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How To Write “To Whom It May Concern” (With Examples)
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When to Use “To Whom It May Concern”
Example use of the phrase, when not to use “to whom it may concern”, how to find the recipient’s name, alternative ways to say “to whom it may concern”, example of alternatives ways to say “to whom it may concern”, what does the phrase “to whom it may concern” mean, to whom it may concern faq, final thoughts.
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Summary. When using “To Whom It May Concern,” it should be used when you have no way of knowing who will read your letter or even what their position will be. This phrase should not be used when writing the letter on your own behalf or if you have information about the reciepient.
While the phrase “To Whom It May Concern” is something many people learn in school, it’s not a salutation that most people are totally comfortable using.
And there’s good reason for that, in today’s world, where researching an email or letter’s recipient is usually quite simple, recipients are often inclined to ignore messages that aren’t personally addressed.
We’ll cover when and how to use “To Whom It May Concern,” as well as alternatives and examples to pull all our tips together.
“To Whom It May Concern” is appropriate to use:
When lodging a formal complaint
A letter of recommendation
A letter of introduction
You should not use this phrase when writing a cover letter or a letter on your own behalf.
To find the recipients name you should check the job listing, check the company’s website, and use networking websites before using the phrase.
Here are some example of when it is appropriate to use “To Whom It May Concern:”
To lodge a formal complaint. There are moments in life where you might feel as though you are not satisfied with a situation. Voicing a concern in a formal letter is an excellent way for you to do it. However, you might not know who you will need to address.
A letter of recommendation. Sometimes, a friend or coworker might need to list someone who knows them well as a reference , but they might be unsure who you will need to write the letter to.
A letter of introduction . In times where you need to introduce yourself or another individual to a large group via email, “To Whom It May Concern” can be an option to address a general audience.
A letter of interest . When you’re trying to find out about potential job positions that aren’t publically listed, you can send a letter of interest to sell yourself. However, you may not have a specific recipient in mind. Using “To Whom It May Concern” can be useful in these situations, but we still recommend using one of its alternatives instead.
A prospecting letter. People who work in sales and business development need to reach out to potential clients. Some companies are wary about giving away too many personal details to an outside salesperson.
In those cases, using a generic salutation like “To Whom It May Concern” may be appropriate — but it’s not exactly the most appealing first line of a sales pitch.
When using “To Whom It May Concern,” capitalize every word in the phrase. Then, follow it with a colon and double-space before you begin typing the body of your text.
To Whom It May Concern: I am writing this letter to bring to your attention who unsatisfied I am with your company’s customer service. On the morning of October 1, 2020, I made a call to your company’s customer service line and was treated rather rudely. It is appalling to me that a company with your standing would allow such unprofessionalism to take place. I have been a faithful client to your store, and feel completely devastated by this behavior. I expect your full cooperation and hope this issue can be resolved. Sincerely, Jane Smith
No matter how formal it is, you never want your letter to sound too impersonal when writing any letter. Using the phrase “To Whom It May Concern” does just that. If possible, avoid using this phrase at all costs.
It’s considered to be dated and too generic. Hiring managers want to make sure that the person they are bringing in is someone that is driven and will stop at nothing to get the job done.
In short, here are the times when not to use “To Whom It May Concern:”
You’re writing a cover letter . The point of a cover letter is to set yourself apart from the competition. When you begin your letter with an archaic phrase like “To Whom It May Concern,” you do stand out — just for all the wrong reasons.
You’re writing any letter on your own behalf. When you’re writing a recommendation letter for a friend or a letter of introduction for someone else, it’s fine to use “To Whom It May Concern.” That’s because you don’t know how the letter will be used or who it will be sent to; those decisions are up to whoever you gave the letter to.
You have literally any information about the recipient. Using “To Whom It May Concern” is basically admitting that you have no idea who this letter will concern — and that’s concerning for the recipient. If you’re sending a letter to an unknown entity in some department, for example, at least label it to “Dear [Department Name].”
Before you begin to draft your letter, you will need to follow specific steps to write a compelling message. Remember that writing the recipient’s name on your letter or email shows that you are willing to put in the leg work and get the job done.
Read the job listing carefully . Go back to the original job posting and see if there is more information about the person you need to contact. Typically, companies and career websites will include the contact information at the bottom of the page .
Check the company’s website. Another way to verify a company’s personnel is to go directly to the source. Go to their official website and look through the “About Us” page– chances are you will find what you are looking for.
Use networking websites. You can also use a professional networking website such as LinkedIn. These pages are filled with business professionals. Search for the company’s profile. Usually, you will be able to find the appropriate person with a bit of research.
Call the company. As a last resort, reach out to the company’s main line or customer service number and ask for the hiring manager’s name.
If you are still unable to find the name of your prospective employer after taking all of these steps, you may then use the phrase “To Whom It May Concern” or one of the much more appealing alternatives below.
The good news is you are not stuck using this expression. When you are trying to greet someone, there are countless alternatives that can be used instead of saying, “To Whom It May Concern.” The great thing about the English language is that it allows us different ways to say the same something.
Here is a list of alternatives you can use in place of “To Whom It May Concern:”
Dear [Name of Potential Boss] – use a full name or a Mr./Ms./Dr. [Last Name]
Dear Recruiting Team
Dear [Job Title You’re Applying For] Hiring Team/Committee/Manager
Dear Hiring Manager
Dear Recruiting Manager
Dear Recruiting Department
Dear Human Resources Manager
Dear [Name of the Department You’re Applying To]
Dear Personnel Manager
Try to avoid using the phrase “ Dear Sir or Madam ,” just like “To Whom It May Concern.” This, too, is considered to be an outdated way of addressing a recipient.
If you cannot find the recipient’s name and do not want to risk sounding too generic, you can always call them by their official titles, such as a hiring manager, a recruiter , or a human resources manager .
Dear Product Department, I hope this finds you well. I am writing to find out more about your company and if you have any openings. I saw your booth at the job fair last week, and from what I have learned, it could be a great place to work. Thank you again for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Joe Smith
Dear Hiring Manager, My name is Jane Smith, and I recently applied for the Project Manager opening at your company. I wanted to take this time to formally introduce myself to you and your staff. And I am excited about this opportunity. I am sure that my background and skills will make me an ideal candidate for this position and your company. Would it be possible for us to set up an appointment to meet this week? I would love to get to know you and discuss what I plan to bring to your organization. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to speaking with you. Best Regards, Jane Smith
The phrase “To Whom It May Concern” is typically used at the beginning of a letter or email as a salutation. It is generally used to speak to someone whose name you do not know but would like to address in the message.
This is now considered outdated. Back in the day, when a company posted a job, all you had access to was the company’s name and a brief description of the position you were applying to at the company.
It was highly uncommon for them to list the hiring manager’s name. There was no easy way for you to gain access to this information — therefore, people would address the letters to whomever the letters concerned, hence the phrase.
Now, however, having information about any company is as simple as clicking a button. Most businesses or corporations have an entire section dedicated to their staff. Here you will be able to find the information you need.
Though using the phrase may be considered standard practice, some hiring managers might view it as laziness on behalf of the applicant. However, there are certain instances where it is considered entirely appropriate to use this phrase.
What is the correct way to write to whom it may concern?
The correct way to write To Whom It May Concern is to capitalize the first letter of each word. Be sure to always use ‘whom’ instead of ‘who’ or ‘whomever’.
It’s also more appropriate to follow the phrase with a colon rather than a comma and add two spaces before beginning your message. Using this phrase suggests a formal letter and should only be used when you’re sending something to an unknown recipient.
Is to whom it may concern rude?
No, to whom it may concern is not rude. It is the proper address to use when you’re uncertain who it is you’re addressing.
However, if you know the person you are addressing, using the phrase to whom it may concern is inappropriate and may be considered rude.
Should I use to whom it may concern?
Yes, if you don’t know the name of the individual you are addressing, you should use to whom it may concern. However, before choosing to use this phrase, you should consider looking for a point of contact to receive your cover letter and resume.
You can do this in any number of ways, including checking the job posting, using the company website, asking another contact, or contacting customer service or human resources .
Do you write to whom it may concern in capital letters?
Yes, you should write to whom it may concern in all capital letters. Although this may seem out of the norm, you would want to capitalize the name of the person you are addressing.
Since to whom it may concern is used in place of a person’s name, you should capitalize the entire phrase in place of the individual’s name.
How do you address a letter to an unknown person?
If the letter is formal, you should address a letter to an unknown person with the phrase to whom it may concern. Typically, this phrase is used in business correspondences when the other party is unknown.
Most commonly, this can be used when submitting a job application or cover letter when the job posting is unclear on who will review your application.
It might take you some time, but if you set your mind to it and put a little effort, chances are you will find the names you are looking for. However, it is essential to know that you really cannot go wrong with any of these alternatives.
Keep in mind that this isn’t about adding more pressure to your pursuit of finding a job. It’s about opening your eyes and showing you that every little detail is essential and speaks volumes to any future employer about the person they will be hiring.
Readers Digest – To Whom It May Concern: What it Means and How to Use it
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Melissa is an exceptionally hard-working, creative individual, with great organizational and time management skills. She has been writing and researching professionally for over seven years. She graduated with a BA in English from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.
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- Cover Letter
To whom it may concern: just don’t
Once upon a time, “To Whom It May Concern” was considered an acceptable way to introduce a cover letter if you didn’t know the name of the proper person to address. But those days are long gone.
Today this greeting is considered old-fashioned, out-of-date, and obsolete. Although there are a few limited cases where it’s still considered acceptable, a cover letter where you’re seeking a job isn’t one of them. So you might as well consider this a rule with no exceptions: Never open a cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern.”
‘To Whom It May Concern’ meaning
“To Whom It May Concern” is an antiquated way of writing the greeting of a letter when the recipient is unknown. It implies that this letter is addressed to anyone who might have an interest or concern in its contents.
Let’s head this off at the pass: If you’re wondering: “What is the correct way to write “To Whom It May Concern?” you’re asking the wrong question. The correct capitalization of this phrase is far from the point.
Instead of wondering if “To Whom It May Concern” or “To whom it may concern” capitalization is correct, you should be asking: “What are alternatives to this stale phrase.
When this phrase was first coined, it probably seemed like a great solution to the problem of how to address a letter to an unknown recipient. But it’s become a victim of its own success, so widely used that it feels like a worn-out castoff from another century. It can also suggest that you didn’t go to any trouble at all to find out the name of the person you really need to reach.
So what to write instead? Let’s consider some alternatives.
A message to a hiring manager at the beginning of the hiring process could go two ways. Here is what you need to do to make sure that it secures you that crucial interview.
Look for a contact person
By far the best way to open a cover letter is to address it to the appropriate contact person. This would be the hiring manager or recruiter who is processing applications for the job you’re seeking.
People like to read their own names, even in a letter from a stranger. It shows attention to detail on your part if you’ve gone to the trouble of finding out the proper person to address. And a letter written to a named individual is more likely to receive a response than a letter addressed to an entire company or department.
Sometimes the hiring contact’s name appears in the job listing, but often it doesn’t. Do some sleuthing by looking at the company’s website, especially if it has a page that addresses its hiring practices, or an “About Us” page that lists its management staff.
Here is exactly how you can write a cover letter that will stand out from the crowd, and help you land that interview.
You may be able to find the right person’s name on LinkedIn, or you might find someone else who works at this company who could tell you.
If none of this works, simply pick up the phone, call the company and ask. Tell the person who answers that you’re applying for a job, mention what job it is, and ask for the name of the person processing applications.
Be sure to ask how to spell the name correctly, and if necessary ask whether this person is male or female. If female, you might also ask whether this person prefers to be addressed as “Mrs.,” “Miss,” “Ms.” or even “Mx.” (a newcomer preferred by some people with nonbinary gender identities).
Once you have a name, open your letter with one of the following instead of “To Whom It May Concern”:
- Dear Mr. [Last Name]:
- Dear Ms. [Last Name]:
- Dear Mrs. [Last Name]:
- Dear Mx. [Last Name]:
- Dear Dr. [Last Name]:
Some companies, for whatever reason, prefer not to give out the names of hiring managers. They may have several, or they may prefer to route all job applications through their Human Resources Department. If that’s the case, you’ll have to find another solution, which we’ll discuss below.
Administrative Assistants help executives or even entire offices & teams manage information, correspondence, files and client communications. It’s a competitive job market, so you need a truly standout resume to land that interview. More on that in our Admin Assistant resume example & guide!
Some companies, for whatever reason, prefer not to give out the names of hiring managers. They may have several, or they may prefer to route all job applications through their human resources department. If that’s the case, you’ll have to find another solution, which we’ll discuss below.
How do you address a letter with no contact information?
If you can’t find out the hiring manager’s name, there are several alternatives that are preferable to “To Whom It May Concern” (which is sometimes abbreviated TWMC).
Let’s say you’re applying for a job at a company called Acme. For a small company, you may simply address your letter to the entire company, as in “Dear Acme.” You may know the department where you want to work: “Dear Acme IT Department.” Or if you know that the HR department handles all job applications: “Dear Acme HR Department.”
Certain alternatives to the word “Dear” are sometimes acceptable, including “Greetings” or even “Hello.” You may be able to get a feel for a company’s level of formality or lack thereof by the way it addresses the public on its website. If it’s a company that takes a very casual approach, a more casual greeting in your cover letter is probably acceptable.
Alternatives to "To Whom It May Concern"
- Dear Acme [XXX] Department:
- Dear Acme HR Department:
- Dear HR Manager:
- Greetings Acme Hiring Team:
- Dear Hiring Manager:
- Hello Recruiting Team:
- Dear Search Committee:
Some sources say you can even leave out the greeting entirely, starting your letter in the style of a company memo, where a line that starts with “Re:” addresses the topic, and then you plunge right into the introduction of your letter:
Re: Opening for Acme IT Manager
Having worked as a specialist in information technology for the past eight years, I would be delighted to be considered for the IT Manager opening you posted recently.
Just because popular advice says that a cover letter should not be longer than one page, doesn’t mean it has to fill one page. We share 10 different short cover letter samples to ponder.
When should I use ‘To Whom It May Concern’?
The greeting “To Whom It May Concern” is considered acceptable if a former coworker has asked you for a reference letter to use when seeking employment in the future. If the intent is to pass this letter on to future hiring managers whose names are still unknown, then a “To Whom It May Concern” letter may be appropriate.
A “To Whom It May Concern” letter is also considered appropriate when sending a complaint about goods or services you paid for but weren’t happy with.
But “To Whom It May Concern” cover letters are almost universally considered unacceptable today. In fact, “To Whom It May Concern” may even be considered rude since resources for finding the name of a contact person are readily available. This greeting may signal that you can’t be bothered to find out who to contact.
“To Whom It May Concern” capitalization
If you do have a good reason to use this phrase, capitalize each of the first letters, and end the phrase with a colon: "To Whom It May Concern:".
Do not attempt a clumsy alternative like “To Whomsoever It May Concern” or “To Who It May Concern,” which are even worse.
When you end a cover letter to apply for your dream job, you should be leaving a carefully-crafted impression right up to the very last word.
- Never start a cover letter with "To Whom It May Concern," a greeting that is widely viewed by hiring managers as outdated and impersonal.
- If at all possible, address the hiring manager by name.
- If you can't find out the hiring manager's name, find an alternative that addresses an entire company or department.
- “To Whom It May Concern” is considered acceptable for recommendation letters in which the recipient is unknown, or for certain consumer complaint letters, but should never be used in a cover letter.
Need more help on how to format a winning cover letter ? Get inspired and view our creative , simple and professional cover letter examples.
- Business Letters
- To Whom It May Concern
Avoid the Phrase “To Whom It May Concern” on a Cover Letter
The phrase “To whom it may concern” is typically not recommended in cover letters. Why is this, and what can you use instead?
OUR USERS HAVE BEEN HIRED BY
Table of Contents
To Whom It May Concern Cover Letter
Why is “to whom it may concern” a bad phrase to use on a cover letter, alternate options to the phrase “to whom it may concern”, how to find the right name, faq: “to whom it may concern”.
When you’re writing a cover letter, a lot of thought will go into every phrase you use. One of the important parts of your cover letter will be the salutation—the greeting you use to address the person you’re writing the cover letter to. Many people use the phrase, “To whom it may concern,” as it might seem like an effective way to address an employer when you don’t necessarily know who’s going to read the cover letter. However, doing so is now frowned upon. Why is this a bad idea and what should you use instead? Here’s what you need to know.
“To whom it may concern” might seem like a valid, respectful way to open a business correspondence. The problem is that it actually gives a bad first impression.
“To whom it may concern” is a generic greeting, and while that might be why you’re using it, that’s also the problem. It looks old-fashioned and overly generic, and it can lead to the suspicion that you’re using the same form cover letter for every job application. When hiring managers see this phrase, they may ignore the rest of the cover letter, because it feels like you didn’t put a lot of work into it.
Now that you know it’s not a great idea to use “To whom it may concern,” what are some better alternatives? Here are a few alternatives you might want to use:
- The name of the hiring manager
- The name of the department handling hiring
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Recruiter
- Dear Recruiting Manager
- Dear HR Manager
- Dear Recruiting Department
- Dear Hiring Team
- Dear Recruiting Team
In general, your best option is going to be to find the name of the specific person to whom you’re sending the resume.
Remember to format the salutation correctly. If using a name, address them as “Dear Mr. [Name]” or “Dear Ms. [Name].” Make sure you insert a comma and a paragraph break after the name to set off the introduction. Capitalization is important if you’re going with one of the options that don’t include a name. If you’re using one of these options, make sure you capitalize the job title of the person you’re addressing the letter to.
One reason people use generic phrases like “To whom it may concern” is that they just can’t find the name of the person they’re trying to contact. There are many ways you might be able to find the contact information for the individual who will be handling your application. From easiest to most involved, here are a few options:
- Check the job description in the ad.
- Look through the About Us or Our Team pages on the company website.
- Try to get in touch with relevant employees through the company’s LinkedIn.
- Call the company and ask for the name of the person handling the job opening.
The last option is the one that’s most likely to get results if you can’t find the name of the person handling the applications, but you may need to wait for business hours, and you’ll need to call them on the phone. Make sure you have the name of the job posting and where you found it, as some companies with many hiring openings have different managers handling different job postings.
- Is “Dear sir or madam” a better option?
- Will a cover letter template give me options for the cover letter introduction?
- What should I do if the hiring manager is actually a team of people?
Q: Is “Dear sir or madam” a better option?
This is as old-fashioned and generic as “To whom it may concern.” In a modern business letter, trying to include the name of a specific contact person, not just a general phrase you could attach to any letter. If you really can’t find the name of the person who will handle the cover letter, a much better option is to use one of the salutation options in this article.
Q: Will a cover letter template give me options for the cover letter introduction?
Yes. When you use one of the cover letter templates in the ResumeHelp cover letter builder, you’ll get help with including the company name and the name of the person you’re addressing the letter to. This is one of the best ways to use a cover letter builder and it makes your cover letter look much more professional.
Q: What should I do if the hiring manager is actually a team of people?
If there’s more than one person handling the job applications, you should still stay away from using phrases like “To whom it may concern.” Group phrases like “Dear Recruiting Department” and “Dear Hiring Team” will look better on the page. Even when you’re using it as a way to address one person in a group of people, it comes off as old-fashioned, and you’re better off using one of the group phrases showcased above.
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Home » Cover Letter Help » To Whom It May Concern
To Whom It May Concern + Letter Examples
Although personalising your cover letter with the recipient’s name is always best, using ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in a cover letter is better than not using any greeting at all. We explain the right times to use this phrase and provide 6+ alternatives.
When you can’t find the name of a contact person, ‘To Whom It May Concern’ is an acceptable way to start a letter to apply for a job .
However, we recommend finding the name of a contact and addressing your cover letter to them because it:
- makes your cover letter more personalised
- shows you understand professional cover letter writing practices
- reveals you took the time and effort to research the person who will read it
Below, we show you when and how to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ as well as provide professional alternatives for your cover letter.
When to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’
‘To Whom It May Concern’ is acceptable in these two situations:
1. If you’re writing a prospecting cover letter
When you send your job application to companies to see if they have any open positions, you probably won’t have a direct contact person to address.
In that situation, use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ if you can’t find a suitable contact person.
You can also use a prospecting letter (also called a speculative cover letter ) to ask for the right point of contact for your application.
Have a look at this example of a prospecting letter in the body of an email:
Prospecting Letter Example (Text Version)
To Whom It May Concern,
I’m writing to ask if you have an opening for an experienced receptionist at your organisation. I’d love to contact the person in charge of recruitment for this role as I’m interested in discussing the possibility of working for your company.
2. If you’re providing a letter of recommendation
If you’re writing a recommendation letter for a former colleague or employee as one of their chosen CV references , you can use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ (unless the person you’re writing the recommendation for provides you with a specific contact person to address).
The person who reads your recommendation letter won’t expect you to know whom to address the letter to.
Here’s a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ example used to start a letter of recommendation:
Recommendation Letter Example (Text Version)
I’m writing to confirm that Carole Birkins was an employee at FarmTrust Ltd. for three years.
In that time, she dedicated herself to becoming one of our top-performing business analysts and volunteered for projects that were beyond her role. I highly recommend Carole for this position.
Please feel free to contact me anytime by phone on 07351 382 124 or via my email, [email protected]
How to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in an email or letter
If you must start a cover letter for an email or one sent by post with ‘To Whom It May Concern’, here’s how to do it properly:
1. Follow formal cover letter formatting
When using formal greetings like ‘To Whom It May Concern’, follow these ways to format your cover letter :
When using ‘To Whom It May Concern’, always:
- capitalise the first letter of every word
- end the phrase with a comma
- start a new paragraph after typing your greeting
When using ‘To Whom It May Concern’, never:
- use awkward variations like ‘Dear Whom It May Concern’, ‘To Whomever It May Concern’, or ‘To Whom This May Concern’
2. Choose the right ‘To Whom It May Concern’ ending
The cover letter greeting you start with will end up determining how you should end your cover letter .
Use these standard UK letter endings depending on the cover letter introduction you use:
Appropriate endings for your cover letter
- Use ‘ Yours faithfully ,’ if your cover letter starts with ‘To Whom It May Concern’, or another opening without a person’s name
- Use ‘ Yours sincerely ,’ if your cover letter starts with a person’s name
How to replace ‘To Whom It May Concern’
If the job advert doesn’t include the contact person’s information, you can find alternatives for ‘To Whom It May Concern’ by following these four tips:
1. Check the company website
Companies often have an ‘ About Us ’, ‘ Team ’, or ‘ Company Directory ’ page that lists their employees’ names and current job titles .
At minimum, you’ll find a general information email inbox where you can send a request to learn the name or title of the person you’re addressing your letter to.
2. Do a targeted Google search
Try using Google’s site search operator to find specific information on the company’s website.
Type in this site search format and fill in your target company’s website and job title information, like so:
- site:companyname.com “job title”
- site:companyname.co.uk “job title”
3. Visit the company’s LinkedIn profile
Search for the company’s profile on LinkedIn . On the top of the company’s page is a hyperlink that prompts you to ‘ View all [number] employees ’.
You can click that link and then scan the list until you find the person or job title you’re looking for.
And if the company has thousands of employees, try narrowing your search with the ‘ Location ’, ‘ People ’, and ‘ Job Title ’ filters.
4. Contact the company
Call or email the company to ask for the contact person’s name, job title, and work email address. But don’t forget to explain why you need the information, or you may be confused for a spammer.
Reaching out to the company shows the employer you’re willing to take initiative and are genuinely interested in the job.
Just remember that emails include your name, so if you prefer to remain anonymous before sending off your application, place a call instead.
6 ‘To Whom It May Concern’ Alternatives
Starting your cover letter with ‘To Whom It May Concern’ can make you seem old-fashioned and impersonal. So here are six better options:
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.
Below are examples of how to address a cover letter with the contact person’s name:
Dear Mr White, Dear Ms Rodney, Dear Mx Taylor,
Remember these points when choosing a title:
- Use ‘ Mr / Ms ’ if you know the employer’s gender. If a female contact has a preference they’ve mentioned in the job advert, use ‘ Mrs ’ or ‘ Miss ’.
- Use ‘ Mx ’ if the gender of the contact person is unclear, if they have a unisex name like Jessie, Alex, or Jamie, or if they use ‘they’ pronouns. (You can also use ‘Dear [Full Name],’ to avoid offending the reader.)
2. Dear [Job Title],
If you know the contact person’s position but don’t know their name, you can address them by their job title. For example:
Dear Managing Director, Dear Human Resources Manager, Dear Human Resources Director, Dear Customer Service Manager, Dear Head of Sales,
3. Dear [Department Name],
If you know the name of the department you’re applying to, try addressing your cover letter like this:
Dear Sales Department, Dear Human Resources Department, Dear Finance Department, Dear Customer Service Department, Dear Marketing Department Manager,
4. Dear Recruiter,
If you’ve done your research and still can’t find a contact name, job title, or department, address your cover letter to the recruiter, like so:
Dear Recruiter, Dear Recruiting Manager, Dear Recruiting Team,
5. Dear [Position You Want] Hiring Team,
Beginning your cover letter ‘Dear [Position You Want] Hiring Team,’ is a great way to emphasise the job title you’re seeking.
Here are three examples of how to address the hiring team for your target position:
Dear Graphic Design Specialist Hiring Team, Dear Accounting Intern Hiring Team, Dear Marketing Manager Hiring Team,
6. Dear [Creative Nickname],
You can also use a creative nickname to open your cover letter — but only if the job description’s tone and directions make it clear that the recruiter values unique, creative applications.
Creative nicknames instead of ‘To Whom It May Concern’ might include:
Dear Future Boss, Dear Leader of Data, Dear David Brent of [Company Name],
‘To Whom It May Concern’ FAQs
If you’re still unsure when to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’, here are some frequently asked questions and answers about this phrase:
- Is it appropriate to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in an email cover letter?
- Is ‘To Whom it May Concern’ suitable for all types of cover letters?
- How do you properly format ‘To Whom it May Concern’ in a cover letter?
1. Is it appropriate to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in an email cover letter?
Yes, ‘To Whom it May Concern’ can be used if you’re writing a cover letter for your email as an attachment or directly in the body text, just like a traditional cover letter .
However, keep in mind that emails often have a more informal tone, so consider using a more personalised greeting if possible.
2. Is ‘To Whom it May Concern’ suitable for all types of cover letters?
‘To Whom it May Concern’ can be used for many types of cover letters, including job applications, business inquiries, and general inquiries.
However, you should always try and find a specific person to address the letter to if possible, as doing so can increase the chances of your letter being read and considered.
3. How do you properly format ‘To Whom it May Concern’ in a cover letter?
‘To Whom it May Concern’ is typically formatted as the first line of the cover letter, followed by a colon or a comma. Here are two examples:
To Whom it May Concern, To Whom it May Concern:
Written by Eva Chan, CPRW
Eva Chan is a Digital Marketing Specialist & Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) at CV Genius and Resume Genius, with a background in the education management... more
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- Cover Letter
- To Whom It May Concern: How to Use it & Best Alternatives
To Whom It May Concern: How to Use it & Best Alternatives
One size fits all rarely fits anyone. Learn when it’s ok to use “To Whom It May Concern” in a cover letter and when you need to tailor your greeting.
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You know those times that you just can’t deal with figuring out what to wear so you just throw on your favorite pair of sweats and consider it done?
That’s kind of what a cover letter that starts with To Whom It May Concern is. You didn’t know the hiring manager’s name so you’ll just go with this common phrase and call it a day.
But just like a pair of comfy sweats isn’t the greatest idea for every situation, a To Whom It May Concern in a cover letter may sometimes cause a lot more harm than good.
This guide will show you:
- Why this generic phrase is a poor choice.
- Alternatives to To Whom It May Concern that work better.
- The ideal way to address the reader to create rapport.
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“To Whom It May Concern” in a Cover Letter
To Whom It May Concern is a general way to address correspondence to a recipient whose name is unknown. It's a formal choice of words that hasn't dated well and comes off as impersonal, tired, and potentially irate or desperate.
To Whom It May Concern has been around so long that is has almost become a type of cover letter format. It’s not. It’s merely a phrase used in place of simply not knowing who you’re sending your cover letter to. Now it’s considered overused and archaic and makes you just look like you’re too lazy to find a simple name.
That’s where it gets tricky. What if you’ve searched and still have no idea what the hiring manager’s name is? Or they have a gender neutral name? What then? What cover letter salutation do you use?
Let’s go through each situation you might encounter when sending out your cover letter.
Why You Should Avoid Using “To Whom It May Concern”
Here’s the thing—recruiters don’t sit down to have a relaxed, pleasant read of your cover letter. They scan.
There’s a good chance that if a hiring manager sees “To Whom It May Concern” at the top of their cover letter, they’ll automatically toss it, thinking that you’ve sent them some generic “pls hire me” note.
To avoid that, try these tips to find a name to add to your cover letter salutation:
- Scan the job ad if there isn’t a name or title listed. Check the email you need to send your application to, sometimes there’s a name there.
- Read through the company’s “about us” or “our team” pages to see if there’s someone there who already works in or leads the department you want to get into.
- Check LinkedIn to see if you can find some relevant employees of the company you’re applying to.
- Ask a friend or colleague in the company if they can supply you with a name.
- Call the company and simply ask for the name of a person tied to the job opening.
All these strategies can not only end up giving you a name, but also demonstrate that you put in some effort to make your cover letter the best it can be and quality is what hiring managers are looking for.
Read more: How to Write an Effective Cover Letter
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“To Whom It May Concern” Alternatives
In all honesty, even though you can use “To Whom It May Concern” when you’re addressing your cover letter to unknown recruiters, there are better options out there. And no, I’m not talking about “Dear Sir or Madam” since that’s considered just as old fashioned. It’s always better to be more specific .
Here are some better options for addressing a cover letter with no name:
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Recruiter
- Dear [Department] Manager
- Dear Recruiting Manager
- Dear Hiring Team
- Dear HR Manager
- Dear [title of the person you would be reporting to]
The last tip is especially useful given that many job ads will mention who you would be reporting to if you’re hired. Use that to target your salutation even if there are small chances that your future boss will actually be the one reading it. It shows that you at least made the effort.
Remember, make sure to get your whole cover letter heading format right—your salutation shouldn’t be the first thing on your cover letter.
Read more: How to Address a Cover Letter
When Can You Use “To Whom It May Concern” in a Cover Letter
First, let's play devil's advocate. Arguably, you can use “To Whom It May Concern” in your cover letter only in the following situations:
1. The name of the hiring manager is nowhere to be found
That can be relatively common when applying through recruitment or headhunting agencies or some companies that have specific concerns with sharing employee information. This can also pop up if you’re making an inquiry when no open position has been listed.
If you’ve done what you could and still come up nameless, a generic greeting is better than nothing at all (especially “Hello!”). That’s when you can start your cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern”.
2. The name of the hiring manager is gender neutral
Let’s say the recruiter’s name is Casey Waters. Great! You send out your cover letter that starts “Dear Mr. Waters.” And Casey is actually a woman.
What happens next will depend on the sensitivity of the hiring manager, but why even put yourself in that position in the first place? Using “To Whom It May Concern” takes away the chance of unintentionally offending your potential employer.
3. The hiring manager is actually a group of people
There are times that the company is so large or the number of open positions so numerous that there will be a team of people dealing with recruiting. Obviously, it’s next to impossible to get a name then and even if you do find one, you can’t be sure that’s the one who will read your cover letter.
But, like it or not, even in situations above the use of the phrase in question is discouraged.
How to Write "To Whom It May Concern"
If you’re in a situation where you need to use “To Whom It May Concern” in your cover letter, you need to know how to add it to your covering letter format properly.
1. Capitalize the first letter of each word.
Mind you, even the minor words are capitalized.
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:
Spelling and Punctuation For “To Whom It May Concern”—Sample
To Whom It May Concern:
First paragraph of cover letter
Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter
Even though there are situations in which you have to address a cover letter with no name, using “To Whom It May Concern” isn’t necessarily the best option.
When thinking about how to address your cover letter to an unknown recruiter, keep this in mind:
- Using “To Whom It May Concern” is only acceptable in a few circumstances.
- Always put in your best effort to find the hiring manager’s name or title.
- When using “To Whom It May Concern”, remember to use proper capitalization and punctuation.
That’s it! Not too hard, was it?
Have any questions about how to write a “To Whom It May Concern” cover letter? Drop a comment down below!
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To Whom It May Concern: Alternatives for Your Cover Letter
“To Whom It May Concern” is not the best way to open a cover letter. We’ve compiled a list of five better alternatives , so you can start your cover letter off strong and land more interviews.
Should I use “To Whom It May Concern”?
You shouldn’t use “To Whom It May Concern” on a cover letter unless you have no other choice. But if you must, make sure you know how to do it properly and look at a cover letter sample first before drafting your own.
When you apply for a job, your goal is to impress the hiring manager and get called in for an interview. Using “To Whom It May Concern” in your cover letter won’t help you achieve this goal.
Addressing your cover letter in such a vague, impersonal way shows you didn’t spend any time researching the position, and isn’t a good look for someone truly interested in a job.
What about “Dear Sir or Madam”?
Similar to writing “To Whom It May Concern”, avoid “ Dear Sir or Madam “.
When’s the last time you’ve heard the word “madam” spoken in public? It’s simply outdated language.
If you take some time and look into the job opening, you can find a better way to address the person receiving your cover letter.
5 alternatives to “To Whom It May Concern”
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.
So if you find out that the hiring manager’s name is “Jake Lopez,” you can write “Dear Mr. Lopez,” at the top of your letter.
Mrs., Miss, or Ms.?
If the hiring manager is a woman, use “Ms.”. Or you can use “Mrs.” or “Miss” if you know she prefers these titles. For example, if the job posting states “Please address all job applications to Miss Courtney Rodham”, address your cover letter like this:
Dear Miss Rodham,
How to Handle Ambiguous Names
The gender-neutral title “Mx.” is also becoming more popular for addressing non-binary individuals and people with unisex names, like “Jay Winter.”
Dear Mx. Winter,
However, it’s still rare, so only use it if you know the recipient prefers it. Otherwise they might think it’s a typo.
2. Dear [Full Name],
Another option for dealing with unisex names like “Jay Winter” is just to use “Dear” and their full name.
Dear Jay Winter,
This is the best option if you’re writing to someone who identifies as a third gender or non-binary.
In some countries, including Japan, Taiwan, and Hungary, the last name comes first . If you’re unsure which name is someone’s last name, it’s best to use their full name in the greeting.
Dear Liao Shou-zheng,
3. Dear [Job Title],
If you can’t locate the right name, you can also get away with using just their job title:
Dear Office Manager,
Look for the hiring manager’s specific job title on the listing, under the “Reports to” heading:
While it’s not as personal as using an actual name, addressing the reader by their title shows you’re aware of who you’d be reporting to, and that you’ve at least looked into the role a bit.
4. Dear [Department] Head,
Still no luck finding a real name? Address your cover letter to the department head:
Dear Accounting Department Head,
If you can’t find the name of the department, make an educated guess . For example, an accountant applicant would address their cover letter to the “Accounting Department Head” or “Head of Accounting.”
5. Dear Hiring Manager,
Sometimes you won’t be able to find any details about anything related to the job listing online.
For example, if you’re applying to a large Fortune 500 company, it might be unclear which department you have to apply to, so you’ll need to address your cover letter to the hiring manager like this:
Dear Hiring Manager,
When to Use “To Whom It May Concern”
“To Whom It May Concern” is OK when you’re not trying to impress the reader of the letter or email.
For example, you’re sending out a letter of complaint because you’re unhappy about the service you’ve received, or one of your colleagues has asked you to provide a letter of recommendation for them.
How to write “To Whom It May Concern”
When writing “To Whom It May Concern”, capitalization is key. All five words are typically capitalized.
When starting a cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern,” the format is up to you. You can either use a colon, which is the traditional format:
To Whom It May Concern:
Or you can use a comma:
To Whom It May Concern,
Either way, remember that “To Whom It May Concern” is a traditional, formal opening, so don’t get creative and use a reworked version like “To Whomever This May Concern,” or “To Whom This May Concern.” These variations will make you look like you don’t understand how to write a cover letter properly.
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Written by Samuel Johns, CPRW
Samuel Johns is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and career counselor on the RG team. He has helped countless job seekers craft high-quality resumes and cover... more
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7 Ways to Address Your Cover Letter That Aren't "To Whom It May Concern"
Hot jobs on the muse.
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.)
SEARCH OPEN JOBS ON THE MUSE! See who’s hiring here , and you can even filter your search by benefits, company size, remote opportunities, and more. Then, sign up for our newsletter and we’ll deliver advice on landing the job right to you.
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.
15 “To Whom It May Concern” Letters With Examples
Years back, “To Whom It May Concern” was the traditional opening greeting in professional letters and other forms of business communication. Nowadays, you rarely see any begin with it.
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The methods of communication we use today are more pointed than ever and relatively less formal. Modern communications are more conversational.
For example, if you want to send someone an email , you get their specific email address, and no one else will receive it apart from them.
With the internet, it’ll take little effort to find the recipient’s name so you can address them appropriately. “Dear John,” or “Dear Mary,” for instance.
Coming back to “To Whom It May Concern” letters, let me share some of the best examples of how to use them correctly. I will also discuss situations when to use them and when not to.
Also Read : Best Recommendation Letter Examples For Students
“To Whom It May Concern” Letter Examples
This letter example accurately portrays the use of the “To Whom It May Concern” salutation.
It’s a formal letter of recommendation and highlights the subject in bold capital letters. Meanwhile, the salutation comes after in sentence case and a regular typeface.
From the first sentence, the letter introduces the person it’s recommending in bold letters.
The use of bold letters aims to capture the recipient’s attention. They could easily skip the opening “To Whom It May Concern” and start reading the body from the onset.
Most importantly, the letter maintains formality and only talks about the person it’s recommending.
Also Read : Polite Follow-up Email Examples
If, as a company or individual, you want to express support for some other company or individual, it wouldn’t be wrong to use a “To Whom It May Concern” letter.
As this example indicates, it’s most suitable when writing on behalf of a company or group.
First, it shows anonymity without portraying any individual as the sender.
Secondly, it shows that the support offer is the responsibility of every group member, with pronouns like “We” and “Our.”
Finally, the formatting is remarkable: it first introduces the intention and unambiguously outlines the support terms.
Check Out : Best Business Introduction Email Examples & Tips
A letter of confirmation is not very different from a letter of recommendation, which makes a “To Whom It May Concern” letter suitable.
This sample is a letter confirming that a student was a member of a particular program for a specific duration.
The “To Whom It May Concern” salutation is appropriate because anyone can receive the letter.
The student who the letter is recommending may not need the letter immediately but subsequently. It’s a type of certificate that they can keep forever and present on demand.
This investigation letter follows a formal complaint and broadcast letter style. It’s not an employee making a complaint but a superior – a Captain in the Sheriff’s Department – requesting a company department to complete forms for a fraud check.
Such a delicate situation requires 100% formality, and it doesn’t get more formal than a “To Whom It May Concern” letter.
It expresses a lack of bias. Hence, no recipient will feel like they are a principal suspect in the fraud accusation. However, typical of broadcast letters, what’s most important is the content of the letter and not the salutation.
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Just like making a formal complaint, you can also make a statement, confirming or taking responsibility for something.
This sample letter of invitation is a model example. It’s a “To Whom It May Concern” letter addressed to an embassy, confirming the responsibility of a family member who intends to visit.
When writing such a letter of invitation to an embassy, it’s not entirely wrong to open with “To Whom It May Concern” since you don’t know the recipient.
If you do, it’s still not wrong because even if the embassy approves or rejects your invitation, the letter will remain in the records.
Here’s another “To Whom It May Concern” letter sample addressed to a government agency.
The letter authorizes an agent to undertake business matters with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
It opens with the letter title before the salutation. However, the subject draws the most attention.
The letter is brief, and, most importantly, it highlights the name and position of the person authorizing the agent.
Such a letter is valid for more than two years, which means the agent can use it multiple times. As a result, it’s suitable to not address the letter to a single person or office in particular.
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This letter of notice serves as a recommendation letter and formal complaint.
It doesn’t recommend a person or group but recommends actions employers can take to foster relationships with their employees.
It can also work as a broadcast “To Whom It May Concern” letter. You can use this sample if you’re writing a notice letter to a company where you’re not an employee.
Since you don’t work for the company, the recipient won’t expect you to address them directly. Hence, it’s safe to open with “To Whom It May Concern.”
This letter of complaint is from a customer to a company they patronize. However, it can also work if you’re an employee wanting to make an internal complaint.
Notably, it’s a pointed letter. Although there’s no bolded or capitalized subject, the first paragraph clearly states who the complainer is and the complaint.
The subsequent paragraphs explain the background behind the complaint.
No matter the complaint, it’s ideal not to sound overly dismissive. Hence, the closing paragraph expresses a sense of understanding and hope that the superior will handle the matter accordingly.
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You can use this sample when informing a group rather than an individual. The letter addresses an association of teachers to notify them of a large donation to support a joint project.
Although the name and contact details of the association are available, the “To Whom It May Concern” salutation is still appropriate, as anyone can read it.
For instance, the association may send copies of the letter to its different members. Alternatively, one member can read it to the hearing of everyone in a meeting.
Whichever method, the letter doesn’t address anyone in particular but the group as a whole.
A guardianship letter recommends prospective guardians who will look over a child or ward should anything happen to their current guardians.
As a result, the recommended guardian won’t use the letter immediately but sometime in the future.
Such a letter is also usually sent to a courthouse or a different legal body that handles guardian-related matters. With all of these, you can open with “To Whom It May Concern,” just like in this sample.
When it’s time to effect the letter, anybody in the office could read it. Hence, you don’t need a direct salutation.
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As mentioned earlier, writing prospect letters is one of the few instances when you can use the “To Whom It May Concern” format.
In this sample, a company is reaching out to other companies and requesting their support in a project.
The project details are of uttermost importance, and the sample letter explains every detail extensively.
From the onset, the aim of the letter is apparent. In addition, it doesn’t fail to state how the companies that decide to support will benefit.
Furthermore, the letter outlines specifically ideal amounts that the companies can donate. It has all the features of a converting “To Whom It May Concern” prospect letter.
When sending out expectation letters to multiple participants, you can use a “To Whom It May Concern” letter. It’s a form of broadcasting.
The sample letter outlines the expectations of employers, students, and schools who elect to be part of a training program.
The letter opens with a “To Whom It May Concern” salutation and immediately thanks and congratulates the participants. As a result, recipients can still feel special as it shows the sender values them.
The first paragraph further explains the purpose and overall goal of the project for each participant.
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Here’s a sample to use if you’re writing a self-recommendation letter.
The letter is short and brief, featuring only three main paragraphs after the “To Whom It May Concern” salutation.
The “To Whom It May Concern” salutation shows that the sender didn’t have any particular company in mind.
Instead, they can submit copies of the letter to different companies. The takeaway from this sample letter is the details.
It highlights the primary strengths of the person it’s recommending. It also highlights what they can contribute should the company hire them.
If you’re an employer and your employee requests a job verification letter, you can issue a “To Whom It May Concern” letter. It could be inconvenient to ask them who the letter is for or why they need it.
Employees usually request job verification letters when they want to leave a company. However, they may not want to tell you who their new employer is.
With a “To Whom It May Concern” letter, it doesn’t matter who the letter is for or why they need it; they could submit it to anyone.
This sample is ideal for such job verification letters. It’s perfect if the employee holds multiple positions in the company.
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A “To Whom It May Concern” letter will work for a confirmation letter. Such letters aim to verify the authenticity of a person, product, service, or other. It’s similar to the previous job verification letter.
This sample is a shipment confirmation letter confirming the contents of a particular shipment.
The letter could work as an official document since it’s in the form of an invoice. As a result, it’ll be wrong to address it to a particular person, using “Dear Sir/Madam” or similar.
When To Use A “To Whom It May Concern” Letter
Now that we have seen some great examples of “To Whom It May Concern” letters, we’ll be itching to use them. However, in the first place, it’s important to know when to use “To Whom It May Concern” letters and when not.
Here are a few instances when using “To Whom It May Concern” may be appropriate:
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If your friend, colleague, or other acquaintance is applying for a new job or trying to get into college, they may ask you to write a recommendation on their behalf.
You don’t know who will receive and read the letter. It could be the HR manager, the deputy, a CEO, or other department superiors if it’s a job.
For college, it could be the department chair, a head professor, or any member of the graduate admissions committee.
Likewise, whoever reads the letter will be less concerned about how you open or your salutation. The recipient isn’t interested in you but the person you’re recommending.
As a result, it won’t be unfitting to begin your letter with “To Whom It May Concern.”
In business, you get to introduce yourself often. Most times, it’s to people you’ve never met.
For example, an anonymous individual or company may contact you for a quote or any other profitable business prospect.
If you’re an interest-driven marketer or company, you wouldn’t want to overlook any opportunity to increase your clientele.
Hence, when you receive such anonymous prospects, you should reply, even if you don’t know much about who’s contacting you.
In such a situation, it’s safe to take a general approach like opening your letter with “To Whom It May Concern.”
In your letter, you can request to know more about the individual or company so you can address them appropriately next time.
Previously, you received an introductory letter from an anonymous individual or company. The situation is not very different if you were the one sending out prospects.
However, opening with “To Whom It May Concern” in prospect letters is only ideal when you don’t have specific recipients in mind.
Often, with automated marketing campaigns, you may send out prospect letters to many random prospective clients.
Most recipients won’t mind that you open your letter with “To Whom It May Concern” because you’re also anonymous to them.
If the content of your letter is encouraging, they’ll most likely respond.
However, if you can find out more about your prospective clients, it’s better to address them appropriately when sending prospects.
As an employee, you can come across different situations in your workplace that you find inconvenient.
The best thing to do is to make a formal complaint. Any superior in your company can read your complaint letter.
It could be the head of your department, customer service, some administrator, or even the CEO. It depends on the issues you’re addressing in your letter.
The most important thing for anyone that reads your letter is your complaints. Some readers may skip the opening entirely and go straight to the body of the letter.
Perhaps you’re the head of a department, and you want to make a complaint to your subordinates about something you don’t like. You can issue a general complaint letter and open it with “To Whom It May Concern.”
A broadcast letter is always the go-to when contacting a large and complex audience.
Usually, these letters aim to inform the audience of something they may or may not find interesting. In other words, your recipient may take action or not.
As a result, broadcast letters typically contain in-depth information.
For example, you may be informing companies that you are open for employment or your clients that a product is no longer available.
Like the other instances previously mentioned, the details matter the most in your broadcast letter. How you open would be less notable.
When Not To Use A “To Whom It May Concern” Letter
There are instances when you should never use a “To Whom It May Concern” letter. These include:
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When applying for a job, your cover letter could decide your chances. You don’t want to open your cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern.”
Using such a salutation could suggest that you’re nonchalant. Showing interest in the company is necessary when seeking a job.
Hence, you should endeavor to find out who receives your cover letter and address it correctly.
If you’re sending in your cover letter via email – which is most likely – you can get a hint of who reads the letter from the email address.
Generally, opening with “Dear” is the industry standard. “Dear Sir/Madam,” is ok.
However, if you know who receives and reads your letter, you can open with greetings like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruiting Manager.”
You write an inquiry letter to learn or get information about something.
For example, you may write to a company to inquire how much a service costs or to a customer to collect their delivery details.
In both instances, your opening needs to be specific because you don’t want the recipient to ignore your letter.
The recipients need to know that they alone can provide the answers to your inquiry. Opening with “To Whom It May Concern” shows that the letter could be for anyone and not them in particular.
Usually, people send inquiry letters to recipients they’re not acquainted with or are contacting for the first time.
Nevertheless, if you want a response, you should open with something better like a simple “Sir/Madam.”
It’s ok to send your recommendation letter, introductory letter, prospect letter, or formal complaint with “To Whom It May Concern.”
However, if you get a reply and you’re to send a follow-up letter, you should drop the “To Whom It May Concern.”
You most likely included your name and contact details in your first letter. With this information, your recipient should address you adequately in their reply letter.
You can then use the information in their reply letter and address them accordingly in return in your follow-up letter.
Even if they do not, sending a follow-up with a “To Whom It May Concern” greeting is unwelcoming. It could suggest to the recipient that you don’t want to communicate.
As an employee, you may need to send reports to your superiors from time to time.
It’s not only unprofessional to address your superiors using “To Whom It May Concern,” but it’s also disrespectful.
Reports in letter form are usually requested. Therefore, it shouldn’t take much effort to find out who receives the letter and address them accordingly.
When you address the recipient correctly, it indicates to them that you carefully prepared your report. It’ll be easier for them to trust what you’re reporting.
You could be sending out report letters to multiple recipients. You can use a general “Dear Sir/Madam” salutation in such a situation.
Also, you can be creative. For example, if your recipients are the board of directors, you can open with a greeting like “Dear Members Of The Board.”
Usually, someone writes a recommendation letter on behalf of another person. However, there are instances when you could write a self-recommendation letter.
If you’re in school, you could write a self-recommendation letter recommending yourself for a scholarship.
In a business setting, you could self-recommend yourself for a new position in your current company. Another typical instance is recommending yourself for transfer to a new branch.
The recipient of the letter could forgive someone writing on your behalf if they open with “To Whom It May Concern.” However, for a self-recommendation letter, it’s unsuitable.
Opening with “To Whom It May Concern,” when self-recommending for a new job position could appear like a demand.
You should address the recipient or group of recipients by their title and name, respectively. If you’re writing a general recommendation, it’s better to leave out the salutation than use “To Whom It May Concern.”
If you must open a letter with “To Whom It May Concern,” make sure it’s in the right setting and that the letter is well written.
You can follow the tips in this post to ensure you’re doing it right. Ultimately, you can model the outlined letter examples.
Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.
The correct way to write To Whom It May Concern is to capitalize the first letter of each word. Be sure to always use 'whom' instead of 'who' or
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How do you write “to whom it may concern” example? · “To Whom This May Concern” If you notice in this salutation, we are using “this” in place of “it. · “To
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1. Capitalize the first letter of each word. · 2. Use a colon after "To Whom It May Concern". · 3. Add a space or double space before the beginning of the letter.
You shouldn't use “To Whom It May Concern” on a cover letter unless you have no other choice. But if you must, make sure you know how to do it
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
If you're an employer and your employee requests a job verification letter, you can issue a “To Whom It May Concern” letter. It could be