‘To Whom It May Concern‘ is a formal salutation that is usually used to head correspondence when you do not know the identity of your recipient.
Whether you are writing an email or preparing a physical letter, it is important to begin any business correspondence with an appropriate greeting. One of the most common professional greetings is, “To Whom It May Be Concern.” But with so many alternatives, it may be difficult to determine when it is appropriate to use this greeting and when to use a recipient’s name, title, or something else.
When to Use “To Whom It May Concern” in Letter & Email?
This can be used at the beginning of a letter, email, or other forms of communication if you are not sure who would read this. It might happen at a variety of points in the job hunt. For example, you might send a cover letter, letter of recommendation, or other job search material to someone whose name you don’t know.
It is also common to use “To Whom It May Concern” when you make a request (also known as a prospecting letter or letter of interest) but do not have contact person details.
Ask yourself, “Who is the intended recipient of this message?” before each piece of correspondence you send. Only if the answer is “anyone,” you should be free to use, “To Whom It May Concern.” If, however, anyone with a particular position or title is your end reader, keep searching to find their name.
‘To Whom It May Concern’ Letter Examples
It can be hard to know when using “To Whom It May Concern” is appropriate, so here are a few scenarios where it’s usually right:
Reaching out to a large company
When you are contacting a large company with a complex organizational structure and are not sure which point of contact is appropriate, you may need to submit a message via a message form on the company’s website or send an email to a general address such as “contactus@ABCcompany.com.” In this situation, “To Whom It May Concern” or “To Whom This May Concern” may be suitable. While following this approach, we suggest that you ask for the correct point of contact for your request in the body of your email or letter. Following is to whom it may concern letter format:
To Whom It May Concern:
I, (sender’s name), am writing this letter, to / for…….. (You have to introduce yourself in the opening paragraph of the email or letter so as to make the reader familiar)
Paragraphs 2, 3: Include the letter’s purpose, your demands or intentions or requests or complaints, or the main subject of the letter. You should make sure that you are precise, clear, and to the point.
Closing Lines: The sender must thank the recipient. The sender can also add his contact number, e-mail ID for further communication.
(Signature and Name)
Is there a formal complaint with a company? It really doesn’t matter if the complaint is received by the administrator, the customer service agent, or the CEO — you just want the complaint to be heard and resolved.
To Whom It May Concern:
I was extremely disappointed with the shirt that I ordered, I have received a red color instead of the black color. So soon as possible, I would like a full refund and the right shirt.
How To Write “To Whom It May Concern” ?
If you’re using a formal salutation like “To Whom It May Concern,” it’s important to format it correctly. Here below how to write “To Whom It May Concern:”
1. Add a double space before beginning the body of your message
To Whom It May Concern
2. Capitalize the first letter of each word;
To Whom It May Concern
3. Follow the phrase with a colon, not a comma.
‘To Whom It May Concern:
“To Whom It May Concern” Alternatives
● ‘Dear [Role]’
The second best option is to try to identify a specific role. For example, if the job listing says, ‘Please send applications to the Recruitment Manager,’ send your letter, ‘Dear Recruitment Manager.’
● ‘Dear [Department]’
For job applications, the safe bet is ‘Dear Human Resources Department’ or ‘Dear Recruitment Team.’
● ‘Good morning/afternoon’
As with ‘Hello,’ “Good morning/afternoon” is only suitable for emails, and is typically not acceptable for business purposes.
● ‘Dear Sir or Madam’
Like ‘To Whom It May Concern,’ ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ is seen as old-fashioned and comes with the same connotations of laziness. In fact, this greeting has more potential to offend, as some people prefer not to be addressed by gendered pronouns. When you are trying to avoid ‘To Whom It May Concern,’ you should also avoid ‘Dear Sir or Madam’
● ‘Dear Customer Service Manager’
Whether you’re sending a message to a business contact or reaching out to customer service on a personal matter, it’s wise to have your best foot on the track. A more formal, polite greeting is definitely to be appreciated.
● ‘Good Day’
Feeling worldwide, huh? “Good Morning” isn’t a popular greeting in the United States, but it could just initiate your next Monday morning email.
The internet eliminates a lot of excuses for using “To Whom It May Be Concern.” Before you reach it in an email, consider the recommendations in this post. And remove a few other old or lazy phrases from your vocabulary, like “Looking forward to hearing from you,” “Best Regards vs. Kind Regards” and “Dear Sir or Madam”
When Not To Use “To Whom It May Concern”
Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern” as much as possible. It’s mostly out of date, stuffy, and lazy. With today’s internet access, it’s relatively easy to find the name and even the email address of the person with whom we want to speak.
As a result, “To Whom It May Concern” can show a lack of effort in correspondence, which does not set a positive tone for the rest of your business relationship.
Here are a few tips for finding almost anyone’s name:
- Ask your HR rep or recruiter – If you’re writing a cover letter or an email to a hiring manager, ask your recruiter or HR representative for the correct name.
- Visit the company’s LinkedIn profile – You’ll notice a hyperlinked prompt at the top of their profile that says, “See all [number of employees] on Linkedin.” To see a list of all employees, click that prompt. You should be able to skim through the list until you find the person, role, or title with whom you want to connect.
- Visit the company’s “About Us” page – Small companies may include a list of all employees and their titles on their “About Us” or “Team” page. At the very least, there will be a general company inbox where you can send a request to learn the name of the person you’re attempting to reach.
- Pick up the phone –Call the company where your prospect works and ask for that person’s name, contact information or advice on how to reach them.