Can I Use To Whom It May Concern In A Cover Letter? (Career Advice)

If you’re sending a letter to someone whose name you don’t know, you may be tempted to use the phrase “To whom it may concern.” But is this phrase still relevant? Should we use it at all? Is “To whom it may concern” ever appropriate? 

And if not, what’s the correct salutation for a business letter? In this article, we’ll discuss how to write letters addressed to unknown recipients and provide tips on how to address an email when you don’t know who will be reading it among other things!

How to Write a Cover Letter That Sounds Like YOU
“To Whom It May Concern” is a common phrase used to address a cover letter when the name of the hiring manager is unknown.
Using “To Whom It May Concern” in a cover letter can be impersonal and may not demonstrate sufficient effort.
Alternative salutations for a cover letter include “Dear Hiring Manager” or addressing the letter to a specific department or team.
Researching the company’s website or LinkedIn page can help you find the name of the appropriate person to address in a cover letter.
It’s always better to err on the side of formality when addressing a cover letter, and proofreading is essential to ensure a professional appearance.

What Is To Whom It May Concern?

To Whom It May Concern is the correct salutation for a business letter when you don’t know the recipient’s name. It’s also the appropriate salutation for a business email when you don’t know the recipient, their gender, or their title.

A well-written cover letter can be the difference between landing an interview and getting passed over. Our career advice article on the importance of cover letters can help you understand why a cover letter is a critical component of your job application.

For Example: To Whom It May Concern

It’s important to remember that this phrase is not an introduction; it should not be followed by a colon or semi-colon (or both). This punctuation would imply that you are speaking directly to your reader instead of introducing yourself and explaining why you’re writing. 

If you’re unsure whether or not your reader will understand what this phrase means, try rephrasing it as “I’m writing to introduce me” or “My name is [your name], and I’m writing because…”

Is To Whom It May Concern Still Relevant?

To Whom It May Concern is used when you are uncertain of the recipient’s name. In some cases, it can be acceptable to use a professional title (e.g., Dr.) or position (e.g., Acting Director) in place of a name. However, if you know the person’s name and have access to their contact information, we recommend using that instead.

In many cases where To Whom It May Concern is commonly used such as cover letters or resumes, you might not have any contact information at all! If this is true for your situation, use To Whom It May Concern rather than risk sending out an email that doesn’t go anywhere or isn’t read by anyone important on your list of contacts.”

Is “To Whom It May Concern” Ever Appropriate?

The phrase “To whom it may concern” is not a good choice for a cover letter. It’s impersonal and vague, and it doesn’t single out any person or organization that you might be applying to. 

If you don’t know who will be reading your application materials, then you have to assume that the reader could be anyone the CEO of the company, an HR department representative, or even an intern who found your resume in a pile of other resumes while looking for something else. 

If this is all possible, then how can you possibly tailor your cover letter to each individual? You can’t! The only thing worse than using “To whom it may concern” as a salutation in your cover letter would be if there were no names at all on the envelope/email heading where you sent off your job application materials (this happens more often than you think). 

It’s better to use some variation of “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear HR Department,” which at least specifies an entity rather than leaving everything completely ambiguous.

How Do I Write A Letter To Someone I Don’t Know?

If you have no idea what the person’s job title is, then you can use Dear Sir or Madam. You can also write a letter to someone with whom you don’t know the gender. This way, you would use Dear Sir or Madam because it’s respectful to both genders.

If you’re not sure whether your recipient is male or female, it’s acceptable in most cases to address them as “Mr/Ms (name)” in your cover letter. 

However, if there are a lot of people with similar names working at the same company and sending out cover letters addressed only “To Whom It May Concern,” this could lead some companies to assume that everyone who applies has sent their information blindly without even bothering to look up who works there! 

So if possible try asking their name directly from an HR representative at their workplace or simply Google about them beforehand before sending any applications out 🙂

While some job postings may not explicitly require a cover letter, submitting one can demonstrate your interest in the position and set you apart from other applicants. Our career advice article on whether cover letters are required can help you determine whether you should include one with your job application.

What Is The Correct Salutation For A Business Letter?

As you may have guessed, the most formal salutation is Dear Sir/Madam/Ms./Mr./Ms. (Name).

The next option is to use the same salutation as above but add your name: Dear Mr./Ms. (Last Name).

You could also use “To Whom It May Concern” at the beginning of your cover letter and then write in more detail about why you’re sending it to this particular job ad using a personal letter format, such as on lined paper or in Word Document format.

Should You Use Dear Sirs Or Dear Sirs And Madams In A Business Letter?

When you’re trying to decide whether or not to use Dear Sirs or Dear Sirs and Madams in a business letter, think about the purpose of your correspondence. For example, if it’s an inquiry about hiring someone as an employee or subcontractor, it’s probably best to address them as “Dear Sirs” since women were rarely hired for these positions back then. 

If you’re writing a cover letter for an internship program at a software development company in Silicon Valley (where even interns are expected to be highly skilled), go ahead and address the group as “Dear Sirs.”

How Do You Write A Professional Email If You Don’t Know The Recipient?

If you’re writing an email to a person or an organization that you don’t know, use the recipient’s name in the greeting. Some other tips for a professional email are:

Greeting: Use the recipient’s name and add a punctuation mark (for example, “Dear James Smith”).

Closing: Add your signature at the end of your email with another punctuation mark (for example, “Sincerely yours, Jane Doe”).

Subject line: Write in capital letters what issue is discussed in your message and add some keywords that describe it (for example “Cover Letter”).

How Do You Address An Unknown Person In An Email?

You can use the following to address an unknown person:

Their name, if you know it.

Their title. For example, “Dear Mr./Ms. Smith.”

The company they work for and their job title. For example, “Dear XYZ Corporation Human Resources Manager.”

The company they work for and their job function/position summary (if applicable), such as “Dear Sales Department Staff Member,” or “Dear Accountant.”

The department that the person works in at their company (if applicable), such as “Dear Marketing Department Staff Member,” or “Hello! I’m contacting you from the Accounts Receivable department!”

Of course, some of these options may not be available depending on what information you have about the recipient of your email message but it’s always worth using their name or title first before moving on to less personal forms of addressing them!

Knowing when to write a formal letter can be challenging, but it’s an important skill for both personal and professional communication. Check out our guide on what is a formal letter to learn more about when you should use this type of communication.

What Is The Best Way To Address A Letter When You Don’t Know The Gender Of The Recipient?

If you don’t know the gender of the person to whom you are writing, use the salutation, Dear Sir or Madam. This is a very traditional option and one that will not offend anyone.

If you do know the gender of your recipient, it is usually better to address them as such when sending a letter. For example: “Dear John Smith” or “Hi [name]!”

What Should I Put On My Resume If I Have No Work Experience?

If you’re a beginner, it can be pretty tough to figure out what to include on your resume. If you have no work experience and your only extracurriculars are quizzing teams and Model UN, where do you start?

In the end, your resume is a place to highlight all of the hard work and skills that have prepared you for this moment. Use whatever information you have! You might be surprised at how many things in life can be relevant in a job interview.

If you’ve done some volunteering or worked at an organization related to the field in which you’re applying for jobs, definitely include that information. 

If not, consider listing anything else about yourself that makes sense: coursework from school; skills like coding or HTML proficiency; hobbies like gardening or working on cars; life experiences like having traveled abroad; awards or achievements in sports or other activities; publications (if they’re published online); presentations the possibilities are endless!

What Are Some Examples Of Professional Greetings?

In the business world, people tend to use more formal language than they would in a personal letter. When writing a cover letter for a job, you should use the person’s last name and title if they have one. For example:

Mr./Dr./Prof. Jones

Ms. Smith

Mrs. Smith

Mr./Mrs. John Smith

If you’re not sure whether or not your contact has a title, it’s better to err on the side of formality and say “Mr.” or “Ms.” rather than risk making them feel uncomfortable by calling them by their first names before they’ve permitted you to do so (or worse yet, after). 

If there are multiple people involved with the company that have titles like this, it’s helpful to include their last names as well so that each person is addressed individually rather than lumped together as “Dear Sirs” or some other generic salutation that doesn’t show much thoughtfulness toward your audience 

At least doesn’t show much respect for all those hard-working professionals out there who deserve more consideration than being grouped like cattle!

What Do You Say When Introducing Yourself In An Interview?

When you meet someone for the first time, it’s important to introduce yourself. When you’re meeting with an employer, this is even more so. Your ability to make a good first impression can make or break whether or not you get hired. Here are some tips on how to introduce yourself:

Use your name when introducing yourself; don’t forget to smile!

Introduce yourself and shake hands with the interviewer.

Be enthusiastic and energetic during the introduction; remember that they want someone who will be able to work hard at their job!

If you have brought a copy of your resume along with other supporting documents (like references), don’t forget about them as well you’ll want these in case they ask about them later on in the interview process!

The phrase ‘To Whom It May Concern’ has long been a standard greeting in cover letters, but is it still appropriate? Our career advice article on using ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in a cover letter explores the pros and cons of this greeting and offers tips on how to address a cover letter effectively.

What Is An Example Of An Effective Cover Letter Introduction?

Your cover letter introduction should be short and to the point. Beginning with “To whom it may concern” works well for this purpose because it implies that you are not sure who will be reading your letter. If, however, you know that the person reading your letter is a specific individual (such as a recruiter), then use their name instead. 

The first paragraph should introduce yourself and highlight some of your skills and qualifications that make you a good candidate for the job. If possible, begin by describing an accomplishment that demonstrates why they should hire you above other applicants. 

Writing in the first person makes it easier for them to relate to you as someone who could fit into their company culture; if possible, use quotes from other people who have worked with or interviewed with them before (e.g., “I was told by my previous employer that I am very good at…”). 

Your tone should be professional yet friendly; try not to sound stuffy or pretentious when you write your cover letter!

How Do You Start An Essay About Yourself?

To begin, introduce yourself and the topic of your essay. As a rule of thumb, you should directly address who will be reading your essay. This can be accomplished by using “to whom it may concern” or something similar in the beginning paragraphs. 

It is also important to include some background information on yourself, such as where you are from, what research experience/education you have in this field (if any), etc., so that it becomes clear that you are qualified to write this essay.

Finally, include background information about any previous research done in the area of interest and how your findings differ from those previous results. This shows that you have done some independent thinking about this subject matter and aren’t just parroting what others have said before; it also shows how much work has gone into researching this subject matter!

How Do You Write A Thesis Statement For A Critical Analysis Essay?

To begin, you should write a thesis statement. This can be a short sentence that sums up the purpose of your essay. It should be clear and specific so that readers know where you stand on the issue you’re discussing. To do this, ask yourself: What is my position? And then follow these steps:

Start with an introductory paragraph (introduction) stating what you want to prove in your essay. You may also want to use evidence from outside sources to support this claim to strengthen it and make it more convincing for readers who may not agree with you yet or have time for new information before making up their minds about this topic. 

You might also want some background information about why this topic is important or relevant today, which could include its historical context if applicable; however, don’t get too far off track by starting with too many details here the reader will likely get bored quickly if they aren’t interested yet either!

Next comes supporting paragraphs that explain why other people agree/disagree with what we’ve just said (i.e., our opinion). For example: “Some people might say…” followed by an explanation from another source such as another person’s perspective on how they feel about something similar but different from ours.’

How Do I Properly Address Someone Without Using Their Name In Business Correspondence (E.G. Emails)?

When it comes to addressing someone in a business context, there’s no single right answer. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best way:

Use the person’s title and last name (e.g., “Dear Mr. Smith”). This is a good choice if you don’t know their first names or if you’re unsure whether they prefer being called by their first or last names.

Use the person’s first name and last name (e.g., “Dear Tom Smith”). This option feels more personal than just using his title, but isn’t too informal for professional correspondence unless he has a very formal job title that would be inappropriate for an email anyway (e.g., CEO). 

It also leaves room for something like “Best” at the end of your salutation instead of “Sincerely,” which may sound too stiff depending on what tone you’re aiming for in your cover letter! 

Some people get offended when they hear “sincerely” because they think it sounds like something their mother would say to them over dinner one night but don’t worry about offending anyone here! We’re not talking about anything serious yet just getting acquainted with each other 🙂

Transitioning to a new career field can be daunting, but a well-crafted cover letter can help you make a compelling case for your skills and experience. Our guide on writing a cover letter when changing fields provides tips and strategies for making a successful career change.


I hope that this article has helped you to understand the importance of proper salutations and greeting when writing business correspondence. 

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about being polite; those who take the time to address people by their names are seen as more professional and respectful than those who don’t. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go out of your way to do so! 

The next time someone sends an email or letter with a generic greeting like “Dear Sir/Madame ” or “Dear Sirs,” be sure to point out how much better it would read if they used your name instead.

Further Reading

To Whom It May Concern: How to Address a Cover Letter – This article provides tips and advice on how to effectively address a cover letter using the phrase “To Whom It May Concern.”

To Whom It May Concern on a Cover Letter? – This article explores the use of “To Whom It May Concern” in cover letters and provides alternative greeting options.

To Whom It May Concern Cover Letter Guide – This comprehensive guide offers advice on how to address a cover letter when the hiring manager’s name is unknown.


What does “To Whom It May Concern” mean in a cover letter?

“To Whom It May Concern” is a phrase commonly used to address a cover letter when the name of the hiring manager is unknown or when the letter is intended for a broad audience.

Is it appropriate to use “To Whom It May Concern” in a cover letter?

While “To Whom It May Concern” is a commonly used phrase in cover letters, it may not always be the best choice. It can be impersonal and may not demonstrate sufficient effort on the part of the applicant.

What are some alternatives to using “To Whom It May Concern” in a cover letter?

Alternative salutations for a cover letter include “Dear Hiring Manager,” “Dear Recruiting Team,” or addressing the letter to a specific department or team within the company.

How can I find out the name of the hiring manager for a cover letter?

Research the company’s website or LinkedIn page to see if the hiring manager’s name is listed. You can also try calling the company’s HR department or using a professional networking site like LinkedIn to find the name of the appropriate person.

Are there any other tips for addressing a cover letter?

When in doubt, it’s always better to be too formal than too casual. Avoid using informal greetings like “Hey” or “Hi” and make sure to proofread the letter for any errors or typos.