‘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” 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.
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)
► Company complaints
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:”
➊ Add a double space before beginning the body of your message
To Whom It May Concern
➋ Capitalize the first letter of each word;
To Whom It May Concern
➌Follow 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”