Can You Start A Cover Letter With Dear Sir Or Madam? (Career Advice)

A cover letter is one of the most important parts of your job application. It gives you the chance to introduce yourself, explain why you’re a great fit for the role, and show off your writing skills. So it’s a good idea to make sure that yours stands out from all the others. 

One way to do that is by writing an introduction that gets straight to the point and shows how much time and effort you’ve put into this application process already. But what if your cover letter starts with “Dear Sir/Madam”? Is that appropriate? How can I rewrite my cover letter so it doesn’t offend anyone? You may be surprised at how many people ask these questions!

In a professional tone

Can You Start A Cover Letter With Dear?

You can.

If you are writing to a company, it’s best to use the formal “Dear Sir or Madam” as your opening salutation. 

This is because you don’t know who will be reading your letter and therefore want to keep it general enough so that they can identify with it. It’s also important not to make assumptions about gender – there are plenty of women out there who call their companies “Sir.”

If you’re emailing an individual rather than a company, it’s okay to start with “Dear” followed by their name (e.g., Dear John Smith).

Should You Use Dear In A Cover Letter?

If you’re writing a cover letter, likely, you don’t know the name of the person who will be reading it. If this is the case, it’s best to use dear sir or madam. You can also use dear if you’re unsure about their gender; a good rule of thumb is to assume that your reader is male unless otherwise specified. Here are some examples:

Dear Sir or Madam (if you don’t know either)

Dear Sir/Madam (if known by both)

How Do You Begin A Business Letter?

Whether you’re writing to a vendor or a potential client, you should always include the following elements in your business letter.

The date-The date is the first thing at the top of your letter. It tells your recipient when it was sent and when it should be read by them.

Recipient name-The recipient’s name is written immediately below or just above where you write out their address on the envelope; 

It may be followed by their title or position within the organization if they have one (e.g., “Dear Mr./Ms.,” “Dear Jane Smith, CEO of…). Consider adding a line break before going into this section so that it stands out from other parts of your correspondence and doesn’t get lost in an unbroken block of text

Salutation-Start every business letter with an appropriate salutation that is, how to address another person in formal correspondence and close each one as well (see below).

What Is a Formal Letter Example?

The difference between a formal and business letter is that the former is more formal. These letters include a greeting, body, and closing. Formal letters are often used for business communications, such as during job interviews or to address an issue with your utility company.

When you want to write in a more professional manner than usual but don’t need anything too fancy, then using this format will be perfect for you!

What Can I Say Instead Of Dear In A Letter?

Dear Sir or Madam:

Salutations can make or break a cover letter. If you use the wrong salutation in your letter, it will come across as unprofessional and may even throw off your prospective employer’s perception of you. The good news is that there are lots of options when it comes to addressing someone in a formal setting, so don’t feel limited by what you see on this page!

The general rule is that if you’re addressing an employer whose name isn’t readily available (e.g., “Dear Hiring Manager”), then it’s best to stick with “Dear Sir/Madam.” 

There are exceptions to this rule for certain industries, such as finance and law but most job seekers and entry-level positions, sticking with “Sir/Madam” will be appropriate and professional enough for nearly any job application scenario.

How Do We End A Formal Letter?

End with a thank you. Include this in the closing and signature, as well as anywhere else it might occur in your letter.

Also, end with a signature. This should be typed like the rest of your letter and not handwritten unless you’re using someone’s full name (e.g., Dear Mr. John Smith). The only exception is if the letter is handwritten in that case, use whatever format feels most natural to you!

Finally, mention any attached documents or information relevant to their interests, such as articles about recent developments in physics or news about upcoming events related to their field of expertise.

Do You Need To Put Your Address On Your Cover Letter?

Dear Mr. Smith:

We’re glad you’re interested in working at ABC Company as a developer. We hope you can join our team soon!

Now that we have your attention, let’s talk about the important stuff. First and foremost, do include an address on your cover letter. 

Not only will this allow them to find you easily if they want to reach out with questions or follow up after reading it, but it also shows some extra effort on your part if they look at their computer screen and see that you put in something so simple (like an email address). 

While not necessary for every job application, including a phone number is always a good idea as well since some may prefer to text rather than email for whatever reason (maybe because they don’t know how). 

Make sure all of the information is accurate though no one wants someone looking like an idiot because numbers were transposed or misplaced somewhere along the way!

Should You Sign A Cover Letter?

If you’re applying for a job, always sign your cover letter. You want to make sure the person reading your application knows it’s from you, and that they should take it seriously.

If you’re applying for a scholarship or grant, don’t sign your cover letter. These types of applications require that all of the information be submitted anonymously to be considered fairly by hiring committees (especially if there are multiple applicants).

If you’re applying for a volunteer position through an organization, don’t sign your cover letter. Since these positions aren’t paid, the organization doesn’t require any sort of formal agreement with the applicant so there’s no need to include one at all!

Can I Say Dear All In A Cover Letter?

Dear Sir or Madam is the most formal way to begin a cover letter. It’s also a form of address, and if you’re writing to someone who has a name and title, use that instead of “Sir” or “Madam.” If someone’s name isn’t listed on the company site, don’t worry you can still use their job title as an indication of their gender.

For example:

Dear Program Coordinator Smith:

Is Writing Dear Sirs And Madams Still Acceptable?

Dear Sirs and Madam is still acceptable, but only if you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to. It’s also okay to use when writing to a company that has a formal culture or one where everyone uses “Dear Sirs and Madams.”

If you do know the person’s name, it’s better not to use “dear” at all (because it makes the letter seem impersonal). Instead, go with just their name or maybe something like “to whom it may concern.”

Who Do I Address A Cover Letter To If There Is No Name Listed For The Job Posting?

If you’re applying for a job and there is no name or title listed for the hiring manager, how do you address your cover letter?

Address the cover letter to “Dear Hiring Manager.” This is common practice because it will most likely be seen by someone in Human Resources or another department that may be able to forward your application along eventually. 

If there are multiple managers listed on the job posting, then address each one individually based on their job titles (e.g., “Dear Director of Marketing”).

Remember that this position might not have been posted with its current employer; it could have been posted by an agency that has since placed an applicant in its client’s company. In this case, I would recommend sending an email directly addressing it to them rather than putting yourself at risk of being overlooked if someone else hires first!


If you’re unsure about how to address a cover letter, it might help to think about who will be reading it. If it’s an HR manager, for example, then you should use the formal “dear sir or madam.” 

But if your potential employer is more informal and prefers first names or nicknames, then feel free to include those in your salutation as well! It’s important not only because they respect this person but also because they know them personally in some way (e.g., being friends)