To Whom It May Concern suggests that your letter or email is addressed to no one in particular. It might be a letter expected to be shown to various people without the expectation of a reply—for example, a letter of reference.
  • Dear Sir or Madam suggests that you expect to be addressing a particular individual, but one whom you know little about.

We also advise against using “Dear Sir or Madam.” If you’re addressing no one in particular, “To Whom It May Concern” is the more correct choice, whereas if you’re addressing a specific person, it’s best to do so in a more personalized way, as described above.

Another reason to avoid “Dear Sir or Madam” is that some people may not wish to be addressed as either “Sir” or “Madam.”

If you want to know more about commonly confused words , definitions , and differences between US and UK spellings , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

Confused words

  • Affect vs effect
  • Further vs farther
  • Loose vs lose
  • Whose vs who’s

Definitions

  • Bear with me
  • Presumptuous

US vs. UK spellings

  • Burned or burnt
  • Canceled or cancelled
  • Dreamt or dreamed
  • Gray or grey
  • Theater vs theatre

You should start a professional email with a greeting and the name and title of the recipient (e.g., “Dear Mr. Walken”). Then, you should include an introductory line like I hope this email finds you well , followed by the body of the email.

For less formal emails, you can use a more casual introductory line like I hope you’re doing well .

Some synonyms and phrases related to I hope this email finds you well include:

  • It is a pleasure connecting with you again
  • I hope you are doing well
  • I hope you are having a productive week

Miss is a title for an unmarried woman or girl (e.g., “Miss Jones”). It cannot be used for a married woman. It is sometimes seen as slightly old-fashioned, since it defines the woman by her marital status.

Ms. is a title for a woman whose marital status is unknown, for an older unmarried woman, or for any woman in a context where you don’t want to emphasize the woman’s marital status. It’s intended to be neutral, in that it can be used for married and unmarried women alike—much like “Mr.” can be used for married and unmarried men.

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Home » Blog » Resume and Cover Letter » To Whom it May Concern: 5 Better Alternatives to Your Cover Letter Salutation

To Whom It May Concern: 5 Better Alternatives to Your Cover Letter Salutation

September 1, 2023

to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

I’d like to extend a warm greeting to you as you peruse this blog article, in which we’ll explore the ins and outs of cover letter salutations. You’ve found the proper location if you’re sick of hearing the same old, boring welcomes that are devoid of creativity and originality. Because your cover letter is the first impression you make on prospective employers, if you’re seeking a way to enhance your application’s impact, consider utilizing a cover letter writing service and also formatting your resume with appropriate text and colors. Let’s take a look at five creative alternatives to the standard salutations that you may use to make your application stand out from the crowd.

Embrace The Power Of Personalization:

Starting your cover letter with the monotonous “To Whom It May Concern” may not create the impact you desire. Instead, take a step further and dig for the hiring manager’s name. Personalization shows initiative and genuine interest in the company. A straightforward “Hello [Name]” or “Dear [Name]” can capture their attention in an instant and build a better connection between you and them. For instance, “Hi [Name],” or “Hey [Name],” can add a friendly touch while maintaining professionalism. However, remember to use this approach only when you’ve established a sense of rapport through prior communication or mutual connections.

Go Beyond The Traditional Greeting:

Why stick to formalities when you can add a dash of creativity to your cover letter? After all, who said cover letters need to be dull and tedious? Start with an attention-grabbing line like, “Greetings, Champion of Talent Discovery!” or “Hey there, Future Teammate!” This approach showcases your personality and gives a glimpse of the vibrant individual you are. Nevertheless, it is essential to find a happy medium between creative expression and professional conduct so avoid using language or humor that is extremely informal or that may not connect with the nature of the function you are looking for in the organization. Keep it unique and engaging, while still maintaining a level of respect and professionalism.

Make It About Them, Not Just You:

Even while the purpose of your cover letter is to convey your experiences and skills, it should also explain how you can contribute to the success of the organization. Employers get an overwhelming number of cover letters, the vast majority of which are narrowly focused on the applicant’s capabilities and credentials. Stand out from the crowd by turning the spotlight on the company and its achievements. Begin with a line like, “I’m truly inspired by [Company Name]’s innovative breakthroughs in the industry,” or “Your dedication to revolutionizing [Industry] through cutting-edge technologies is commendable.” By acknowledging the company’s accomplishments, you showcase your passion for joining their team and contributing to their continued success.

Use a Powerful Quote:

A well-chosen quote can instantly captivate the reader and set the tone for your cover letter. Select a quote that aligns with your career goals and the company’s values. You can take various examples such as if you’re applying for a tech startup, consider opening with Steve Jobs’ famous words, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” It reveals your inner passion, but it also reveals how much you value the direction in which the firm is headed. The most important thing is to make sure that the quotation is pertinent to your cover letter and contributes something of worth to it. Avoid using generic or clichéd quotes that may not resonate with the company’s culture or the specific role you’re applying for. The quote should seamlessly integrate with the rest of your cover letter, reinforcing your suitability for the position

Showcase Your Knowledge:

Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and understand the company inside out. Mentioning recent achievements or projects in your cover letter shows that you’re genuinely interested in being a part of their success story. For instance, “As a tech enthusiast, I was thrilled to read about [Company Name]’s groundbreaking project featured in [Industry Magazine].” Incorporate specific details about the company’s recent achievements, products, or services to show that you’ve conducted in-depth research. Discussing how these align with your own career aspirations and skills can further emphasize your commitment to becoming a valuable asset to the organization.

I would like to remind you that a cover letter salutation is your chance to make a memorable first impression and a well-written resume is a gateway to your first job . By personalizing your greeting, adding creativity, showcasing your knowledge of the company, and incorporating a powerful quote, you can elevate your cover letter from mundane to outstanding. Remember to strike the right balance between formality and creativity, and always tailor your salutation to the company and the role you’re applying for. Now that we’ve explored these five alternatives, it’s essential to ensure that your entire cover letter is crafted flawlessly. If you feel like you need expert assistance, consider seeking awriting service specializing in cover letters or hiring a professional resume writer in San Francisco . Happy job hunting!

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Other Ways To Say “To Whom It May Concern”

It’s frustrating to hit a stumbling block right at the beginning. And yet, every time we start to write a letter, we’re faced with a tricky question at the very start—how do we address the recipient?

Is it someone we know well ( Mom will do just fine for you-know-who)? Is it someone we know professionally? Or—cue the horror music!—is it some unidentified person who’ll be reviewing our application, request, or materials?

We know you’re tensing up just thinking about it. One classic choice (as we no doubt know) is To Whom It May Concern . But are you using this phrase correctly? It sounds so outdated—is it still in use? And are there any alternatives?

Where does the phrase come from?

To Whom It May Concern is used in formal letters, when the name of the person you are addressing is not known. It can also be found as the salutation at the start of open letters, or a letter meant to be read by a wide variety of people.

It is thought To Whom It May Concern  entered common usage in the late 1800s. There are examples in letters from this period by both Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth .

The correct way to use To Whom It May Concern

Each word in the phrase  To Whom It May Concern  should be capitalized. Since it’s a formal greeting, it should be followed by a colon in a letter.

For example:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wholeheartedly recommend Jo March, who has been working as a paralegal at our company, for employment.

In case you’re wondering, if you’re writing an open letter of reference for someone (and it will be distributed to multiple interviewers), you would use To Whom It May Concern. 

“Who” vs. “whom”?

We’ve all come across pedants who love to correct people when they use who and whom . So what is the correct choice?

Who is used as the subject of a sentence , while whom is used as the object in a sentence. This means that if someone is performing actions in a sentence,  who is the correct choice.

  • Who ate my cookie?
  • I don’t know who hid it.

To check, see if the sentence still makes sense when you replace who with he or she (you might need to reword it slightly).

Whom is used for someone being acted on. See if you can replace it in your sentence (with a little jiggling) with her or him .

  • Whom did you wave at?
  • Her husband, whom she wrote to every day, missed her terribly.

So it is correct to say to whom it may concern because it concerns her , not she .

WATCH: How To Use "Who" vs. "Whom"

Is   to whom it may concern outdated.

We are living in the age of information, and generally job-hunting experts do not recommend using To Whom It May Concern  if you’re addressing a single person . It shows a lack of effort on behalf of the applicant. 

Between the company’s website and all the social networking platforms available, it shouldn’t be hard to track down the name of the person or department that you need.

So, what are the alternatives?

Dear , followed by the recipient’s full name, is another standard greeting for formal letters. If you don’t know a recipient’s name, you can use a combination of  dear  and a department or team, or one person’s specific title. For example, if you don’t know have any details about who would be your boss in an application letter, you might consider addressing the entire team ( marketing department , sales team , accounting and finance , etc.) or the recruiting manager.

As a word meaning “beloved,” dear dates back to the year 900. It is derived from the Old English d?ore.  One of the first written examples of its use can be found in 1450 in a note from Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI. During the 1600s, people began using it in formal correspondence and not just letters addressed to the beloved.

In all likelihood, these days you’re more likely to be sending an email rather than a letter, even for a job application. Depending on the company, you could consider using hello instead of dear . If they have a relaxed workplace culture or you already have a relationship with the addressee, this might be appropriate. You can pair hello with the recipient’s name or use it on its own.  Hello all  may also work in some contexts.

Hello as a greeting is a relatively new word . It comes from hallo , which in turn is from the Middle French hola (which is  equivalent to ho “ahoy” and  la “there”) . Hallo was used to attract attention or to spur on hunting dogs. Hello  was used in the UK as an exclamation of surprise and intrigue as in “hello, what’s this?”

When the telephone was invented, Alexander Graham Bell wanted people to use the word ahoy  as a greeting. Supposedly his rival Thomas Edison suggested hello , while Bell stubbornly stuck to ahoy , and well—you know which one stuck around.

The word  greetings dates back to before 900 and stems from the Old English word  gretinge.  This is a recommended salutation for processional emails. It’s gender neutral, and it’s a bit more formal than a plain  hello.

Perhaps best reserved for the most casual of letters, what’s up does work to open a written message without having to use someone’s name. 

Asking people what was “up” began earlier than you think. Before becoming popular slang (and even before Bugs Bunny used it in the 1940s), it appears in texts from the 1800s.  Despite its historical lineage, it would be unwise to use this phrase in a job application. (Unless perhaps you’re looking for a role at a certain beer brand.)

to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

Signing off

After agonizing over the opening, the hard work is done … except for the entirety of the rest of the letter. If the content is strong enough, the recipient will forgive you if the salutation you chose wasn’t perfect. 

And at least you have one last chance to impress with your sign off .

A common factor in greetings, sign offs, and everything in between is the comma! Learn how to correctly use it in your letters , so you don’t have to opt for “To Whom It May Concern:” be default.

to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

Ways To Say

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IMAGES

  1. Cover Letter To Whom It May Concern Alternative

    to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

  2. Free Printable 'To Whom It May Concern' Cover Letter Template [PDF & Word]

    to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

  3. 50 To Whom It May Concern Letter & Email Templates ᐅ TemplateLab

    to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

  4. 26+ Cover Letter To Whom It May Concern

    to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

  5. Free Printable 'To Whom It May Concern' Cover Letter Template [PDF & Word]

    to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

  6. Cover Letter To Whom It May Concern Alternative

    to whom it may concern alternative cover letter

VIDEO

  1. To Whom This May Concern

  2. SOJA "To Whom It May Concern" live @ The Gothic

  3. 5 Cover Letter MISTAKES that cost you your JOB!

  4. Creed- To whom it may concern [with lyrics]

COMMENTS

  1. Best Alternative Salutations for To Whom It May Concern on a Cover Letter

    Below is a list of suitable options to use instead of 'To Whom It May Concern.'. Based on the information available to you, use this list to help guide the salutation you use to begin your cover letter. Dear [Mr./ Mrs./ Ms./ Miss/ Professor, Dr. ] [Last name]: This is perhaps the most desirable as it is the most personal and acknowledges an ...

  2. What to Write Instead of "To Whom It May Concern"

    So do everyone a favor and next time, try one of these "To Whom It May Concern" alternatives. 1. Dear/Hello [Name of Person Who'd Be Your Boss] The best thing you can do for yourself when addressing your cover letter is figure out who the person filling the open role would report to—i.e. your potential future boss.

  3. 'To Whom It May Concern' in a Cover Letter

    6 'To Whom It May Concern' Alternatives. Here are six 'To Whom It May Concern' alternatives to use when starting your cover letter: 1. Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss/Mx [Contact Person's Surname], The standard greeting for cover letters is 'Dear' followed by your contact person's title, surname, and a comma.

  4. How to Use "To Whom It May Concern" [and 5+ Alternatives]

    Here are five better alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern" that show you've put in a bit more effort into your application: 1. Dear [Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss] [Last Name], The best greeting on a cover letter is "Dear" followed by the recipient's title and last name. It's simple, clear, and professional.

  5. Should You Use "To Whom It May Concern" In Your Cover Letter

    With large organizations, you can use "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Hiring Manager" as a safe option when the company structure is complex and you can't identify a specific person. However, try to at least send your greeting to the department (e.g., "To Whom It May Concern in the Marketing Department").

  6. What to Write Instead of "To Whom It May Concern"

    What are the best alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern." There are a proven set of cover letter openings that are suitable for today's business landscape and are also a better fit than any impersonal greeting. Let's take a look at them. If you know the hiring manager's name - use it. Having that info aforehand is the best-case scenario!

  7. To Whom It May Concern Alternatives

    Dear (Name of recruiter) If you know the name of the recruiter who'll be reviewing your application, you can certainly address your cover letter to them. It might take a little effort to figure that out, but it does make your cover letter/application stand out. If you're working with a recruiter, you can ask them.

  8. Drop "To Whom It May Concern" for These Cover Letter Alternatives

    Dear Recruitment Officer: 4. Work culture. If you know or can tell a hiring company's work culture is on the casual side, you can trade out "Dear" for the less formal "Hello," "Greetings," or even "Good morning.". You can also make the text slightly less formal by trading the colon at the end of the line for a comma.

  9. 10 Best Alternatives To "To Whom It May Concern"

    Hello. Sometimes it's best to start with a simple "hello." "Hello" is moderately formal and appropriate for professional and casual settings alike. "Hello" has many of the same strengths as "to whom it may concern.". It's good to use when you don't know exactly who you're contacting and it doesn't make any assumptions ...

  10. How to Use To Whom It May Concern (Alternatives Included)

    Ultimately, there is a time and place for "to whom it may concern" in a letter, just not usually in a cover letter. Try all of the alternatives above before you default to a generic greeting. That way, you're cover letter is more likely to make a great impression, increasing the odds that you'll get called in for an interview.

  11. 9 "To Whom It May Concern" Alternatives In Cover Letters

    9 Alternatives To To Whom It May Concern That Works Great. Instead of To Whom It May Concern, you can say Greetings, Good Morning/Good Afternoon, Dear Hiring Manager, Dear [Department], Dear [Role], Dear Mr/Ms [Last name], Hello/Hi, Dear [Company Name] Team, Dear [Name of Referral Source] (if you have a referral).. Some should be used with caution, however.

  12. To Whom It May Concern: How to Use it & Best Alternatives

    2. Use a colon after "To Whom It May Concern". A colon rather than a comma should follow the cover letter salutation. 3. Add a space or double space before the beginning of the letter. Improve readability by ensuring your resume cover page has enough white space. Here's how your cover letter intro should look like:

  13. To Whom It May Concern: When And How To Use

    Note that when you address a letter or email with "To Whom It May Concern", the phrase should be capitalized and followed by a colon. As we've mentioned above, "To Whom It May Concern" is a rather outdated expression. While you can still use it, there are also more modern alternatives that you may want to consider.

  14. Alternatives to 'To Whom It May Concern'

    Even "Dear Sirs or Madam" is a lot better but still seems very 1950s. SEE: Best Part-Time Jobs to Pay the Bills. Try these "to whom it may concern" alternatives instead: Dear (hiring manager's ...

  15. To Whom It May Concern Letter: Capitalization, Usage, and Alternatives

    Alternatives: If you already know the purpose of the recommendation letter, you can replace "To Whom It May Concern" with a more targeted greeting. For example, if the letter is for a job, you can use "To the Hiring Manager." If it is for a university application, you can use "To the University Registrar," or "To the [name of university ...

  16. Best Alternative Salutations for "To Whom It May Concern" on a Cover Letter

    Here are some better alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern" that demonstrate that you put some thought into your application. Dear (Full Name): If both the first and last name are known, it is acceptable to omit the title and address the person by their full name.

  17. Cover Letters 101: Should You Address Your Letter 'To Whom It May Concern'?

    Here are some tips and alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern" that can help you make a lasting impression: 1. Do Your Homework. Before addressing your cover letter, take the time to research ...

  18. Five Alternatives for To Whom It May Concern

    To whom it may concern is a salutation often used at the start of formal letters or emails. In the age of the internet and easily accessible information, to whom it may concern is sometimes considered old-fashioned. Below, we'll give you five other ways to say to whom it may concern. "To whom it may concern" is often used in professional ...

  19. "To Whom It May Concern" [How, When, Alternatives]

    When to Use "To Whom It May Concern". "To Whom It May Concern" is a formal greeting used in professional correspondence when you are uncertain of the recipient's name or position. Use this phrase when you do not know the name or gender of the person to whom your letter or email is directed. This type of greeting is particularly useful ...

  20. "To Whom It May Concern" Cover Letter Greeting—Yes or No?

    Source: Magnet.me. "To Whom It May Concern" is commonly used in formal correspondence. It is a perfectly acceptable cover letter greeting when you don't know who to address the letter to. It is also appropriate to use this greeting if you are not applying for a job but writing a letter of interest or making any other inquiry and you don ...

  21. To Whom It May Concern

    The best alternative to "To Whom It May Concern" is to write to a specific person where possible. If you know or can find out (e.g., online) the name of the person you're addressing, then you should use it. Use a title like "Ms." or "Mr." in combination with the person's last name, or write out their full name.

  22. To Whom it May Concern: 5 Better Alternatives to Your Cover Letter

    Starting your cover letter with the monotonous "To Whom It May Concern" may not create the impact you desire. Instead, take a step further and dig for the hiring manager's name. Personalization shows initiative and genuine interest in the company.

  23. Other Ways To Say "To Whom It May Concern"

    There are few instances that require the stoic formality of "To Whom It May Concern." Learn about those, and what you can say in every other instance.