June 16th, 2020 | Updated on June 27th, 2022
Greetings have always been expressed in a very dignified and profound way when communicating with another person, whether it is personal or professional interaction.
A salutation is one of the forms of greetings that are used in a letter or modern form email for professional reasons. But salutations can be used for both formal and informal communication.
If you do not know someone and writing a letter or email for inquiry, then a salutation is best to imply a formal tone. Salutation in the English dictionary is defined as a way of greeting, or courtesy by word.
Salutations are mostly used when you begin a business letter, a legal letter, or any other formal or informal correspondence. Some of the common salutations that people used to include
- Sir or Madam
- To whom it may concern
- Mr. or Mrs.
- Good morning
There are a limited number of formal salutations and a wide number or informal salutations that can be used when interacting with family members, friends, or work colleagues.
You have to know the purpose of communication and then choose your salutation accordingly.
The selection of your salutation will inform the reader of the tone and purpose of the letter or email. One of the most commonly used salutations is ‘To whom it may concern’ which is used in letters for business purposes, this salutation may be used by you when you do not have a particular person to address the letter to.
Many times a job-seeking applicant may address his application with the salutation ‘To whom it may concern’ when he may not know the name of the employer or the hiring manager.
People have many ways to find out about the hiring manager, as it is mostly listed on the job listing or the company website.
You may get apprehensive about when to use the greeting ‘To whom it may concern,’ well it can easily be used at the start of the email or letter or any other form of communication.
You can use the greeting when sending a job application, or when writing a letter of recommendation.
The entire salutation must be in a capitalized form such as ‘To Whom It May Concern,’ and the phrase is followed by a colon. You need to give proper space and then begin a new paragraph.
Some of the letters or correspondence where the greeting ‘To whom it may concern’ work the best include
1. Letters Of Introduction
The greeting is used to imply a professional tone, and when the recipient’s name is not known.
You can use the greeting when addressing a large company and when you do not know the name of the person whom you need to contact.
2. Letter Of Recommendation
There are many instances when you will be asked to provide a reference or recommendation to a colleague or employee.
The greeting is best to use for a recommendation letter as the contact details do not matter; rather, the thoughts on the colleague or candidate matters.
3. Formal Complaints
It happens every time that people get a faulty product or service and want to lodge a complaint with the concerned company.
It does not matter who reads or handles the complaint, but you want your concerns to be addressed.
4. Letters Of Inquiry
There are many online forums where you may feel the need to inquire about something and build your rapport.
In today’s fast-paced world, many people are known to use short-form and different attractive substitutes for old words and phrases.
For many of the millennials, the phrase such as ‘To whom it may concern’ sounds boring and unimpressive, but this phrase remains the most popular choice to begin an email or cover letter.
Some of the rules that must be followed when writing the salutation ‘To whom it may concern’ are
- The first letter of every word must be in the capital, such as ‘To Whom It May Concern.’
- You have to use the word Whom instead of Who or Whomever
- Using a colon after writing the phrase rather than a comma
- You have to give double space and then begin your message
The formatting rules are necessary to follow to portray a professional and formal tone, as, in many business conversations, the little things matter a lot.
If you are not sure about the person whom to address the letter, then there are several ways to find out the information.
We live in a digital age where nearly every company big or small maintains an up to date online presence, whether it is their official website or social media pages.
You can easily look for a contact list on the website or leave a message to know about a person who you have to address the letter.
You can even directly call the company, and a customer representative will first ask you about why you need you to know the name, and after giving a satisfactory answer, you may get the name and use it instead of the salutation ‘To Whom It May Concern.’
There are also many popular alternatives that you can use, such as Dear/Hello, Greetings, Good Morning, or Good Day. People mostly use the phrase ‘Dear’ and then write the name of the designation or department and then start their message.
The word ‘Dear’ implies respect and a formal tone and also accepted as part of business interactions. But you have to specify the role or the department of the recipient if you are not familiar with the name, for example, Dear (Hiring Manager) or Dear (Human Resource)
The word ‘Hello’ can easily be used for casual conversations, and it is not regarded as a formal term that can be used for a business email or correspondence.
You should avoid using Hello when addressing a business or law firm. But whether you use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ or ‘Dear,’ you must ensure that you follow the right formatting rules, and your message is clear and addressed in a professional tone.
Frank Adams is a visual artist in a video animation company, and he also writes for an online technology magazine. He covers different trending topics and informs readers about many interesting facts and knowledge.